How even the smallest weight gain can hurt your job chances


The suddenly reluctant zipper can bring more than a sting of self-consciousness. A new study from the journal Plos One out this month found slight weight gain can hurt a job seeker’s employment chances — especially a woman’s.

The authors, a team of Scottish and Canadian researchers, already knew that overweight applicants face discrimination on the job hunt. They wondered if going up just one size could trigger similar prejudice.

In 2013, they told a group of 60 men and 60 women to imagine themselves as company recruiters looking at photos of prospective hires. The snapshots showed four men and four women, all white and expressionless, at various, digitally enhanced weights. Each face reflected what doctors consider healthy body weights. (For example, a 5-foot-7 woman who weighs between 121 and 158 pounds would not be medically considered obese.)

The authors said they wanted to test for response to size, so they stuck with one race:

The researchers told the group that the candidates had identical resumés. Then came the questionnaire: Based on your gut reactions, how likely would you be to hire each, on a scale of 1 (extremely unlikely) to 7 (extremely likely) for customer-facing roles or no-contact gigs?

A human resources manager might warn that deciding on the basis of a photo could invite a lawsuit. But the respondents made snap judgments. To faux recruiters of both genders, thinner faces registered as more hirable than the heavier ones, though the effect was stronger for roles that involved interaction with customers. The “original” versions pulled an average score of 4.84, while the modified, heavier mugs got 4.61.

The disadvantage, however, was stronger for larger women than for larger men. Respondents rated them 0.66 lower on average, compared to the 0.26 they docked the men.

“These results affirm that even a marginal increase in weight appears to have a negative impact on the hirability ratings of female job applicants,” the authors wrote. “For women, it seems, even seemingly minute changes to the shape, size and weight of the body are important.”

Co-author Dennis Nickson, a business professor at University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, said women tend to be judged more harshly for their appearances because of unfair societal expectations. Thin women who wear modest makeup appear more competent in the workplace and even take home higher earnings than their similarly skilled colleagues who weigh more or spurn cosmetics, studies have shown. (Other work has found that men, regardless of beauty, simply look more inherently skilled, and indeed the respondents in this study rated male faces, on average, a full point more employable than female ones.)


Read more here

Inquiring Minds: 5 Things Your New Employer CAN Find Out About You

Potential Employers Won’t Tell You If They Find Something Negative

DETROIT (February 11, 2016) – Many a job seeker has mistakenly assumed that their potential new employer won’t be able to find out something in their background that might cost them that new job.  While a new employer is sometimes legally required to ask your consent in searching your background data, if you respond that they cannot do so it will likely eliminate you from further employment consideration.  In some instances, an employer has no obligation to tell you what they are looking for, nor will they tell you if they have found something for which they are disqualifying you.  This frequently leads to a scenario where – after the job candidate has had favorable interviews and encouragement from a potential employer – they subsequently never hear back from that employer or are told the company decided to “go in a different direction”.

That being said, what are some of things an employer might be looking at without your knowledge?

