They’re commonly called reference checks and involve calling previous employers and asking them about an applicant’s employment history. But in the typical reference call, you aren’t really looking for a reference (or endorsement) for an applicant.

In the typical reference contact with a previous employer or previous supervisor, you are looking for:

  • Factual information about the applicant.
  • Verification of information given to you by an applicant.
  • A judgment about an applicant’s suitability for the position being filled from a person who knows the applicant’s work history.

So a good reference check seeks more than an endorsement or opinion about an applicant. It’s seeking work-related information and work-related judgment. And to get this type of input from an applicant’s former employer or supervisor takes preparation before making the phone call or contact.

True, not all previous employers and supervisors will share significant information about a former employee. Some will refuse entirely and some will only verify dates of employment. But some will tell you what you need to know.

Here are two sample “Employment History Check” forms. Use these to help create your own form to use to obtain the information you need from former employers and supervisors. Consider having a professional background investigation service do these checks for you, or consider hiring new employees through a professional employer (temporary help or employee leasing) agency and have the agency do the checks for you.


As we’ve grown, so have our administrative and payroll needs. That’s why we’ve partnered with HR&P. HR&P supports us every day with human resources, payroll, benefits and compliance so we can focus on being the best BB’s Cafe we can be!

Brooks Bassler, Owner, BB's Cafe

Since 2010, my company has grown to over five hundred employees. With our tremendous growth we needed a human resources and payroll company that could grow with us. That company is HR&P. And as laws have changed, like the Affordable Care Act, HR&P has kept us in compliance. I focus on growing Twin Eagle. I trust HR&P with the rest.

Chuck Watson, Chairman, Twin Eagle

We are the industry leader in Oil Spill Cleanup Products and have dealt with numerous Oil Spill disasters. Knowing up close what a disaster looks like we choose to avoid them in our offices. HR&P guides us through the land mines of HR, Payroll and Benefit compliance so my team can focus solely on helping our clients with their problems, and we avoid our own.

Chad Clay, Owner, CEP Sorbents

One of the best things we did for our business was to partner with HR&P. They’re the experts in human resources, payroll and benefits administration.
HR&P’s web based solutions make it easy for us to manage our employee’s needs. They also help us stay compliant with the Affordable Care Act and with “the alphabet soup” of constantly changing Governmental regulations.

Ken Dennard, CEO, Dennard—Lascar Associates

I run a restaurant, from early in the morning to late at night, our team works hard to deliver great food in a fun atmosphere.
But there’s a lot more to running a business like human resources, payroll, benefits and compliance. So we turn to HR&P.
Outsourcing to HR&P keeps us focused on our business.

Marcus Payavla, Co-Owner, Orleans Seafood Kitchen



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