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Pre-Employment Checks – References

Pre-Employment Checks – References

As we all know, recruitment is an inexact science and pre-employment checks such as securing valid and recent references gives us important information that helps us to decide if a candidate is suitable for a particular role.

Over the years I have taken references on behalf of literally thousands of employers and prospective employees in a wide range of non equestrian blue chip organisations from junior to senior sales, marketing and management posts and in the equestrian environment as part of delivering bespoke recruitment services. This has lead me to have filled many temporary, permanent and freelance/contractor positions and via the same established processes with careful due diligence, I have also diverted my clients away from certain disaster on more than one occasion!

Interestingly these days many grooms, having known me through their careers, give me as a reference to their ‘journey.’  Similarly, and not infrequently, employers will ask me for information about a particular prospective employee and of course, where I can fairly and legally comment, I do.

Pre-Employment Checks - References - Know what you need to ask

Over the years, more especially in the equestrian recruitment environment, I have been struck by how many employers who recruit for themselves or via other routes don’t seem to bother taking up references, opting instead to completely ignore these critical pre-employment checks just hoping for the best; many seem to live to regret this omission sooner or later.

Reference checking done properly is time-consuming but with experience, it becomes a straightforward process, but it pays to consider there might be some tricky scenarios, which hopefully you won’t encounter!

  • On more than one occasion, I have taken references on behalf of clients where, on further questioning, the person giving the reference turned out to be talking about another person entirely! Had I taken the reference at face value and not ascertained ‘mistaken identity’ via advanced questioning techniques, on most occasions my client would have most certainly have missed out on a good candidate and the candidates themselves would have been left non-plussed.
  • I have even had referees trying to put me off prospective employees so they could keep them or re-recruit them.
  • I once had a candidate who set up an elaborate and bizarre web of contacts where she was pretending to be her own referees – all 3 of them with different names/addresses/telephone numbers and accents. (Yes, REALLY!) I learned soon afterwards that this one actually ended up in prison.

No wonder some employers don’t bother BUT really, you can’t afford not to. If done in the right way, most times it is pretty straightforward, and a reliable reference can be invaluable!

 

Taking references the right way

Taking references requires knowledge of the process from a legal standpoint, plus keen email/telephony skills, questioning and listening ability, analytical skills all of which can be acquired with some technical guidance and a little experience. If you feel you might be lacking in this department currently, I am always happy to discuss and have trained people to interview both inside and outside the horse world, so I have some useful pointers! Do contact me at any time here.

 

Now let’s consider some facts:

  • Pre-Employment Checks - References - Have to be factualIn the equestrian industry, there is usually no legal obligation for employers to provide a reference for a current or past employee, (certain industries such as those regulated by the Financial Services Authority are required to give a reference by law).
  • A referee can choose if they want to provide a reference or not and just how much information they want to provide.
  • Employers who give references must ensure they are fair and accurate. When opinions are provided, they should be based on, and backed up by facts.
  • Employers who ask for references must handle them fairly and consistently.
  • Previous employers may choose to provide a few basic facts about the candidate and nothing more.
  • References must not include misleading or inaccurate information. They should avoid giving subjective opinions or comments that are not supported by facts.
  • Potential employers should remember a referee may not provide a reference or might inaccurately suggest the applicant is unsuitable. In these circumstances, it may help to discuss any concerns with the candidate directly if you feel there is nothing that would majorly worry you, but you need expansion on the matter. An employer might consider offering a job role on a probationary period if there is doubt. The nature of this offer should be made clear in writing, for the avoidance of doubt, when the agreed time period comes to an end.
  • Employers who are unable to obtain a reference from the candidate’s nominated referee should inform the candidate and consider whether other suitable references can be obtained. Again, hiring the candidate on a probationary period to assess their suitability could be an option. The nature of this offer should be made clear in writing for the avoidance of doubt when the agreed time period comes to an end.

