Giving a reference for a student employee is very important considering
that you may be the student’s only employer. Unfortunately, some employers do
not realize the significance that a good or a bad reference can make. Here are a
few tips to help you when you are called upon to give a written or phone
- If possible, prepare ahead of the phone reference by pulling the student’s
file. This will help you cite specific examples.
- Provide examples of the student’s working style.
- Many reference callers will ask you to comment on the student’s personality
style or if you had any problems with the student as a worker. Be honest and
focus on specific areas and how they applied to the job. If possible add how the
student overcame (or is overcoming) these problems.
- Above all else, the information that is provided must be factual, related to
eh job and accurate. If you provide “unfavorable” information you must be able
to document it. Base all references on the person’s job performance, not on
personal beliefs and/or practices not related to the job.
Here are some possible reference call questions:
- How long have you known the student and in what capacity?
- Describe the student’s working style.
- How does the student communicate?
- What are the student’s greatest strengths?
- What are the student’s greatest challenges (weaknesses)?
- Are there any specific examples where the student excelled in his/her work?
- Would you re-hire the student?