5 Reasons You MUST Check Your Own Employment References

Many job seekers don't realize that they need to check their own references. This is because they may assume that...


Job references are an important part of the hiring process, but many job seekers don't realize that they need to check their own references. This is because they may assume that:

  • Only the references they list will be contacted.
  • If a former employer is contacted, inquiries will simply be redirected to Human Resources.
  • Human Resources will only confirm employment dates and title as company policy.

However, all of these assumptions are frequently mistaken!

In this blog article, we will discuss 5 reasons why every job seeker needs to check their own references.

1. The company's comment policy may not be what you think it is.

Handwriting a signature on a corporate document related to comment policy

Many job seekers assume that their former employers won't say anything negative about them, but this is not always the case. In fact, a number of companies have relaxed their comment policies in recent years, which means that former employers are now free to provide more detailed feedback about former employees. A countless number of reference checking firm Allison & Taylor’s clients confidently assert that, “They won't tell you anything, it's against policy.”

2. Your reference may not be saying what you expect.

A job seeker reading a negative reference letter, with a disappointed expression on their face.

Even if your former employer is willing to provide a positive reference, it's important to make sure that they are actually saying what you expect them to say. A lukewarm reference can be just as damaging as a negative one, so it's important to get confirmation that your references are as supportive as you need them to be.

3. Your information may not match the HR records.

It's also important to make sure that your employment information is accurate. This includes your employment dates, job title, and supervisor. If there are any discrepancies between your resume and the HR records, it could raise red flags with potential employers.

4. Your record may have been omitted from the HR records entirely.

This can happen for a number of reasons, such as a merger or a company reorganization. If your record is missing from the HR records, it could make it difficult for potential employers to verify your employment history.

5. Your reference contact may no longer work for the company.

It's important to make sure that your reference contact is still with the company. If they have left the company, a reference checker may be shuffled through the system and end up with someone who doesn't know you, or who won't cast you in a positive light.


By checking your own employment references, you can avoid any surprises down the road. This is an important step in the job search process, and it's one that every job seeker should take.

Here are some tips for checking your own employment references:

  • Ask your former employers for permission to contact them.
  • Provide your former employers with a list of questions that you would like them to answer.
  • Follow up with your former employers to make sure that they have responded to your request.

If you find that your references are not as supportive as you need them to be, there are a few things you can do:

  • Talk to your references and see if there is anything you can do to improve their feedback.
  • Consider using a professional reference-checking firm to help you get more accurate feedback.
  • Send a Cease & Desist letter to any former employers who are providing negative or inaccurate feedback.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your employment references are as helpful as possible in your job search.