  1. What your former managers are saying about you, even if you haven’t listed them as references.  While corporate personnel are typical instructed to confirm a former employee’s title and dates of employment, there is no law that prohibits a potential employer from asking your former managers more revealing questions about how they regarded the quality of your work performance.  Reference checking firm Allison & Taylor ( reports that approximately 50% of reference checks they conduct reveal some form of negativity from the reference.  While the majority of such negative commentary comes from former supervisors, Human Resources frequently offers commentary indicating a candidate is not eligible for rehire, and the fact someone was fired or involuntarily released from the organization.However, the good news is that there is remedial action available to the job seeker (e.g. through a Cease & Desist letter) when unfavorable commentary about them is documented.
  1. Data you may have posted on social media.  While a potential employer cannot compel you to reveal your social media passwords, they can – and do – view what you’ve posted to popular sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Note that many of your posts, tweets, etc. may go back many years, long since forgotten by you – but still out there and accessible by a prospective employer.
  1. Whether you’ve ever been fired.  If you have in fact been fired from a position, you have no obligation to bring this fact up unsolicited.  However, if you are specifically asked then you run a significant risk if you deny it as either falsifying your job application or lying during an interview could be grounds for termination at some later date.A good idea would be to proactively determine if your former employer is, in fact, going to offer potentially damaging commentary about you.  A reference checking company could help you confirm whether your former supervisor(s) or Human Resources department is offering any unfavorable remarks about you.  Clearly, such information could be useful in guiding you on how to proceed with prospective new employers.
  1. Whether you’ve declared bankruptcy.  Companies that might consider you for a financially related position may be particularly interested in determining this.  Note that an employer can easily determine this through the use of a background check, accessed with your social security number.  (Note that you also have the ability to identify such information by ordering a background check report on yourself.  Such a report will also identify any criminal history, licenses, etc.)
  1. Your salary history.  A prospective employer is free to ask about your salary history/current salary.  Some employers also make a practice of asking for proof of current salary if the figure you offer strikes them as particularly high.

Clearly, it is in your best interest to be aware not only of data an employer can access about you, but steps you can take to proactively identify such information about yourself.  Take initiative in managing this often-overlooked employment aspect and “never assume” that your potential employers aren’t doing likewise.


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

AllisonTaylor – Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter!

Media Contact
Jeff Shane
800-890-5645 (toll-free USA/Canada)

The Five Golden Rules of Job Reference Etiquette

Looking For a Job Promotion, Relationships Are Critical

DETROIT, MI (June 9, 2016) – It makes good business sense – and is respectful professional etiquette – to stay in touch with your former bosses, says Allison & Taylor, the nation’s oldest professional reference checking firm.

As your career advances, your efforts to stay connected with past employers could pay dividends many times over when they provide you with favorable professional references.  Conversely, failing maintain a solid relationship with your references could have long-reaching professional consequences.

“As an employer, if a prospective employee’s former boss neglected to return your call looking for a professional reference, what message would that convey?” asks Jeff Shane, of Allison & Taylor.  “Oftentimes, job seekers pay close attention to their resumes and interview skills, but fail to nurture their professional references…and a personal commentary can make or break a successful job search.”

To enhance the chances Allison & Taylor suggests you follow these 5 Golden Rules of Job Reference Etiquette:

  1. Call your former bosses and ask them if they are willing to be good job references for you. Be sure to thank them for supporting you in your job search if they agree.
  2. Let them know each and every time you give out their name and email address.
  3. Keep your former positive references informed of your experiences in climbing the corporate ladder and your educational progress. Provide them with career updates. He/she will be more inclined to see you in a stronger light as you progress.
  4. Remember that spending time with a potential employer takes valuable time out of your former bosses’ day, so try to give something back. For instance, after receiving a good job reference, write a personal thank-you letter or (at a minimum) send an email. Better still, send a thank-you note with a gift card, or offer to take your former boss to lunch/dinner.
  5. If you win the new position, call or email your former boss and thank them again for the positive references. At the same time, you can provide your new professional contact information.

Additionally, it’s critical to be certain of the feedback from your professional references.  If you are not 100 percent convinced that your professional references and past employers will relay positive comments about you to prospective employers, have them checked out.  A professional reference check can either put your mind at ease, or supply you with the critical information and evidence that may be blocking your job search efforts.

Allison & Taylor estimates that 50% of their references come back as “lukewarm” or “negative”.  If a reference provides unfavorable or inaccurate information to a prospective employer, there are steps that can be taken to rectify the situation. You can take steps to prevent this continued spread of negative information, either through a Cease & Desist letter or through more aggressive legal recourse.

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


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

AllisonTaylor – Find us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter!

