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HR tip: Refusal to supply references


These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


"We have found a superb candidate for a vacancy we have. We always ask for two references, including one from the previous employer, but this lady refuses to supply them. When asked why, she said: "It is confidential". What can we do?"

HR tip:

Really you have got to answer this question yourself. She may have been the victim of sexual harassment and would feel embarrassed if her former employer wrote about it. Or she may be a serial killer and somehow missed this off her CV. You would be unwise to take her on without references if she is to handle money or be in contact with vulnerable people. But if you do engage her I suggest you put her on a long trial period and watch her performance and behaviour carefully. Perhaps from behind a screen.

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