Is the Employee As Good As They Write in Their Recommendations?

It is no secret that the ideal applicant for a position is a specialist with deep knowledge in the field, high qualifications, the necessary professional skills, and convincing recommendations from previous jobs.

Так ли хорош сотрудник, как о нем пишут в рекомендациях

Oksana Korotich

03.11.2021 | 10:14



If knowledge and skills can be tested in the course of work only after the candidate is employed, then a letter of recommendation can provide information about the person even before the first meeting. Let's talk today about whether the characteristics of an employee from a previous job are really important, and how they can affect the employer's decision regarding hiring. The job search site Login Casino Work found out how much an ordinary HR manager in Ukraine trusts such letters.


The information presented in letters of recommendation is rarely objective, and almost all recruiters understand this. Nevertheless, during the study, it turned out that about 23% of all respondents check the characteristics provided by the candidate. If in the past a characteristic from a previous place of work could provide a person with employment in the vacancy, today the employer only partially takes into account the information from such a document. The value of letters of recommendation decreases over time, but this doesn’t mean that they have completely lost their relevance. For some categories of applicants, the recommendation of an employee from a previous place of employment is a prerequisite for a candidate to be considered at all.

Who needs references from previous jobs? Most often, we are talking about those who plan to work with children and applicants for leadership positions. The information contained in such a document is carefully checked. HR managers can contact the previous employer and ask for an opinion, ask to confirm or refute the information from the letter. As a rule, such a check is dispensed with if this is an employee with a working specialty or an entry-level specialist.

Two types of recommendations: which one is more trusted by employers

Most often, the characteristics of applicants are represented by two types:

  • verbal feedback;
  • letters of recommendation.

Foreign employers trust written references more. A fairly common practice in Western countries is to ask your boss, supervisor, or work colleagues to write a letter of recommendation before leaving.

When applying for a job in a domestic company, the applicant is most often asked to provide the contact details of the manager from the previous place of work and the analysis of the employee’s recommendation takes place orally. HRs from Ukraine and the CIS countries also look for information about the applicant through their network of contacts, they can check the personal pages of the applicant’s social networks. The fact is that candidates quite often write recommendations for themselves or download ready-made templates from the Internet, and managers sign such a document “for the show”, without reading its contents. In such a check, one should be as correct as possible so as not to accidentally harm the interests of a good candidate.

Whose recommendations are most valued

As a result of the research, it turned out that HR managers trust verbal testimonials from former colleagues and the applicant's management more. Feedback from partners with whom the applicant has previously worked is also highly valued. It is their character that is considered the most independent and objective.

Recruiters have noticed that recently, in letters of recommendation, it is more about how comfortable the employee was at work, how he fit into the new team, and not about real abilities and professionalism. Of course, this aspect is also important for the admission of a candidate to the team. Nevertheless, it is worth taking into account the opinion of several independent sources, and interpreting the information received, depending on the specific requirements of the vacancy. It is unlikely that such a quality of a candidate as communication skills will have much weight if he or she has to work remotely without the need for daily cooperation with colleagues.

When selecting personnel, it is worth remembering that the search for an employee should be based on an analysis of the professional qualities and knowledge of the applicant. At the same time, recommendations are only an additional source of information that gives an idea of ​​the personal qualities of a person.


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