Media Contact
Jeff Shane
800-890-5645 (toll-free USA/Canada)

5 Strategies for Job Hunting


References matter. The most important reference is that of your former boss. In fact, they may give a winning push to landing that job or they may sabotage the position for you.

AllisonTaylor outlines a five-step strategy to ensure the best possible outcome during the job hunting progress.

  1. Make a list of your former bosses – Have you stayed in touch? Was there bad blood? Before you go on that interview offer an olive branch.
  2. Make a secondary list – A mentor, coach, former boss, or manager is a great place to start. Job hunters should have a few references available at a moment’s notice, take the time when you craft your resume to craft this document too.
  3. Contacting references in advance and inquiring about their willingness to actually be a reference is an important step.
  4. Verify that you have all information for your references listed correctly; the correct spelling of their name, current title, and up-to-date contact information.
  5. Remember reference letters obtained really don’t matter, unless the company goes out of business and none of your people are to be found. Everyone knows it’s very easy to make up letterhead and a reference.

Etiquette may be forgotten by some today and noting what is appropriate is a smart decision.

Allison & Taylor notes that approximately half of all reference checks they conduct reveal negative inputfrom the references. Don’t neglect your references; an appropriate holiday greeting is always a good idea to help cultivate and maintain professional relationships.

It’s imperative that you, as a job candidate, also take a close look at your references each and every time you make a change to your resume.

Make sure your reference list meets these criteria:

  • Does your reference list reflect the best people to cast you in a positive light to a prospective employer – or could there be someone else who would be a better choice?
  • Are your selected references truly going to give your prospective employers the kudos you’re hoping for? If you’re less than certain that they will, you’d better check them beforehand before they go “live” with your prospective new employer. Have a reference check conducted beforehand to make sure.
  • Do your references have a truly comprehensive knowledge of your skills and abilities, and can they fluently convey this knowledge?
  • Are your references people with whom you’ve stayed in touch, and kept updated on your career moves and successes? Will they be able to provide current information about you to a prospective new employer(s)?

Once you feel confident that your selection of references is optimal, examine how you are presenting their information to a prospective employer. Make sure that their contact information is clear, concise, and above all…accurate. Whether or not you receive that coveted job offer may depend on an employer’s ability to contact your references, and data that is outdated or incorrect could cost you your dream job.

To ensure your reference data is easily accessible to a prospective employer, make sure you list the information as seen on these samples:

Management Reference List Sample

Teacher Reference List Sample

Hair Stylist Reference List Sample

Proactively offer your references at the conclusion of an interview – the hiring party will be impressed with both your list, and your initiative.

For a critique of your references, or assistance in rewriting them to the new format, please click here. A good reference list will be one key to securing new employment – make sure yours is a part of your employment-seeking arsenal.

Are you protected by your old company’s policy to only confirm the dates and title of employment?

Our experience is, that with a little pressure, most managers break company policy and speak their mind to either help or hurt a candidate’s chance at another job. Who from your past job will help you or hurt you – you need to know.

Click here to find out what is really being said about you.

Is your past boss badmouthing you?

50% of our clients have lost good job offers due to bad or mediocre comments from previous employers. will confidentially find out what is really being said about you and give you the power to stop it!

Click here to find out how!

Interviewing well but not getting the job?

Maybe it’s something that a past employer or reference is saying. Could a jealous colleague be sabotaging you? Could your past boss be less than happy at your departure? will help you find out.

Click here to find out how!

Do you have a separation agreement with your past employer? Is it being honored?

Is your past employer giving you the professional and prompt reference that was promised or are they saying, “Well according to our agreement I can only confirm that he worked here.” will find out what is really being said and give you the power to enforce your agreement.

Click here to find out how!

Were you a victim of discrimination, sexual harassment or wrongful termination?

Your previous employers could be affecting your new job search through their comments to prospective employers. Don’t let them continue to hurt you and your career.

Click here to find out what is really being said about you.

Are you being BLACKBALLED?

