Employees & Reference Checks

Reference Checks & Employees

By Luke Dancy

“Character is like a tree and reputation is like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” –Abraham Lincoln

You’ve been on the job market for a while looking for the perfect opportunity. Maybe you’re an ERP Implementation Consultant who specializes in Acumatica. You’re getting closer to receiving an offer . . . and then they ask for your references. These aren’t necessarily a bad thing, and we don’t want you to be caught off guard, so it’s our goal to set you up for success if (or when) the topic of reference checks comes up with a potential employer.

What A Former Employer Can Say

We’ll start things off with a very important thing to keep in mind. When it comes to reference checks, this can also include reaching out to your previous jobs. Why would they want to do this? The employer may want to confirm that you have the employment history and qualifications you listed on your resume or job application.

The biggest question now becomes, what can your previous employers say about you? DyNexus has its home offices in the state of Washington so we’ll start there. 

According to Seattle Litigation in the state of Washington a company can share:

  • An employee’s ability to perform his or her job
  • The diligence, skill, or reliability with which an employee performs his or her job; or
  • Any illegal or wrongful act an employee committed in relation to his or her job duties.

Kevin Baldwin, a Litigation Attorney at Baldwin & Vernon shared an article on LinkedIn that mentions “The information the former employer gives must be factual and based on documented evidence of the employee’s job performance. This means that opinions about the employee or their suitability for a new job can expose the company to risk.” 

Why is this important? A company, either by law or their company policy, has to be mindful of what they say about you or they could be held liable for defamation. This doesn’t mean that you get a ‘free pass’ though if you did anything to precipitate your termination.  The most important thing is to be honest.  It’s better to find things out from you than to make it seem like you’re hiding something.  Whether you’re an ERP Sales Executive in the office or a Sage Intacct Implementation Consultant working remotely, your daily performance can potentially show up again later on down the road. Being aware of this is certainly an important thing to remember when you are climbing the career ladder of success.

Depending on where you live, the laws are always going to be different regarding what a company can say about you and your time working for them.  However, if you’d like to know more about what the laws are in your state, we highly suggest checking out the U.S. Department of Labor website. As the old saying goes.. “Knowledge is power”.  In general, most employers are federally protected to say anything about your employment, provided it is factual.

Including Your Own References

If you’re actively looking for a new job, we would also suggest to our ERP job-seeker friends to be proactive by lining up a handful of your own references as part of this process. During our recruiting efforts at DyNexus we’ve found that some employers will ask for references along with a job application and may want to speak to your references before extending a job offer. For this very reason, we recommend being ready rather than slowing down the hiring process by having to locate and get approval from your references at the eleventh hour of your job search.

An article written at The Balance highlights a couple of simple things to keep in mind when selecting your references. These include:

  • Asking your references if they can be your reference. This one seems obvious but the last thing you want is for someone to be caught off guard.
  • Tell them about the job. This way your reference is prepared to discuss why you would be a good prospect for this job specifically.
  • Choosing the right people. You want to select people that you’ve worked with in a positive way. 

Sometimes things end a little ‘messy’ when you move on from a job. This doesn’t mean that the door is closed and a previous manager or co-worker is out of the question. Jobs aren’t perfect, and neither are people, so the worst thing someone can do is say ‘no’ to your request. Obviously use your best judgment when it comes to who you trust. Your references could be a deciding factor in the hiring process.

Final Thoughts – Reference Checks

Reference checks can be a great way to provide valuable feedback and insight about your work history, skills, and your character. They may not be required, but some employers value the information they gather as it may be a deciding factor whether you are a good fit for the job. 

Keep in mind that not every employer will want, or need, references from you. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared though. Being prepared is certainly a vital step when searching for a new job. 

Here at DyNexus we aren’t just proud to share tips with you, we’re also proud to share potential job openings with you. Have a look at our website for our full-time job listings for Acumatica Report Designers, Sage Intacct Implementation Consultants, Dynamics Business Central Consultants, ERP Developers, and more along with our opportunities for contractors. Good luck out there on your job search!

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