For Immediate Release

A Professor Who Has Reviewed Thousands of Job References Says Former Bosses Do Not Honor Corporate Policy

Corporate Policies Regarding References Rarely Honored

DETROIT (June 27, 2019) – While the need for a good job reference should be a “given”, many job seekers are misinformed about how job reference vetting really works, say the reference experts This knowledge gap often means they take little time or effort to assure that their references are portraying them in the best possible light, and the oversight can ruin their employment prospects.

Here are the top 5 reference misconceptions that can cost you your dream job:

Misconception #1:

Companies cannot offer anything negative about a former employee during a documented reference check.

The Truth: While many companies may have policies dictating that only title, dates of employment and eligibility for rehire can be discussed, those rules are frequently violated.

Misconception #2:

Employment references should be listed on my resume.

The Truth: Your references should be treated carefully and with respect; you don’t need companies that may or may not have a real interest in hiring you pestering your employment references. Keep your references separate from your resume, and only provide them when requested. Better still, have a list of your references readily available (in the same format/font as your resume) to be given to a prospective employer.  When offered (for example) at the conclusion of an interview – in a highly professional format – it can create a very proactive (and favorable) ending impression.

Misconception #3:

Once a company hires me, my job references really do not matter anymore.

The Truth: Not all companies finish background and/or reference checks before you are hired. Many employment agreements and contracts include a stipulation that says the employer can hire you with a 90-day probation period. During this time, they will not only evaluate your job performance but, in some instances, will conduct background and reference checks. If the results are unsatisfactory, they have the legal right to fire you.

Think about the boss with whom you had philosophical differences…or the supervisor who sexually harassed you. Can that person be trusted to maintain a professional standard?  In many cases the answer is no; approximately half of clients receive a bad reference, despite the fact that many companies have strict policies in place prohibiting negative references.

Misconception #4:

Former employers direct all reference checks to their Human Resources departments, and those people won’t say anything negative about me.

The Truth:  Most Human Resources professionals will follow proper protocol during reference checks. However, many HR representatives routinely indicate that an employee was involuntarily separated from the company (e.g. fired or terminated) or that the employee is not eligible for rehire.

In addition to WHAT is said, reference checkers also evaluate HOW something is said. In other words, they listen to tone of voice and note the HR staffer’s willingness to respond to their questions.  Both are critical factors in reference checks.

Misconception #5:

I sued my former company and job reference laws prohibit them from commenting on my employment.

The Truth: Job reference laws can be bypassed and may not entirely protect you. Under job reference laws your former employer may not be able to say anything definitive, but do not put it past them to carefully take a shot at you while still in accordance with the law.

As an example, a former boss or an HR staffer may say “Hold on a minute while I get the legal file to see what I am allowed to say about Mr. Smith.” Although not allowed to “divulge anything” as stated by job reference laws, they just indicated there were legal issues surrounding your employment. This implication can torpedo your job prospects.

Do you know what your references are saying about you?

If you want to take a proactive stance on your references, your first step is to ensure that they are portraying you in the best possible light by utilizing a professional reference-checking firm to document both the verbal input and the tone of voice being offered by your reference.  If there is indeed a problem, the reference-checking firm can identify an employment attorney well versed in assessing possible legal options.

Foremost among these – particularly when the negative input does not constitute a violation of state or Federal law – is a “Cease & Desist” letter.  Such letters are typically sent by attorneys to the CEO or senior management of the firm where the negative reference is employed, identifying the negative reference by name and the fact that the reference has been documented as offering negative input about the job seeker.  The letter also suggests that if the reference-giver continues to offer such negative input, legal action would be contemplated against the firm.  When issued by attorneys of, the success rate of these letters is greater than 99%.

For further information and to enlist a professional reference check or other needed service, please visit

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About Allison

Allison & Taylor Inc. and its principals have been in the business of checking references for individuals and corporate accounts since 1984. We have successfully built our brand and corporate recognition and have been recommended by industry specialists such as The New York Times award-winning author Martin Yate (“Knock ‘Em Dead Résumés”). Numerous articles have been published about our business in newspapers and magazines including The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, New Woman, Worth, National Business Employment Weekly, The Detroit News, and The St. Petersburg Times.

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About AllisonTaylor

AllisonTaylor and its principals have been in the business of checking references for corporations and individuals since 1984. We are highly acclaimed with employers, employees and the media alike. Compliments and mentions from influential publications and writers at The Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, Workplace Bullying Institute, ABC Newswire, Forbes, USA Today, Hcareers, Fortune and MyFox News provide insight into our services. AllisonTaylor is headquartered in Rochester, Mich. For further details on services and procedures please visit

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