Other reference sources:

  • A candidate’s previous managers and colleagues may also be happy to provide more detailed references. Previous managers and colleagues might also be asked to provide character details, especially with a prospective employee with limited work experience. Personal references can sometimes be provided from individuals who know the candidate such as a teacher, livery yard owner, a previous employers vet etc.
  • Pre-Employment Checks - References - social mediaSome prospective employers look at a candidate’s social media profiles to see how they present themselves to the outside world and how they might fit the job. However, employers should take care, as there can be serious pitfalls. This could be viewed as unfair and potentially discriminatory. Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), using information from a candidate’s social media profile without their permission in the recruitment process could breach GDPR rules. The GDPR principle is that an employer being able to see a candidate’s social media profile does not mean it has the candidate’s consent to take it into account. Risks of discrimination The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. These grounds are called “protected characteristics”. Employers could face an employment tribunal hearing if they refuse to interview or offer a job to someone based on a judgement they made through looking at the candidate’s social media profile, if this is linked to a protected characteristic.

 

When are employment references needed?

  • References can be requested at any stage of the recruitment process.
  • Pre-Employment Checks - References - uncovering truthsEmployers must have the candidate’s permission to seek a reference from the candidate’s current employer. I would like to add a word of advice here. In the past, I had numerous experiences of forwarding a candidate to a prospective employer only for the employer to think it’s OK to have a ‘dig around’ up front to find out more about the candidate. Although well intentioned, PLEASE be very careful…this could land you and the candidate in very hot water, and can have life-altering legal and personal ramifications, so it is to be avoided at all costs.  I always warn my clients against it at every stage. Be patient, if you follow a due process, 99.9% of times if anything needs to come out in the wash, it will.

 

What can an employment reference include?

References can include:

  • Basic facts about the candidate, like employment start and end dates, job roles and job descriptions.
  • Answers to questions that the potential employer has specifically asked about the candidate that are not usually given as basic facts, like absence levels and confirming the reason for leaving.
  • Details about the candidate’s skills and abilities.
  • Details about the candidate’s character, strengths and weaknesses relating to the suitability for the role they have applied for.
  • References mustn’t include irrelevant personal information.

 

Pre-Employment Checks - References - Speak to previous employers

References and job offers

There are two types of job offer that can be made to successful candidates:

  • conditional job offer. This can be withdrawn if the applicant doesn’t meet the employer’s condition, for example, satisfactory references.
  • An unconditional job offer. Once an unconditional offer is made this cannot be withdrawn and if accepted a contract is formed.

 

In the event of a problem with a reference

  • In the event that a candidate is unhappy with a reference provided about them, they can request, usually in writing, a copy of any reference given to a new employer. The request would be made to the author of the reference, not the prospective employer.

For further information go to GDPR – The General Data Protection Regulation

  • If a candidate believes a reference was inappropriate they may be able to claim damages in a court, but the candidate must be able to show that the information was misleading or inaccurate and that they have suffered a loss, such as withdrawal of a job offer.

For further information go to GOV.UK – Job offers: your rights

 

Get FREE equine recruitment advice

Both employers and jobseekers alike, if you would like free, friendly, no obligation recruitment advice from Caroline please do get in touch!

The content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that the information they are working to is correct and appropriate for their specific circumstances.

© Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and The Grooms List, 2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd and www.thegroomslist.co.uk with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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PLEASE NOTE, FOR THIS VACANCY,  WE WILL ONLY ACCEPT APPLICATIONS FROM JOB SEEKERS WITH: A CURRENT CV ATTACHED TO A CURRENT JOB SEEKER PROFILE AN HGV LICENSE (able to drive a 26t lorry)  *Salary IRO £400/£450+ top, top wage for previous competition grooming experience depending on experience *Own horse and pets welcomed *Partner welcomed This vacancy is a lovely and rare opportunity for an experienced Groom who combines the experience of working on a family yard, with performance horse know how ideally gained within a SJ/jumping environment to work as a competition Groom or would suit someone already experienced in Competition grooming. This family of young riders are very active most weekends and therefore you will need to be prepared to cover this, although some weekends off are available by prior arrangement and exception. You will need to be flexible to work 5.5 sometimes 6 days a week Must be prepared to cover weekends and stay away You will need to be flexible enough to handle an environment where things change regularly as it is a fast-paced, rapidly expanding scenario. You would need to take this in your stride and it would be ideal if you saw this as invigorating and exciting rather than a nuisance! The family have 18 quality jumping horses  (currently managed by 2 FT/ 1pt & the Yard manager/ trainer) and  on a second yard, an assortment of broodmares and young stock, (hopefully destined for a career in SJ/jumping.)  The family consists of non-riding dad who is looking forward to spending more time with his family as part of their journey, mum who is an experienced horsewoman and 3 daughters (aged 12-15 years old) who are very keen indeed. The girls all do BSJ and want to eventually do European tours & be on YR teams. They are the focus of the role and all activities that go on with both yards, will underpin these equestrian dreams. Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com      
   * Salary starting at £30,000K negotiable upwards plus accommodation depending on experience *Own horse and pets welcomed *Partner welcomed No 1 Experienced Show Jumping Competition Groom required for a vacancy with a very ambitious & competitive family. Good references ESSENTIAL & confidentiality assured. You should be currently working as a Competition Groom on a Show Jumping yard or have done so within the last 2 years. You should be willing to travel home and abroad and experienced driving a 26t+ lorries transporting horses to training and shows. 18 quality jumping horses on the main yard and homebred/ other young stock destined for a career in SJ/jumping all kept in top accommodation to the highest standards. Start date negotiable.   Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email Caroline @carolinecarterrecruitment.com      
Salary 8.5 Euros/negotiable dependent on experience with no food/accommodation or utilities to pay. You will need some experience grooming competition horses One of the Most Professional SJ yards in the world – Learn your trade with the best and secure your Grooming future with a hands on job. All you need is a passport and an adventurous spirit! Enthusiasm and dedication to work along side the best horses, riders and horse people.This opportunity would be GREAT FUN and a second to none experience which would guarantee your career anywhere you chose in the future both home and abroad. A rare insight into world class horses, world class facilities and a truly remarkable experience for any groom seriously interested in getting to the top of their game. Whilst there are considerable opportunities for advancement and promotion possibilities if you wish to remain in Germany. 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a commercial environment where the opportunity to learn is awesome but not for anyone who gets homesick or doesn’t feel comfortable in the commercial end of the horse world. The horses you will encounter are world class and it will certainly add to the breadth and depth of anyone’s experience. Fast paced and exciting in so many ways. A real ‘one off experience’ to add to the CV!    Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
Job Description *Pets welcome *Own horse welcome *Training on own horse/opportunities to go to shows on own horse *Relaxed but professional yard I’m looking for someone who is genuinely keen to learn how to look after horses in their  home Environment and how to prepare them for competition.  This person must be responsible enough to take sole charge on occasion whilst working closely with other staff members most of the time   We have a smallish yard of 17 stables. We offer full and part livery with or without exercise/schooling. Most of my customers are professional people with an interest in competing. My yard and services are based around helping them to achieve their goals. As well as the yard I also run a small B&B which means I need a person who is genuinely happy to work alone. I also compete with my home bred horses who are just coming on. Mostly in dressage at the moment and hopefully show jumping later on. I jump with an older horse that I have, at the moment. Alongside this I also do Retirement livery and youngsters in fields. This is normally small herds of horses living in fields 24/7 but obviously they still need caring for. They are checked twice a day all year round. They are fed in the winter and also sometimes have rug changes. The person that looks after them must be attentive to these needs and be capable of noticing and reporting back when one is injured, behaving oddly or appears unsettled.   