Job Reference Check FAQs
What Do You Want To Know?
Allison & Taylor, Inc. and its principals have been in the business of checking references for individuals and corporate accounts since 1984. Our organization has been recommended by industry specialists such as The New York Times award-winning author Martin Yate (“Knock ‘Em Dead Résumés”). Numerous articles have been published about our business in newspapers and magazines including The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, New Woman, Worth, National Business Employment Weekly, The Detroit News and The St. Petersburg Times. For more information, please visit https://www.allisontaylor.com/ or call (800) 651-8202.
Hours of operation
We are open 24/7 for online orders via our website at https://www.allisontaylor.com/Default.asp
Will my employment references know that I am having them 'checked out'?
No, and that is one of the interesting things about references. It is a private conversation between two people, your past employer and a prospective one. Anything can be said, regardless of what the laws are. Go to your local legislator’s office. They can find the most recent laws for you but remember, every road we drive on has a speed limit. When we are running late, if a police officer is not in sight, we speed. There is not a reference police officer watching over your past employer. Essentially, your past employer or reference can take 5 minutes on the telephone with a total stranger and either increase your chances of obtaining a new position or absolutely ruin them.
What services do you offer?
We offer 3 services:
- We will call your former employers and find out what they will tell a potential employer for $79 per reference. Example: you would like HR and a former supervisor called; the fee would be $79 x 2 = $158.
- We will run a full background check for you for $99 – sent to you via email. (Note: This service is only available to U.S.-based customers.)
- We offer – in conjunction with attorneys – a “Cease & Desist” letter remedy to discourage negative references from ever offering such unfavorable input to your prospective employers. Such letters have proven extremely effective – the cost for this service is $395. The attorney will also review your reference report to determine if more significant remedies are appropriate. Please contact us directly for additional details.
Can I have additional or specific questions asked of my employment references?
Custom reports are available for an additional fee. If there is any possibility of litigation, we suggest not to alter our normal course of business as this jeopardizes our unbiased research.
How does your reference checking process work so I can find out what my former boss will say about me?
After initiating your online order on our site, you will input the relevant information on your reference(s) and employment particulars, including:
- Type of reference (Executive, Professional, Teacher)
- Reference name/title
- Company name
- Phone number to reach them
- Your employment dates/title
- Position you are seeking
- Payment information/password of your choice
We then call your reference, offering no input that would alert them that we are working on your behalf. After confirming your employment dates/title, we then pose more revealing questions such as:
- Can they enthusiastically recommend you?
- Are you eligible for rehire?
- What were the circumstances when you left the company?
- What were your strengths/weaknesses?
- They will be asked to rank you on a 1-5 scale in numerous areas
What if my former employer requires a release form?
We will provide a release form for your former employer. We then send your release with the reference questionnaire. We cannot guarantee they will respond.
What if I am still working and wish to check out my current employer?
We typically do not check out your current employer unless you have told them you are looking for a position. An alternative is to tell them you have been asked to complete a consulting project, or looking for a part-time or charitable position in addition to your current position. You should first check company policy, as many companies ask that they have your full attention and do not allow part-time jobs, particularly something that could be considered a conflict of interest to your present position.
Which geographic areas do you service?
Our organization has clients all over the world. Note that international references outside of North America incur an additional fee of $30 per reference checked.
I am looking into filing a defamation or wrongful termination suit against my former employer. I don't know what to do. How do I go about it?
First you need some type of proof. Our documented references will provide you with exactly what your former employer will say about you to a third party. After you obtain proof, then you should find an attorney. One option is NELA – the National Employment Lawyers Association. Their web address is www.nela.org. These attorneys specialize in employment law and most are well familiar with our services. Allison & Taylor is frequently asked to give depositions and to testify in court cases regarding the references we obtain and provide to our clients.
Do attorneys use your services?
Attorneys frequently use our services on their client’s behalf to confirm references are being handled appropriately. While approximately half of all the reports we generate reflect some degree of reference negativity, the good news is that our reports are absolutely admissible for remedial or legal purposes. Our organization stands behind every report and will respond (if need be) to subpoenas, depositions and other legal inquiries.
