Journal list

Verification of the reference check process

Jeanine “JT” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and founder of the leading career site Dale Dauten is the founder of The Innovators’ Lab and the author of an HR novel, “The Weary Optimist”.

Dear JT & Dale: Today I started the first official day of my job search! While filling out applications, I found myself listing the HR offices of my former employers. I did this because several of my former supervisors are no longer employed at my former companies. Also, I was fired from my most recent job. Although I had no problems with my former supervisor, I would feel more comfortable with a qualified human resources representative talking to any potential employer. Will it look bad on me when it comes time for employers to call past employers? —Gus

JT: It is common to give HR as a reference. However, if they ask you why you haven’t listed past managers, you can tell them that you were told to run reference checks through HR. If they then insist on speaking with your former boss, I’d say, “I can give you his contact information, but I’m not sure what he’ll say based on their policies.” So I hope you will also contact HR. This will prepare them in case what he says is irrelevant.

VALLEY: There are many things to worry about when looking for a job, especially when you are out of work. Ideally, worrying about what your references say about you shouldn’t be one of those worries. That’s why we’ve often suggested that a job applicant ask a friendly friend or colleague to call and inquire; this way you know what is being said and can come up with an appropriate strategy. However, not everyone has such a person to turn to. That’s why I was thrilled to hear from Allison & Taylor, a company that offers a reference check service for you and has qualified people to get information about you, even from companies. who say they only verify employment and do not give references. The result is that Jeff Shane, President of Allison & Taylor, told us, “About 57% of all reference checks we do identify some level of negativity from former employers. As a general rule, any negativity will disqualify a candidate from further consideration. In addition to details on their reference checks, they also have helpful articles (and a discount offer) on the blog section of their website,

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Dear JT & Dale: I am currently in the middle of a work experience (i.e. internship). During this time, I also started the job interview process with another company. My internship doesn’t end for another month and the company I’m interviewing with wants to speed up the hiring process. Questions: Do I give interns an indication that I am interviewing with another company? Should I try to work with the new company to start after my internship is over? This internship is unlikely to turn into a permanent position, but I really like the team and I don’t want to cut ties. —Ciara

VALLEY: A “career experience”, huh? Sounds like a company trying not to pay interns a living wage or any salary. I’m glad you got another opportunity.

JT: Nevertheless, we are really happy that you ask these questions. Your reputation as an employee goes with you. Learning to navigate correctly is the key! First, don’t tell your current employer that you’re interviewing because there’s no guarantee you’ll get the job. Wait for an offer. There are things going on in hiring all the time that can delay the process and make it a moot point.

VALLEY: And there are plenty of managers who will simply shut you down if they know you’re looking for another job, including some version of “In that case, go ahead and leave today.”

JT: Second, if you get the offer, the first thing you tell them is that you’ve signed up for the internship and want to do it for the sake of your professional reputation. They will understand; how you treat your current employer tells them how you will treat them one day. They will agree to prevent you from starting. Trust me !

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Jeanine “JT” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and founder of the leading career site Dale Dauten is the founder of The Innovators’ Lab and the author of “The Weary Optimist”. Please visit them at, where you can email questions, or write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2022 by King Features Syndicate, Inc .