Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

What do employers ask referees (former employers)? Watch

    • Thread Starter

    Short: What kind of questions do interviewers/bosses ask an interviewee's references?

    Long: Not sure if anyone here will know, but worth a shot. Not sure if this is the right place to ask either, but life - relationships was closest.

    I've been unemployed (bar a couple of temporary two-week jobs/work experience) for a long time. Recently, I've had two very good interviews (one of them even asked me in on the day of the interviews because they received my CV that morning and were so "impressed").

    Despite the unawkward atmosphere, saying the right things naturally, getting 100% on a numeracy test, I'm still unemployed. The one who asked in super-short notice because of my CV simply said it was because "the others were more suitable". ****.

    The other interviewer hasn't replied to my feedback request yet.

    Of course, it could just be I was up against people who did just as well as me but had years more experience or a degree or something, but I've been unemployed for a few years and I'm getting a niggling worry that I'm getting a bad reference from my former employer, from when I was 16-18 and always coming in late because they didn't do anything about it and didn't work either. Laziness breeds laziness, eh?

    Luckily I have just got a xmas job for a few days so I could ask them for a reference, giving me two surely good references. However, I still have to know about my possibly bad one and whether I have to go slap a ***** (in my head). This is £36,000 in wages and 3 years of education we're talking about here.

    So it's time for acting skills and to pretend I'm an employer, and to hear what is said about the young fellow Mr. Nonotrly I inteviewed yesterday.

    Anyone have any idea how that conversation goes? I figure I ask how Mr. Nonotrly was, whether there were any disciplinaries, how the attendance was, dates of work...

    depends on the actual role of the job....

    when i was accepted onto barclays, they asked my referee for Qs like why would he thrive in this environment? weak points and is there any reason why i shouldnt be employed lol

    and when i applied for a job @ waitrose, i believe my referee wasnt even contacted lol

    so there you go!

    if your going to work for a bank or a civil service type role, most likely they will ask for a reference if its retail or something then most likely they wont

    It depends really. It's quite a sensitive area as a referee is legally obliged to not write anything that is false, misleading or otherwise unfair about a candidate.

    Since employers usually want your previous employer as a reference, this can be a bit awkward if you are leaving that employer under negative circumstances. It also depends whether the reference is requested before or after your offer of employment (usually after these days).

    For that reason many employers will give the bare minimum when asked for a reference. Basically something to confirm what you put on your CV like 'so-and-so worked here in this role between these dates. X left because they took voluntary redundancy' or whatever.

    The only additional question an employer might ask on a reference is something like 'Are there any reasons why X would not be suitable for this job?' following a brief outline of the duties involved. In this case most referees would simply say 'no' unless they had a good reason not to.
    • PS Helper

    We have a standard form we send out to request a reference. We request references after an employee has started but within a probationary period.

    We start by confirming basic information provided such as job title, basic job requirements, dates etc.
    We ask about timekeeping, number of days of absence etc.
    We ask why you left and if they would re-employ you.
    That's about it, there is space for any comments if they felt particularly like warning us off you
    • PS Helper

    It's not "illegal" to write a bad reference. As long as you're careful not to write anything libellous. I'm not sure what law people think this would be against.

    If someone asks you was X on time for work. It's yes or no. If your company policy is not to write negative references they may decline to answer that but in any case, it's quite easy to draw your own conclusions from the way people phrase things

    Short answer:

    depends on the job;
    I.e. if you used to be a masuse they might ask what extra's you do!

    but mainly; just how you worked with people, how quickly learn't, where you reliable ect.
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Did TEF Bronze Award affect your UCAS choices?
    Useful resources

    Articles and guides:

    Hands typing

    Degrees without fees

    Discover more about degree-level apprenticeships.

    A-Z of careers Advice on choosing a careerCV writing helpCovering letter helpInterview tips

    Featured recruiter profiles:

    CGI logo

    CGI is open for applications

    "Offering a range of apprentice and sponsored degree positions."

    Deutsche Bank logo

    Deutsche Bank is recruiting

    "Thrive in an international banking environment"

    ICAEW logo


    "Merck is a global leader in specialized pharma & chemicals – join us!"

    Army logo

    The Army is recruiting now

    "With hundreds of roles available, there’s more than one way to be the best."

    Bianca Miller, runner-up on The Apprentice

    Handle your digital footprint

    What would an employer find out about you on Google? Find out how to take control.

    Quick links:

    Unanswered career sector and employment threads

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.