Dear Managers, Owners, and Presidents, Please don’t retaliate against team members that leave your organization and are seeking work elsewhere. The team member expects that you will give the standard answer of yes or no, they worked for you and yes or no, they are eligible for rehire.
I have been told that sometimes former colleagues will contact each other for references and that they think it is “off the record”. Well, guess what? If it affects the ability of the person seeking a job to lose it, or have an interview canceled, it becomes “on the record”.
You also don’t know if the former team member you had, took some classes to improve their shortcomings, or have changed. You should assume good intentions all the time because if you don’t, and you give a bad review or reference, you could affect the person’s livelihood. Their ability to get a job and make some money.
No matter what, do not disparage the former team member. Let it be the next company’s issue if they are not up to par. You interfering is what causes lawsuits.
So, tell your colleagues, yes that person worked for us. They were great at x, y, z…and leave it at that. You should always assume that the person has improved and has good intentions.