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HR tip: Satisfactory 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 usually offer jobs subject to our receiving satisfactory references. We have two references on one person that are quite worrying and make us wonder if we would be making a mistake employing him. What is a satisfactory reference and how do you decide?"

HR tip:
You alone, the potential employer, are entitled to determine whether or not a reference is satisfactory, though you must not exercise that right perversely.

Consider contacting the referees again if you feel that you need more facts, though recognise that they are unlikely to be prepared to give you much time. If appropriate, have a further discussion with the candidate. If you do identify problems, consider whether they are short term, whether they can be eliminated by training, and indeed whether they are so important. After all, none of us is perfect!

Be wary of basing your judgement on health issues as you may fall foul of disability discrimination legislation. But if after all this you conclude that the candidate is unsuitable, you are entitled to withdraw the offer of employment.

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