Reference checking


Does anyone know if there’s a way (legit or non) to find out what kind of reference an old workplace will give you?

My first job involved working at ungodly hours in the morning and I received a few warnings for being late. I recently applied for a graduate job and left it off my application as I quit around 5 years ago, but now they’re asking me to account for the time and I’m not the happiest about putting it down without having some kind of idea what they’ll say if asked for a reference. Anyone?


i’m not sure how to do this also, i’ve never had a real job so i only have references from school and uni, both of which probably have forgotton who i am


Legally, previous employers are not allowed to give bad references. If an old employer didn’t like you, and they are asked to give a reference, they can either decline completely (which indicates they may not have liked you/there were problems) or otherwise, if they give a reference, they MUST give a good one. It’s the law.

@TheRaven - if you quit five years ago, it’s likely that your managers won’t be at the firm in question any longer and when/if the company are asked to give a reference they will just tell your new prospective employer that they can’t give an accurate reference because of that. Also, your new prospective employer will not necessarily ask this firm for a reference. They might just want to know what you were doing. Firms usually ask for two references, and if you can supply two others for more recent employers, you should be fine.

@Traineewannabee - both your school and your uni will certainly give references. Educational establishments always give them, and they’re always really good. Sure, no one at the uni or the school might remember you, but they’ll still give you a generic, positive, reference. It’s just the way it works - and if you think about it, it’s in the education provider’s interests to give glowing references. It makes them look good too.

People worry far too much about references. Most employers don’t even follow them up, and if they do, it’s just a matter of course. References are usually only checked once a decision has been made to offer someone a job. The only case references are really important is applications to MI5, SIS, public services, the police, etc.

Good luck guys!!!


I have worked the same company, in a couple of different departments, for 10 years since leaving university. When filling in an application recently for an external position, I was asked to put down referees for the last 5 years. I put my supervisor for my current department only, as I have been in that department for 6 years. Do you think a prospective employer would be happy with just one reference, or is it likely they will want another reference of some sort?


when it comes to referencing, what sort of checks to they do then? i assume they check with the uni, last employer and check with the hmrc about the taxes. and then prob contact the personal ref as well.

is that correct?

some say they dont check with the hmrc.