BERMAN LARSON KANE
ADVICE ON REFERENCE CHECKS AFTER FIRING
If you’re dismissed from a job, it’s always important to leave a former employer on good terms and not burn bridges that one may need to cross in the future. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, especially if there’s been a difficult relationship between an employee and a manager and/or bad feelings over a contentious issue that led to the firing, such as a less-than-satisfactory work performance or problematic conduct.
Whatever the reason, involuntary termination can be difficult to bounce back from and fired employees need to be prepared for their former boss to be contacted and what they are liable to say to the person checking references.
Here from an article published by the website Examiner.com are some points that job seekers should consider when trying to find employment after being dismissed:
- A job seeker should rewrite their résumé to emphasize talent and value over work history. Questions are sure to come up about why the job seeker is unemployed, with honesty being the best approach to answering those questions. Then the job seeker can explain how the skills listed on their résumé will benefit the prospective employer despite that negative point in their work history.
- The whole point of providing references is to back up what a job seeker claims about their experience for the position. Unfortunately, their former employer is not likely to do this. To counteract what the employer may state, the job seeker can ask former colleagues that are familiar with their work to serve as references. If they are willing to help, former coworkers can provide valuable input to a prospective employer.
- Job seekers can be proactive and ask their former employer what will be said about them during a reference check. The employer may be agreeable to writing a neutral reference letter. At the very least, the severed employee may be able to negotiate with the employer that only verification of employment is provided.
- Many unemployed workers turn to freelancing when job prospects become slim or they decide to take their career in a new direction. Many companies find it beneficial to hire freelancers for specific tasks instead of creating a full-time position to handle these tasks. Job seekers can network through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find freelance opportunities, socialize with like-minded workers and to promote their credentials. Again, former coworkers may be asked to provide references for the job seeker’s skills.
Despite popular belief, according to the article, former employers have few limitations when it comes to what they can share in a reference check. Although many employers limit the amount of information they share, this is mainly a business decision from a risk management perspective. In short, it keeps employers from facing possible litigation if only documented facts are shared, such as verifying employment, dates of service and possibly eligibility for rehire.
Some employers may not release information in a reference check without a signed release from the former employee, the article pointed out. But in most cases, there is nothing that prevents a former employer from stating anything during a reference check as long as it is based on documented, verifiable facts.
If a jobseeker suspects that a former employer is giving bad references they could, for example, engage a professional reference checking service to call a former employer on behalf of them. People employed by these services know the right questions to ask and how to listen for subtle cues from the employer. Once the reference check is complete, the job seeker should have a better understanding of the reliability of their references.
A job seeker may wish to consult an attorney if negative or false information is received from a reference checking service, the article noted. One option is a ‘cease and desist’ letter. While not all negative feedback is unlawful, the letter should demand that the bad references be stopped because of the negative impact on the job seeker’s ability to find a job. If a former employer has given false, unlawful or misleading information during a reference check, the job seeker may be able to take legal action for such actions, such as discrimination or defamation.
News from BLK
September has the promise of increasing hiring from several of our clients. We are witnessing an increase in the Human Resource, Manufacturing Technical and IT Project Management niches. Both on the direct hire, temporary and contract-to- hire models.
We are pleased that traffic to our responsive website continues to increase.
As everyone returns from summer vacation schedules we remain optimistic that hiring will continue to increase during the remainder of the year.