Last year our clients were awarded more than $2 million in settlements. will find out what is really being said about you and give you the power to stop it!

Click here to find out how!

You’ve put time and effort into your resume, developed your network of possible employers andrecruiters, worked on your interview skills – but have done nothing but typed a list of your references. Don’t leave this crucial area to chance. References are the final factor in who gets the job offer. Your past employers – anyone you reported to will be contacted. Do you know what they will say? will find out what is really being said about you.

Click here to find out how!

How To Use Social Media To Your Advantage In The Job Market

In recent years, the reference-checking landscape has changed dramatically for prospective employers and job seekers alike. The advent of social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook allow prospective employers to quickly research reference data on a prospective candidate, says professional reference checking company Allison & Taylor.

This is a boon from the hiring manager/recruiter perspective, as vast personal and professional networks can be accessed – the membership of LinkedIn alone exceeds 135 million members. Social media opens up the candidate pool; estimates suggest that a significant majority of hiring managers recruited through social networks in 2011- and that this trend will continue.

In addition, many hiring managers use social media such using as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook (in addition to general Google searches) to check a potential candidate’s background. An employer can type in the candidate’s name, previous employers and dates of employment and might well come up with the names of a wide variety of current and former associates. What’s more, prospective employers can access the information on these sites even before a candidate is interviewed in person.

What are the ramifications for you, the job seeker? For one, a prospective employer might be able to access former references who are not those you would normally provide as references. Simply offering up the name of your former Human Resources representative, or of your immediate supervisor, might not be sufficient if an employer is able to utilize social media tools to access the names of your second-level supervisors or other key associates.

This being the case, what steps should you take now to ensure that your social media data isn’t used against you?

Consider these five proactive steps to manage your references in the Internet Age:

1. Take the time to research yourself online prior to beginning your interview process. (One example: “Google” yourself.) The odds are very high that your application, resume and credentials will be reviewed by prospective employers for inaccuracies – better that you identify them first, if they exist.

2. Consider expanding your reference list to prospective employers beyond simply an HR contact or supervisor. Associates like a supportive second-level supervisor or a matrix manager(s) can be key advocates in your behalf and might be more supportive than traditional references like immediate supervisors.

3. Find out what your references will say about you prior to beginning the interview process. Use a third-party reference verification firm to find out what references at your most recent places of employment (in particular) will actually say about you. Increasing the scope of your reference search (to second-level supervisors, etc.) may identify additional favorable references in senior positions whose names you may wish to invoke during the interview process.
4. When negative references are identified during a third-party search, consider taking remedial action intended to discourage such references from ever offering similar negative input to your future employers. Tools such as Cease & Desist letters have proven extremely effective in neutralizing future negative input from unfavorable references.

5. Know your rights. Be aware that employers are legally prohibited from using certain social media data they may discover about you during the hiring process, (e.g. data pertaining to your race, religion, age, sex, sexual preference, etc.). Employers open themselves up to lawsuits if they base their hiring decisions on such discriminatory information.
The ever-increasing prevalence of social media is a doubled edged sword; it has opened up countless employment opportunities, but has also given prospective employers added tools to investigate your background. By recognizing this and taking proactive steps, you use social media to your advantage – and gainful new employment.

Will my employment references know that I am having them ‘checked out’?Answer:
Absolutely not. At no time do we reveal who has hired us to do this research.

Isn’t it illegal to ask about things other than title and dates of employment during a reference check?
No, and that is one of the interesting things about references. It is a private conversation between two people, your past employer and a prospective one. Anything can be said, regardless of what the laws are. Go to your local legislator’s office. They can find the most recent laws for you but remember, every road we drive on has a speed limit. When we are running late, if a police officer is not in sight, we speed. There is not a reference police officer watching over you past employer. Essentially, your past employer or reference can take 5 minutes on the telephone with a total stranger and either increase your chances of obtaining a new position or absolutely ruin them.

