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Topic: Recruitment

references consent form
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References consent form

References consent form

Our references consent form enables the prospective employee to provide the names and contact details of their referees and then asks them to sign a consent to secure the release of references from their referees.

For future reference

Always take up references, regardless of how ideal for the job a prospective employee appears to be. It's not unknown for candidates to lie on applications forms or at interview or to have overstated their abilities. Seek at least two written references (three is even better), one of which should be from a previous employer, preferably their current or most recent employer. If it's the individual's first job, ask for a reference from their school teacher or college/university tutor. Be aware of the relative value of personal references. They may be of little use if they are given by a close family friend or relative of the individual. Make sure that any personal reference comes from an appropriate upstanding member of the community, such as their family solicitor, accountant, etc. Also, only take up references if the individual's application for employment is successful and you're in the process of offering, or have already conditionally offered, them the job.

Data protection

Obtaining a reference on a prospective employee will generally involve processing the individual's personal data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. Therefore, you must have a lawful basis for processing. Rely on the processing of the reference being necessary for the purposes of your legitimate interests, i.e. conducting due diligence on prospective staff and assessing their suitability for employment, as your lawful basis for processing. In addition, as you’re securing the release of information from a third party, i.e. the referee, you should obtain a signed consent form from the applicant (unless consent to the reference’s release has been indicated in some other way) – and this is the main purpose of our References Consent Form. It also enables the individual to provide the names and contact details of two referees for the purpose of assessing their suitability for employment. You can amend our form if you want to seek more references.

Reference requests

The Employment Practices Code states that referees who are data controllers must not provide confidential references about a worker unless they're sure this is the worker's wish. Therefore, some referees, particularly previous employers, may ask to see the consent form before agreeing to provide you with a reference. Pre-empt this by enclosing a copy of the signed consent form with your reference request (but first redact the details of the other referees).

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