Serving as a Reference: Permissible Discussion Topics

  • Discuss credentials.
  • Discuss the core group of job-related questions that are asked by the requester of information.
  • Discuss the position and expectations for the position.
  • Ask yourself what information the requester is seeking with each question, and why does s/he seek to obtain that information? This analysis will assist you in the deciding how to best to answer the questions that are asked of you.
  • Make and keep notes of the questions asked and information provided, along with the name of the person contacted and date of the contact.
  • If a requester begins to ask you questions “off the record,” “just between you and me,” or "outside of the questions on the list" then immediately end this line of questioning. It is inappropriate and outside the scope of your role as a reference. It is never appropriate to discuss the personal life of the person for whom you are serving as a reference.

Footer Anchor