Checking Personal References
Most employers don't check personal references, even when they ask for them.
There is a common perception that personal references are usually friends of the
applicant, and that they will not convey any negative information, in the event
that it exists, because they are friends.
If you do ask for and check personal references, keep these pointers in mind:
- Consider it a red flag if the applicant has lived in the area for a
considerable period of time but cannot list any local references.
- Like employment
references, personal references are more likely to say things on the
phone than they are to put them in writing. So call rather than write, if
- Have an information release
signed by the applicant and ready in case the reference requests it.
- Ask only job-related questions. Don't ask irrelevant questions that could
be the basis of a discrimination claim, and don't ask questions that could
support an invasion of privacy claim.
The Business Tools area includes a sample letter
that can be used when contacting a personal reference by mail.