Can I have additional or specific questions asked of my employment references?Answer:
Custom reports are available for an additional fee. If there is any possibility of litigation, we suggest not to alter our normal course of business as this jeopardizes our unbiased research.

Who should I list as a reference?Answer:
When compiling a list of employment references, try to look at it from the prospective employer’s shoes. First, you need responsive people that can confirm that you worked there, your title, reason for separation and other basics. Additionally, you need to list people who can vouch for your level of responsibility and performance. Also consider any party to whom you reported. These individuals do not necessarily have to be named on your list of references, but be assured, if you reported to them, they are likely to be contacted by a prospective employer.

What if my reference no longer works for my previous company?Answer:
It is in your best interest to locate your previous supervisors and colleagues. We are not a detective agency, and neither are the prospective employers who will be considering you. Allison & Taylor can simply call your past companies and ask for forwarding information, just as a prospective employer would, but realistically this is likely to go nowhere. You could hire a private investigator or try to do this on your own. Call the company yourself, maybe someone you know is there and they would release the information to you. Can you call former colleagues or clients? The internet is a great source of information, try your own search. The bottom line is that in order for you to compare to your competition for other positions, you need to have your references and past supervisors in order.

If my employment references are bad, what can I do?Answer:
A bad employment reference can be strategically dealt with depending on what is actually being said and to what degree things are explained. You need to first determine what is being said before you can develop an appropriate strategy. Depending on what the research reveals as well as the laws within your state, you may be able to take legal action. We suggest taking our report to an employment attorney for proper legal advice. Allison & Taylor, Inc. will be available to supply our research evidence and to testify in support of your situation should the need arise. Although we will not make a referral to a specific attorney, we do suggest finding one through NELA – the National Employment Lawyers Association. Additionally, very good legal advice and information can be accessed at US Law Books.

Perfect Fit for a New Job? 4 Interviews Later, Why They Stop Communicating with You. Don’t Overlook the Possibility of a Negative Reference

DETROIT (September 13, 2016) – Perhaps you can relate to this job-seeking scenario: you’ve sailed through the interviews with flying colors and have been told that the job is virtually yours after they get back to you in short order.  And then…no further response from them.  You politely follow up with them and are told that the company decided to go “in a different direction”.  Or even worse, your calls or emails are no longer returned.

What happened, when everything was looking so positive?

Unfortunately, a very good possibility is that the prospective employer conducted a reference check(s) with your former employer and heard something unfavorable about you.  Most job seekers are under the misimpression that employers cannot – and will not – say anything negative about their former employees.  While this is almost universally a corporate guideline, the unfortunate reality is that countless references violate this policy on a daily basis.  While such negative input typically comes from a former supervisor, Human Resources can be a problem as well – particularly if they indicate you are not eligible for rehire, or left the company under involuntary circumstances.  Complicating this situation, prospective employers – for their own legal protection – will almost never tell you that a negative reference was received.  You will be left wondering what the true reason for your non-hire actually was.

The good news: you can identify for yourself what your former employers are actually saying about you.  Consider utilizing a firm such as Allison & Taylor, Inc. (, a reference checking service in business since 1984, that will interview your reference(s) and document their input word-for-word.  Approximately 50% of all reference checks conducted by Allison & Taylor uncover negative input from the reference.  Any such feedback can be used for remedial legal purposes or, more simply, a Cease-&-Desist letter that has an exceptionally high (99+%) documented success rate.

A negative reference is likely to continue offering the same input to every prospective employer that calls unless you detect it and take steps to stop it.  Job seekers can lose many opportunities before they realize what is happening.  It’s best to be proactive as it is never too early to identify – and address – a negative job reference.

# # #

About Allison & Taylor:

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

Allison & Taylor — Find us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter!

Media Contact:

Jeff Shane

800- 890-5645 toll-free USA/Canada


Allison and Taylor, Inc.