What if my employer does not return your calls?
We close out reports (after 5 attempts and having left multiple messages) so as not to make your reference suspicious or irate. If your reference ultimately responds back to us at some later date, we will update your record with that input and advise you. We do not offer substitutions or refunds (which is indicated in our website verbiage).
Note that a prospective reference has no obligation to respond to a reference request. The exception is Human Resources which is responsible for confirming your employment dates/title on a timely basis. If ultimately they do not, a Cease & Desist letter would be warranted (and can be procured through Allison & Taylor).
This does not mean that a “closed case” offers no guidance for you. To the contrary, you should conclude that offering the name of this person as a reference to prospective employers, should be avoided if at all possible. An actual employer will not try as hard as we did to reach your reference (who, again, evidently does not wish to provide input on your behalf).
If you are unable to avoid offering them as a reference, we recommend you alert prospective employers (e.g. during the interview process) that while they are at liberty to call that “reference” person, your understanding is that they are unlikely to respond to prospective employer inquiries. (You will want to do this so that your prospective employer does not draw a negative conclusion about you when failing to reach your reference.) You may wish to offer an employer an alternate name in the event they do not reach the reference. If you do this, be highly confident that your alternate reference will truly offer supporting commentary about you.
Why would I want a background check conducted on myself?
Consider having a background (as opposed to a reference) check conducted on yourself. Over your adult life, many people – usually at the municipal government level – contribute input into your background report. Should any of that input be inaccurate (a not unusual occurrence, e.g. if someone “fat fingers” your social security or that of someone else), your potential employers may be seeing inaccurate data about you that could be negatively impacting your employment.
In order to run this report, we will need your SS#/full legal name/date of birth. Your report will be emailed to you, typically within 2-3 working days.
Forms of payment
We accept American Express, VISA, MasterCard, personal checks and money orders. If you choose to write a check or send a money order the address is:
Allison & Taylor, Inc.
Attention: New Orders
145 S. Livernois Rd.
Rochester Hills, MI 48307
Checks should be made out to Allison & Taylor, Inc.
Who should I list as a reference?
Typically potential employers will call either your former supervisor or Human Resources (or both). Negative commentary from either party will likely prove fatal to your employment prospects.
If my references are bad, what can I do?
The most common remedy is a “Cease & Desist” letter. We offer – in conjunction with our legal counsel – this service to discourage your negative reference from ever offering such unfavorable input again. Our attorneys transmit letterhead correspondence to the offending ex-employer, or other third party, demanding that the offender cease and desist from issuing adverse commentary. You will be provided a copy of the letter and proof of delivery to the email address that you specify.
Depending on the nature of the negative commentary, it may be that stronger remedial action is warranted. In such instances, we suggest taking our report to an employment attorney for proper legal advice.
What if my reference no longer works for my previous company?
It is the client’s responsibility to identify phone numbers and appropriate information for their references. We are not a detective agency and neither are the prospective employers who will be considering you. Allison & Taylor can simply call your past companies and ask for forwarding information, just as a prospective employer would, but realistically this is likely to go nowhere. You could hire a private investigator or try to do this on your own. Call the company yourself, maybe someone you know is there and they would release the information to you. Can you call former colleagues or clients? The internet is a great source of information, try your own search. The bottom line is that in order for you to compare to your competition for other positions, you need to have your references and past supervisors in order.
Isn't it illegal to ask about things other than title and dates of employment during a reference check?
No, and that is one of the interesting things about references. It is a private conversation between two people, your past employer and a prospective one. Anything can be said, regardless of what the laws are. Go to your local legislator’s office. They can find the most recent laws for you but remember, every road we drive on has a speed limit. When we are running late, if a police officer is not in sight we speed. There is not a ‘reference police officer’ watching over your past employer. Essentially, your past employer or reference can take 5 minutes on the telephone with a total stranger and either increase your chances of obtaining a new position or absolutely ruin them.