I need to dispel the biggest myth of taking a reference!
I wish I had a pound coin for every time I have heard someone say that it is illegal to provide a bad reference!
Let’s just think about that for a minute – “What is the point in taking a reference at all, if you can only write nice ones?”
From a recruitment perspective this would be nirvana – every candidate under offer gets a good write up and was a model pupil! However, we know differently don’t we?
We know that not every candidate we deal with is perfect and it may hurt after all the work has gone in to get a candidate to offer stage only for a bad reference to scupper the entire process. But what is the alternative?
We could reference check EVERY candidate as soon as they register their details – but this would be such a time consuming task that I am unsure if a Recruitment business would be viable at all. Therefore, we have to put our faith in people and assume what we are told is the truth until a reference at the end of the process is taken!
So this is where I come to it – “It is NOT illegal to give a bad reference!”
It is OK to tell the truth – you just must be able to substantiate any negative comments and prove them if it came to it.
The statement below says it far better than I can:
Your obligation is to provide a true, accurate and fair reference. The reference must not give a misleading impression. However, as long as the reference is accurate and does not tend to mislead, there is no obligation on you to set out great detail or to be comprehensive. (BBC, 2003)
Essentially, this means you must be able to substantiate the comments you have made in the reference with hard evidence and you must not give misleading information, whether by the selective provision of information or by the inclusion of information in a manner that would lead a reasonable recipient to draw a false or mistaken inference. For example, you should not allude to an employee's misconduct if you have never carried out an investigation into that misconduct and you do not therefore have reasonable grounds for believing in that misconduct.
February 9, 2012 | Share: