How to Respond to a Reference Check Request From a Prospective Employer

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Why Responding to a Employment Reference Verification

An employment reference verification helps a potential employer make informed hiring decisions by providing accurate and detailed information about a candidate's skills, qualifications, and work history. Also, with a positive letter of recommendation, you can help the candidate secure the job they’re applying for.

In general, It can help maintain professional relationships: By responding to a reference check, you demonstrate to the candidate and their potential employer that you value the professional relationship and are willing to take the time to help them in their job search.

Writing Tips for a Positive Response to an Employment Reference Check

When responding to a reference check request from a prospective employer, it’s important to provide honest and accurate information while also protecting the privacy of the person you’re recommending. Here are some tips on how to respond:

  • Begin by confirming that you received the reference check request and that you’re willing to provide a reference. For example, you can say "Thank you for reaching out. I am happy to provide a reference for [Name]."
  • Provide basic information about the candidate, such as their job title, dates of employment, and responsibilities. For example, "I was [Name]'s manager for [X years/months] and in that time, [Name] held the position of [Job title]. During that time, [Name] was responsible for [responsibilities]."
  • Highlight the candidate's strengths and accomplishments. For example, "One of [Name]'s greatest strengths was their ability to [skill or accomplishment]."
  • Be honest: If the candidate had any issues or shortcomings, it’s best to address them upfront. For example, "While [Name] was an excellent employee, I should mention that [issue or shortcoming]."
  • Protect privacy! Don’t share any information that isn’t relevant to the job or that could be considered sensitive.
  • End the reference check on a positive note, by summarizing the candidate's strengths and qualifications. For example, "Overall, I highly recommend [Name] for the [Job title] position. They have the skills, experience, and work ethic to excel in this role."

You May Also be Interested in Our Sample Letter to Asking for a Reference Letter (studies, internships, jobs)

Need to Respond to Request for Reference Checks? Our Free Samples

A Basic Email Template Easy to Adapt

Dear (Mr/Ms etc + name),

We recently received a (C.V/Resume) and cover letter from one of your applicants, (reference number: 394958), (title + name of applicant).

The application was made regarding the position of (details of position) which is currently still available with us.

(Ms./Mr. X's) credentials and experience came across very strongly on paper, demonstrating the right achievements and goals that we feel are suited to our company and the position.

We would like to pursue the matter further by inviting (him/her) in for an interview.

Please telephone our HR department to organise a suitable time for the meeting with your candidate.


(name + signature)

An Example of Letter to Provide a Positive Reference

Dear [Hiring Manager's Name],

I am writing to confirm that I have received your request for a reference for [Candidate's Name], who has applied for the [Job Title] position at your company. I am happy to provide a reference for [Candidate's Name], as I believe they would be an excellent fit for the role.

I want to assure you that all the information provided is true to the best of my knowledge.

I had the pleasure of working with [Candidate's Name] as [their job title] at [Your Company] for [X years/months]. During that time, [Candidate's Name] was responsible for [responsibilities]. One of [Candidate's Name]'s greatest strengths was their ability to [skill or accomplishment]. They also demonstrated a great work ethic and always met or exceeded expectations.

However, I should mention that [Candidate's Name] had some challenges with [issue or shortcoming] but they were able to overcome it by [what was done to overcome the issue].

So, I highly recommend [Candidate's Name] for the [Job Title] position. They have the skills, experience, and work ethic to excel in this role. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


[Your Name]

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