It’s an interesting situation.
Fred is applying for a job with you. You want to know how Fred performed at his previous job(s) so you contact his previous employer(s).
What do you find out?
Well, some employers are more than willing to tell you about Fred, how productive he was, how he got along with other employees, etc.
Other employers will tell you next to nothing, fearing some kind of legal action if they say the wrong thing.
But we’re not necessarily calling anyone right now. We simply want to know what Fred believes his previous employer would say.
When you ask Fred the question, he may think that you fully intend to call his previous boss. So Fred may give you a good idea of just what his previous boss may say.
Then again, Fred’s idea of how he performed at his previous job may differ greatly from how his employer viewed his performance.
Either way, it can be a good question to ask.
When Fred answers, dig to find out more and to find out why his boss felt a particular way about your applicant.
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