HRResources newsletters – November 2012 – November 2013

Are healthcare workers facing extinction? | HR Resources Vol.6 No.23 | November 14, 2013

Halloween at the Office | HR Resources Vol.6 No.22 | October 31, 2013

Unpaid Interns – opportunity or free labour | Vol.6 No.21 | October 17, 2013

The Big Boomer Theory | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.20 | October 3, 2013

The Social Network | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.19 | September 19, 2013

The Millennial Impact | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.18 | September 5, 2013

Robots Took My Job | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.17 | August 22, 2013

Recruiter Tips | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.16 | August 8, 2013

Recruiting Nurses | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.15 | July 25, 2013

Summer Edition | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.14 | July 11. 2013

Rebels without a board | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.13 | June 27, 2013

Bosses, beware of the seven deadly sins | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.12 | June 12, 2013

Work harder or you’ll be let go | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.11 | May 30, 2013

Top dollar for bargain healthcare | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.10 | May 16, 2013

Nurses on the Move | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.9 | May 2, 2013

Rate My Hospital | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.8 | April 18, 2013

The future | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.7 | April 4, 2013

The future of jobs in Canada | HR Resources Newsletter Vol.6 No.6 | March 21, 2013

How do you find a good recruiter? | HR Resources | Vol. 6 No. 5 | March 7, 2013

Are You the Victim of a Bad Boss? | HR Resources Vol.6 No.4 | February 21, 2013

Valentines & office romance | HR Resources Vol.6 No.3 | February 7, 2013

Last Chance! January Sale | HR Resources Vol.6 No.2 – January 24, 2013

January Sale | HR Resources Vol.6 No.1 - January 10, 2013

Happy Holidays | HR Resources Vol. 5 No.26 - December 27, 2012

Survive the office Christmas party | HR Resources Vol. 5 No.24 - December 13, 21012

My boss is out to get me | HR Resources Vol. 5 No.24 - November 29, 21012

How to Work for an Idiot | Vol. 5 No.23 - November 15, 2012

Did They Really Say That? Negative References Can Ruin Your Chance at a New Job

Press release

When Former Employers Comment on You, What Will They Say? 

DETROIT (Nov. 12, 2013) – Searching for a new job? The job market is tough and, believe it or not, your biggest hurdle may not be finding that perfect new position … it may be surviving the vetting process of your new employer, says reference-checking company Allison & Taylor.

In today’s politically correct age, many job seekers mistakenly believe that former employers are working under a “gag order;” that company policies prevent them from giving any employment information other than the standard “dates and title”.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Even if your former employer’s policies dictate what information can be given (not all do), there’s no guarantee that an unhappy former co-worker or manager will adhere to them. And if they offer negative input, theirs may be the reference that ruins your chance for a great new job.

When former employers comment on you, what will they say?

Here are some actual examples of questions and responses in references checked by Allison & Taylor:

We would like to verify that (the candidate) held the position (title) from (dates), is this correct?
•    “He was an account executive, not a Senior V.P.”
•    “His name doesn’t ring a bell.”
•    “We do not have this person anywhere in our records.”
•    “I am not allowed to say anything about this person, as she was fired”

Some references will refuse to rank a past employee due to an unfavorable impression:
•    “No comment, he could not do anything correctly in the position he held with us.”
•    “Let’s save time. Basically, you could rank her inadequate in all areas”

When questioned about strengths and weaknesses:
•    “I cannot think of any strengths, only weaknesses”
•    “I’m sure there must be some strengths but nothing jumps out at me.”
•    “Weaknesses seem to stick in my mind … I’d have to really think about any strengths.”
•    “I’d rather not comment – you can take that however you want.”

Regarding Eligibility for re-hire: Is this person eligible for re-hire?
•    “He is not. I’m really not supposed to say much but he was unreliable and sick at lot.”
•    “Probably not. She had a hard time working in a team environment.
•    “No, but I can’t say why.”
•    “Probably not, but it’s just a suspicion of mine.”
•    “No, because he didn’t want to work here and made it clear he didn’t want to work here.”
•    “I wouldn’t re-hire him. He was disorganized and dishonest.”
•    “No, it was the departure – kind of burned his bridges when he left.”
•    “No, she stole from the company. We have an investigation pending.”

When asked about the reason for employment separation:  Could you fully describe the circumstances and reason for the separation?
•    “She was fired.”
•    “She was let go – she didn’t do her part as expected.”
•    “He was let go … there was a conflict with the children – he didn’t follow safety standards and guidelines.”
•    “I fired him! He and his buddy had some illegal things going.”
•    “She had been written up and she walked out on work … because she was upset.”
•    “It was a rather delicate and awkward situation. You should call her other past employers. I made the mistake of not doing that.”
•    “She was terminated in an investigation…” (The reference then got very quiet and said he had the General Counsel in his office and couldn’t say anything more.)

Responses to questions about performance: References are asked to rank skills on a scale from 1 (inadequate) to 5 (outstanding):
•    Oral Communications: “Can I give a negative number … -1”?
•    Financial Skills: “Well, that’s why our company had a major layoff – left her in charge of finances!”
•    Written Communications: “You mean when she finally turned in the reports due a week earlier?”
•    Technical Skills: “Is zero in your rating scale?”
•    Interpersonal Relations: “One. He had a problem with a few of the people. I should have ended the relationship just after he started.”
•    Productivity:  “Is there a rating less than inadequate?
•    Employee Relations: “There was a lot of he said / she said happening with other employees. And other than her leaving, nothing else has changed. We haven’t had any problems since then, so we know she was the source of the problem.”
•    Decision Making: “He couldn’t make a decision if his life depended on it!”
•    Leadership: “He had no leadership skills.”
•    Crisis Management: “He [fireman] totally ignored the emergency call when it came in. He said he didn’t hear it!”
•    Short Term Planning: “Lousy, can’t remember something that was completed on time!”
•    Personal Integrity:  “I don’t think she had any integrity.”
•    Long Term Planning: “He wasn’t here long enough to rate him.”
•    Overall Performance: “Inadequate would be a positive word for him!”
•    Managerial Skills: “He couldn’t manage a group of children!”

It is not uncommon to contact a reference and find him or her hesitant, evasive or annoyed by the call. Sometimes tone of voice and inflection speak volumes; many express anger, shock, unhappiness or disbelief that they have been called regarding the employee.

We are calling you as a reference regarding (the candidate).
•    “I do not care to comment at all. I let him go and that’s all I care to say!”
•    “Are you certain he gave you my name?”
•    “I cannot believe you were given my name as a reference.”
•    “Hold on, let me get the legal file to see what I am allowed to say.”
•    “Never heard of him!”
•    “I’m surprised she even listed us on her work history.”

Allison & Taylor estimates that 50% of their references come back as “lukewarm” or “negative”. Don’t allow yourself to be surprised and sabotaged by an unfavorable reference. A simple reference check, conducted by a professional agency such as Allison & Taylor, can tell you definitively whether or not a reference is providing a positive, professional response to inquiries made about you. If they are not, you can take proactive steps to prevent this continued spread of negative information, and you may even have legal recourse.

To find out more about reference checking, please visit Allison & Taylor.

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About AllisonTaylor:

AllisonTaylor and its principals have been in the business of checking references for corporations and individuals since 1984. AllisonTaylor is headquartered in Rochester, Mich. For further details on services and procedures please visit

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Media Contact:
Jeff Shane
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