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Topic: Recruitment

character reference questionnaire
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Character reference questionnaire

Character reference questionnaire

It’s advisable to take up at least two written references in relation to a prospective employee and three is even better.  Use our character reference request to seek a non-work-related personal reference.

Of previous good character?

Always ensure you seek at least two written references, one of which should be from a previous employer, preferably their current or most recent. It’s usual for the other reference to be a character reference, ideally given by someone who has known the job applicant on a personal basis for a few years and who is an upstanding member of the local community. However, be aware of the relative value of personal references. They may be of little use if they are given by a close family friend of the employee. Ensure that the prospective employee does not provide details of either a relative or one of their contemporaries as a referee and emphasise to them that it should ideally come from someone such as their family solicitor, accountant, etc. Otherwise, you might later find that the employee actually wrote their own reference, or at least vetted it before it was sent back to you! Our Character Reference Questionnaire will help you seek a personal reference from an appropriate person. Our questionnaire is aimed at asking the referee to give their opinion as to the prospective employee's personality, character and suitability for the post including, in particular, their reliability, honesty and integrity.

Data protection

Employees and job applicants have the right of access to information held about them under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 by making a data subject access request. However, there is an exemption that allows you to refuse to disclose a confidential employment reference to an employee or job applicant if they request to see it. You do not therefore have to provide access to the reference, but you can still choose to do so. If you do, be careful not to disclose information about a third party, such as the referee, unless either they’ve consented to the disclosure or it’s reasonable to disclose the reference without their consent. You may decide to disclose an edited version of the reference, e.g. with the referee's identity deleted or containing the factual information (such as how long the referee has known the job applicant and in what capacity) but with their personal opinions withheld.

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