Why Would You Ask A Previous Employer For A Reference

Why Would You Ask A Previous Employer For A Reference?

With a third of all UK businesses said to be experiencing labour shortages as we start 2023, you may think, why would you ask a previous employer for a reference when time is so sensitive?

Despite the growing need for labour to be filled, at AutoRefs, we don’t think that this should come at a cost in terms of quality staff. With poor performance being one of the top reasons for dismissal, checking your prospective new hires’ experience is essential if you don’t want to be spending out on pricy recruitment drives again in a few months.

If you want to know why checking references is more important than ever before as a way to protect your business, keep reading.

Why are job references important when bringing in new staff?

While obtaining references for new hires is not a legal requirement, we firmly believe that it is an important task to carry out. For any business, adding to a team is a daunting task as profitability relies on the quality of people that create a company culture.

Obtaining a reference is important for confirming the following:

– That an employer is qualified and experienced to undertake their new role, as they have confirmed. Providing peace of mind ensures that you have multiple different people verifying the same information, which will protect you in the long run. The proof is in the figures, with 69% of hiring managers saying they have changed their minds about a candidate after a reference has been received. It is also against the law to provide a poor reference that is not factually driven, meaning the process can verify information without bias.

– The information can be stored on your employee records, providing you with evidence should they need to meet the terms of their employment.

– Character references are important as they give you a clear idea of whether the new hire will fit with the existing team. Employee experience is paramount to top performance, so this benefits all parties.

Whether you want to confirm your decision is the right one or tick your HR boxes, the process is one that 87% of UK employers choose to use. The supporting legislation means that only accurate information is provided, allowing an unbiased insight into the working life of a new potential hire.

What information can you obtain from a previous employer?

Why Would You Ask A Previous Employer For A Reference
Why Would You Ask A Previous Employer For A Reference

Hearing first-hand how an employee has performed in their previous roles gives a good indication of how they will handle a new role.

When bringing in new talent, the best way to manage the process is with facts. A job reference can provide details that help a company decide whether the candidate is right for them. The process also allows a company to create their check-based system, with references coming in many different formats depending on the hiring manager’s needs.

Allowing you to obtain any information related to previous employment, a detailed job reference can contain a mix of quantitative and qualitative information. Qualitative questions may cover topics such as character reviews, details of best practices, and any personal recommendations that the previous employer feels comfortable giving. When it comes to data, information such as length of time within a role and associated qualifications can be obtained.

The process also allows the new company to understand exactly why an employee has chosen to find a new role. Whilst this doesn’t necessarily mean a negative reason, 78% of people are said to cover the complete truth when searching for a new position. If you want to protect your business and make a decision with the facts, then a previous employer reference is a good choice to make.

At the end of the day, whether they are happy that an employee left, or they are left wanting them to stay, an employer spends multiple hours with their staff every week meaning that their opinion certainly does count.

Who can provide a job reference?

Employers are often favoured for providing workplace references that directly relate to a candidate’s skills and experience. If you also want to learn more about them, you can ask for character references. These are mostly carried out by someone they have known for a long time.

A popular choice for proving the legitimacy of an application is to ask for references from colleagues and a manager. This provides a complete picture of how the employee got on in their previous role from a range of people with different interests that worked with them.

Does a previous employer need to provide a reference?

Why Would You Ask A Previous Employer For A Reference
Why Would You Ask A Previous Employer For A Reference

No legal requirement says that if a reference is asked for, that must be provided. The general advice is that if a company does require references as part of their recruitment process, multiple people are asked so that at least one provides the information needed.

With that being said, you can improve the chances of a previous employer wanting to leave a reference if the process is facilitated with simplicity in mind. The Autorefs process has been created to make checking easier and more successful.

Think about your own pile of work. Are you more likely to fill out a quick online survey or spend time typing up a manual document? The reality is that if a quick-to-complete reference is available, the chance of it being completed is much higher.

You can find out exactly how to implement a referencing checking system by clicking here.

How can AutoRefs improve the chance of receiving quality references?

Our approach to reference collation reflects a modern way of working, with automation at the core. Our system means that time is not wasted, as a couple of days could be the difference between securing top talent and losing out to a competitor company.

The system features that we have built allow teams to be back at full capacity in no time at all!

Pre-defined questions allow you to create a questionnaire in minutes. 

Knowing what to ask can be a minefield of navigating HR topics and ethical data. We have a set of questions that can be collated, which have been provided by HR professionals at the very top of their field. If the right questions are being asked, the reference will come across as more legitimate and be more likely to command a response.

Automated reminders to nudge people to decide about whether they want to provide a reference. 

Often, an un-filled reference is not due to a lack of desire to complete but instead forgetting that it is in a workflow. Our automated reminders allow follow-ups to be sent so that information can be gathered in a timely manner.

The legal side of things is also covered with our GDPR and industry-recognised eSignature consents. 

Once provided, references must be managed professionally. Our system covers all aspects of compliancy to ensure easy management of confidential information.

Eliminate the chance of fraudulent references being an issue. 

Receiving a name, email address, and phone number doesn’t all instil confidence in the hiring manager. Our system takes the guessing out of references by highlighting any fraudulent or unsafe communication channels that could represent a falsified attempt to complete a reference.

Providing a professional image gives more of a chance of the reference being completed. 

Our system is a smooth-running digital referencing service which can be managed in a matter of moments. Delivered via a professional email with a system compatible programme for completion, the ease of use means employers are more likely to take the time to provide vital information.

HR teams feel more empowered to obtain the information that will support them in the longer run.

Although we would love it if every hire lasted and carried out their role perfectly, sadly that isn’t always the case. Taking the time to gather references provides your HR teams and hiring managers with the back up that they need to create a case for improvement if targets are not being met. Our system takes the manual side of things out of the equation, allowing HR managers to manage the recruitment process for multiple different positions without being overrun my papers and endless emails. Collated in one place and automated for ease, the AutoRefs system seamlessly acts as an additional member of HR to extend even the smallest of teams.

Is asking for employer references the right decision for your business?

Why Would You Ask A Previous Employer For A Reference
Why Would You Ask A Previous Employer For A Reference

Automated reference checks are just one of the many ways in which you can improve the quality of hires within companies of all sizes.

You would likely have found this blog by thinking, ‘why would you ask a previous employer for a reference?’

In our view, obtaining this information helps companies hire wiser and faster which is essential for standing a chance at securing top talent in competitive markets. If the manual effort of collating references has been a reason for not checking in on prospective new hires in the past, you can find out more information about our services here.

The key to making a decision about a job offer could lie in the feedback of past management, so we would always recommend carrying out references.


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