Post # 1
Not thats this has happened to me, but it will be good to know if I ever look for a new job (and if I have this situation):
From what I’ve read on here, if a prospective employer wants to call your current/previous employer, can they REALLY tell the prospective employer anything they want, as long as it’s true? And do you, as someone who does the hiring, believe them? I mean yeah, tell them the time frame in which the candidate worked. But let’s say – I don’t know – that the current/previous says “Oh ShabbyChicBee? She had attitude problems.” “She just didnt fit in with our culture.” “She’s not a go-getter.”
Being that every place is different, and there is an infinite amount of definitions of what “attitude problems” and “go-getters” are, exactly how much do you take into consideration (or take them serious)? I am very curious to know!
Post # 2
This really all depends on where the previous and perspective employer are located. There are a lot of laws and regulations around what you can and can’t say when doing (or giving) a reference check. My experience has been that many HR departments will only confirm that an employee did in fact work for them and whether or not they are eligible for re-hire, and say nothing more.
If you include the city and state where you are working, you may get some more targeted feedback.
Post # 3
All of my jobs are focused in the Houston, TX area. I was also curious if the prospective employer was ever dispatched straight to the hiring manager.
I will say that I LOVE my current job (and boss), but in the past I did have a horrific boss who I just couldn’t please, no matter how hard I tried, so this question has always stuck with me since then. Pretty sure if that boss had ever been asked about my employment, she would probably have more to say then just my employment time!
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2015 - country club in Michigan
I’m a manager, and the training my employer gave me was I can answer any question honestly, using ONLY facts (no opinions). So if I were asked “why did XX leave” I would respond “XX told me they were leaving because of….”. I could not say “I feel like XY left because of…” (that would be an opinion). Or “Do you think XX was a good employee” I would respond “No, because XX did not complete work assignments by their due dates and was not punctual to meetings”. I could not say “XX was a jerk and I think he was lying about being sick alot because he took sick leave every week” (being a jerk and thinking they were abusing sick leave are opinions)
Post # 5
Emm85: Gotcha, the difference between fact vs. opinion has always made me wonder. So good to know!
Post # 6
I think there’s a difference between calling a reference, who can say anything they want and calling an HR department to verify basic facts about employment. Honestly, I don’t think you need to be so scared of the HR department going on and on about a previous employee’s performance. The HR department has nothing to gain by sharing this information and HR usually tries to keep such information private to minimize their liability.
Post # 7
I work in an HR department and do employment verifications. Mostly for bank loans, not for perspective employers. I only give out title, salary, and dates of employment. The agency I work for is large and the HR staff does not know every individual so I wouldn’t be able to give a recommendation for most employees. Generally speaking, we have a policy of not disclosing if a person was frequently visiting our office for disiplinary reasons, even if they were terminated due to it. There a few cases where the person was an exceptionally bad employee and I am to direct any requests for references to the head of our department so that he can handle it personally.
Post # 8
ShabbyChicBee: Most companies now will not put themselves in the position of even possibly being at risk for being sued for defamation. For this reason, many employers will only provide the bare essentials: Title, dates of employment, and salary.
While an employer (in U.S., anyway) can certainly speak about performance – negative or positive – they would be foolish to say anything unprofessional or anything that was not well-documented – and again, due to litigation risks, many employers choose not to give any additional info at all.
Post # 9
If you would like to know what a previous employer might say, you can use a reference checking company. There are steps that you can take to fix bad references from malicious old employers. It’s better to find out before you’re looking for a job, than get turned down for a position that you need or want and wonder why.
Post # 10
ShabbyChicBee: It is illegal to say anything about a current or previous employee other than confirming their tenure, position responsibilities and salary and never without your permission are they even allowed to contact a present employer. That would make them liable for slander. It happens, but its rarely discussed. This is the case in IL and MI as far as I know.
Post # 11
If a company calls your old workplace they cannot say anything bad about you, its against the law. they can only say you worked there and how long. It might be different if you use them as a reference instead of just previous employer though.
Post # 12
One of my good friends works in HR and according to what she told me they are only allowed to give out pure facts without any implications. For example ”Sue handed in her notice” or ”Sue was terminated by us”, or ”Sue worked here for 4 years as a Sales Manager”.
If you use someone as a reference you would usually select someone who you like and who you trust will say nice things about you. Even if you selected someone who you didn’t get on with hugely well, they wouldn’t be allowed to say anything negative that was ”just an opinion”.. so ie they wouldn’t be allowed to say ”Sue was always off sick, and I think she was abusing our sick-leave policy because Janey said she saw her out shopping that day…” ..but they would be able to say ”Sue took sick-leave 8 times last year” if asked.