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Does this seem too personal for a reference ?

36 replies

Monsoonx · 22/11/2019 09:00

I have been offered a new job and they are currently in the process of obtaining references.
They require one from anywhere I have worked in the last 5 years and one of my previous employers actually sent me the reference form they had received, to ask if I wanted anything specific on it.

I have never seen a reference form before but honestly was shocked. There were literally 20 questions on there for previous employers to answer about me, and then the part where they have to 'rate me'.
They have to 'rate me out of 10' for an array of things, 'how funny I am' 'how sensitive I am' 'my appearance' 'how well I handle personal circumstances(?!)' 'how cheerful I am' and various other questions.

My colleague thinks it is far too intrusive and breaking GDPR rules. What do others think about this ? I'm honestly now worried my job offer will be withdrawn if someone rates me lower on some of these things.

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Monsoonx · 22/11/2019 09:02

They also ask to rate me on loyalty, which, if I'm leaving, they are hardly going to rate me highly on :/

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Drpeppered · 22/11/2019 09:03

I really don’t see how any of the breaks GDPR rules

Monsoonx · 22/11/2019 09:04

Maybe not, i'm just honestly shocked that they pick prospective employees apart like this. If a previous boss didn't like you, it's easy for them to rate you poorly on things like this, when in fact it's just personal.

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StripeyTopRedLips · 22/11/2019 09:05

That is really quite fucked up they’re asking them to rate your appearance! If it was a question asking if you’d had any issues with adhering to the work dress code I can kinda see the relevance... but that’s really stretching it. The cheerful and funny questions are bonkers.

I don’t think this is normal and I’d be very wary about taking this job if you have other options. And you could speak to an employment lawyer to ask whether they believe they’re breaking any laws here, though quite what you’d do if they were other than not take the job I don’t know. Normal sane functional workplaces don’t do this, be very cautious.

Theflying19 · 22/11/2019 09:05

They may not complete it. My understanding is that most employers just give a standard reference stating factual things such as dates worked and your sickness record.

Autumntoowet · 22/11/2019 09:06

Most employers these days won’t give references like that and will only give facts such as illness or things like that. My two past employers would definitely not fill in those forms

Autumntoowet · 22/11/2019 09:07

I would be weary of working for them too. Appearance? Nope

Monsoonx · 22/11/2019 09:07

I know, what are they going to say, i'm too ugly for the job ? I think it's awful personally, and agree that a short series of questions asking for dates worked etc. Is sufficient.

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Monsoonx · 22/11/2019 09:08

Also I should state that this is to work in a school, not to work in the modelling industry !

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carolinelucaseshandbag · 22/11/2019 09:08

What sort I job is it? That question list is just bizarre! (But no nothing to do with GDPR)

Monsoonx · 22/11/2019 09:08

It's for a TA role !

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thecatsthecats · 22/11/2019 09:11

We've been given lots of these questionnaires from various employers and ignore everything but the simplest of questions about dates worked, job title etc.

There's only one possible situation where someone didn't get the job as a result (they were going to work in a school, and we were asked to comment on her suitability to work with children - no idea! we received another reference request soon after for her).

To be honest, I've been sorely tempted to warn off other employers on one or two occasions, but I'd never take the personal risk of doing so.

Why anyone asks these bullshit questions I have no idea.

SafetyAdvice0FeedWhenAgitated · 22/11/2019 09:11

I wouldn't look at appearance as pretty/ugly. I would just assume they meant groomed to respectable standard, clean and up to dress code standards

daisypond · 22/11/2019 09:16

I think those questions are shocking for an employer reference. At the company I work for, managers aren’t allowed to do any sort of reference at all. References are done by HR, which are based in another city, and whom we have never met.

Actionhasmagic · 22/11/2019 09:18

Wtf!!! Funny and appearance?!? I’ve filled out many references and none like this. Red flag

Monsoonx · 22/11/2019 09:20

Do you think i should steer clear of this employer as a result ? What might this translate as once (and if) I am working in the school ?

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Honeyroar · 22/11/2019 09:23

It’s quite disturbing that a school needs those things rated.

StripeyTopRedLips · 22/11/2019 09:25

Personally I’d speak to them directly.

Ask for a meeting and explain your employer shared the reference request with you and enquire whether it’s standard practice to ask such detailed and intrusive questions and see what they say.

Obviously you can’t do this if you want to guarantee the job but I would be very wary anyway and this would definitely take me from the ‘gosh I hope they want me’ camp to the ‘they have some explaining to do if they want the opportunity to hire me’.

Maybe, just maybe there’s some reasonable explanation, a rogue new employee who took it upon themselves to send this out without anyone else being aware or something, and they’ll be horrified. Unlikely but personally I’d want to make sure where they stand on this before deciding to withdraw.

Biggobyboo · 22/11/2019 09:41

Batshit crazy. All this for a TA job paying...well I’m guessing under £10 an hour?

Why are they entitled to your loyalty? Not that loyalty means anything, come the next round of government cuts you could lose your job and the school won’t care about you. Within 2 years of employment they can dismiss you for no reason whatsoever. Loyalty is a funny thing isn’t it!

The sensitivity thing - WTF?

smalalalalalala · 22/11/2019 10:51

Where I used to work, they have a standard document confirming dates the employee had worked there. The informal policy was that reference are very sensitive and they didn't say anything positive or negative.

It could break GDPR rules in the sense that it is collecting unnecessary information.

I would get advice from the citizen office or something.

IdblowJonSnow · 22/11/2019 12:28

I'd tell the new place that your old place think it's an odd form and dont want to touch it!
Seriously backwards and out of touch. Hopefully not indicative off attitudes in your new work place!

viccat · 22/11/2019 12:31

That's really weird! I've completed some of these reference forms in a previous job and all the questions were relevant to you as an employer as in timekeeping, ability to do the work, reliability... Definitely nothing to do with appearance or how funny you are!

Butchyrestingface · 22/11/2019 12:31

Are you sure you WANT to work for these people, OP? I’d be having second thoughts.

Monsoonx · 22/11/2019 12:53

Yeah, I admit it does put me off a little wanting to work with them. Also, who has time to fill out a form like that ?!

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Monsoonx · 22/11/2019 12:54

I am worried as they might be looking for '10s' in terms of sense of humour and all the rest. I think I'm quite funny but others may not agree 😂

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