You ask applicants to provide references because you hope to get honest accounts of what their work is really like. You'd be silly not to ask for references; you need all the information that's available. But you shouldn't expect a referee to make your decision for you - the best you can hope for is that they confirm what the panel already thinks of the candidate. Remember a candidate is highly unlikely to nominate someone who is going to say bad things about them.
If you're asking for information over the phone, you're obliged to say something that sounds rather like a police caution. Our References Policy states that a person seeking a telephone reference should:
- ensure they are speaking to the appropriate person in the organisation;
- make it clear to the referee that they are making notes, that a copy of the notes may be provided to the person if they request it, and that the referee's name will also be disclosed;
- be sensitive that legal considerations may limit the amount of data/information a referee is prepared to give; and
- make clear notes of their conversation and place these on file at the earliest opportunity with the other material relating to the appointment.
Click the button below for our reference checking guideline and template to assist with this part of the selection process.