So ideally I’m looking for someone who loves horses and is going to be happy to spend their time at home caring for them with their different needs, and supporting training liveries by giving their horses top level care in their absence. All my Liveries are lovely and enjoy their horses and the social yard environment. In my mind, I’m looking for someone who is cheerful, kind, hard-working, keen to learn about the care of the competition horse from foals through to their senior years. It would also help if candidates were confident, tidy, reliable and self-motivated. There are horses to have lessons on but own horse would probably be beneficial. Minimum Requirements This is a small yard so the person that takes this job must be happy to share holiday time yard cover. ie: Christmas, Easter, bank holidays. Live out Good clean mucking out abilities and tidy yard ethics.   Accommodation My full time groom lives in a small flat within the yard. The kitchen also has a small lounge area which is used as the coffee room by the liveries and other staff members. There is a separate laundry room with a designated washer dryer for staff use.   Benefits FOR THE RIGHT PERSON: Opportunity to bring their horse. Grass kept. Training available and opportunities to come competing with your own horse. Well behaved cat and hen friendly dog could be welcome. Preferably smaller size. Regular days/time off Paid on the books Regular
* Negotiable depending on experience but very competitive*Shared accommodation on site(would consider live-out) Experienced stud hand required to work with the rest of the team. This would be during yearling prep initially and then general stud duties after the sales season and is a year-round position, not seasonal. A team approach to typical stud work with associated stud hours ie: sometimes quiet and other times round the clock eg: foaling season. Tractor/lorry driving is welcomed but not essential Mares and foals/young stock/ racehorses all kept and some sales prep required etc. TB experience essential and ideally gained on a thoroughbred stud. Please call Caroline and the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com Please note call Caroline & the Team will be ‘screening’ suitable applicants between 9-2pm . Pls could call us during those times on 0203 006 573. Please make sure your job seeker profile is up to date and that you have a current CV attached. We look forward to speaking with you then about this super opportunity 🙂 C x
Job Description Jumping / Dealing stable We are looking for a jumping rider for our sales stable in the Lewitz. Your mainwork will be riding and a little stable work (feeding) together with your team. Showing young quality horses to our customers, under the saddle or in free jumping, is also one of your tasks.   If necessary you get help from our trainer and you gain a lot of experience in jumping. We offer regulated working hourses ( 8.00-17.00) and  the possibility to get breakfast and lunch at our farm. Our modern equipped accomodations we offer at a reduced rental price.   If you`re a cheerful and nice person, reliable and tidy, able to do a good flat work and you have experience in jumping, than we look forward to you! Minimum Requirements experience in  jumping young horses   Accommodation details You will be offered accommodation (single or double rooms) each equipped with a private shower, and in each house you find a washing machine and a dryer.There is free internet in the rooms. Rooms cost around 190 € per month, including electricity and water, breakfast and lunch around 156 € per month. Of cource, we will help you with all the administrative issues which come up at the beginning. Provide you with translating assistance during the doctor`s visits if necessary and help you with anything else that you need.   Benefits    
*Salary IRO 1800 euros *All accommodation and food provided *Seasonal position with far reaching CV improving benefits! This world class service station and stud is looking for experienced stud hands for the forthcoming season to be based in Muhlen, Germany. Some prior experience important as some serious unmatched warmblood breeding stock is involved in this operation names such as  Balou du Rouet, whose offspring’s prize money makes millions plus Sandro Hit plus stallions Fürstenball, Vivaldi, Bordeaux, Foundation, Vitalis, Sir Donnerhall I and Diarado were amongst the leading group of all German stallions according to the German FN’s 2016 predicted breeding value statistics. Last year stallions from Mühlen once again dominated the Oldenburg Elite Mare show and of the twelve mares presented, seven of them were daughters of this yard’s stallions, including the winner Candy OLD by Sir Donnerhall I. The list goes on and on and on! 🙂 🙂 Caroline’s comments 🙂 This is a commercial environment where the opportunity to learn is awesome but not for anyone who gets homesick or doesn’t feel comfortable in the commercial end of the horse world. The horses you will encounter are world class and it will certainly add to the breadth and depth of anyone’s experience. Fast paced and exciting in so many ways. A real ‘one off experience’ to add to the CV!    Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com  
**14/7/20 Position under offer. Applications accepted for reserve list  CC *** *IRO £22,500K + accommodation *2 bed house with own garden *Dog, pets and horse welcomed *Partner welcomed     Senior position available at picturesque Hunt Kennels. Year-round position to manage the yard, Groom/Ride and to head a team of 2 other FT workers (in season). Previous Stud Groom did 4 seasons so this is a long term opportunity in a lovely environment with nice people to work with.   Opportunity for sole charge and to make the job what you want it to be (within certain parameters of course as the job is to manage a yard of hunt horses and all that goes with that but it doesn’t have to be a dull job 😉.)   Must have all usual skills, abilities and experience including good levels of turnout skills, ability to work well with others and a license to drive a 7.5t lorry.   Please call Caroline & the Team on 0203 006 5730 or email info@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
Job Description In 1992, Paul Schockemöhle, a successful businessman and former European Show Jumping Champion, purchased a large site in the expanses of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. On no less than 3,000 hectares of land in the heart of the protected landscape of the Lewitz, a centre for modern horse breeding which accommodates 4,000 horses and is unparalleled in Europe has emerged over the years. Around 250 employees look after the well-being of the horses, which are kept in spacious stables and in speciesappropriate herds in the expanses of the Lewitz. The riding stables entrusted with training the horses are three geographically separated farmsteads under a common organisational umbrella. At each of the individual sites, site managers look after the training of the horses with their teams. A jumping horse trained on the Lewitz stud runs through all three stations chronologically. The “Stern-Buchholz” site is outside the gates of the state capital Schwerin. The team headed by Birgit Brandsätter and Paulo Castro here is responsible for breaking in all the horses, as well as for the further training of the dressage horses and the preparation of the colts for licensing.   Accommodation details The stud’s own apartments, modern and practically furnished, give you affordable living space near your place of work and make it easier for you to form and strengthen social relationships even after you finish work. On request, you will be served breakfast and lunch in the stud’s own canteens.   Benefits Of course, we will help you with all the administrative issues which come up at the beginning, provide you with translating assistance during doctor’s visits if necessary and help you with anything else that you need. We will do everything to make your stay as pleasant as possible for you.  
**23/6/20 Under offer subject to reference checks*** *Salaries negotiable depending on experience IRO £23-£29K pa per person + accommodation. * 1 or 2 bedroom cottage with parking available *Pets welcomed *Own horse considered (but difficult as all boxes currently occupied) *5 day week. This family require a flexible, country-loving, reliable, self-sufficient and proactive couple with good communication skills ready to welcome all guests in a polite and friendly manner. Previous estate management experience essential for a combination of duties. Experienced and knowledgeable horse care also required as a family are not very experienced. There are two children are 10 and 8 years old and they purely ride for leisure, no competition whatsoever at this point but would like some escorted/lead hacks & informal tuition. Odd weekend off by prior arrangement in advance but as family visit most weekends,  they will not be regular occurrences so need to be prepared for weekdays off (2 consecutive days possible) : Outline Job descriptions: Housekeeping/House duties include but are not limited to Cleaning, washing and ironing, food shopping, household provisioning, household maintenance, overseeing contractors. Whenever somebody is in the house; be it, family or guests, the housekeeper will prepare lunch and dinner, (fresh healthy home cooking, lots of fish, vegetables, a variety of salads mainly based on European style dishes). The housekeeper is not required to serve the family however they will be required to clear away after meals and weather permitting some outdoor dining will need to be facilitated. Although the family like to entertain family and friends, most entertaining is informal. For any formal entertaining outside caterers will be available so communication, liaising and management of this will be a feature of the role. Grooming/outdoor duties include but are not limited to: Day to day management and maintenance of the property, yard and grounds which will include the gardens, greenhouse, vegetable garden, lawns and flower beds, (alongside contracted gardeners). Looking after chickens and rabbits & possibly other small animals/pets. Other duties will include general property maintenance, hence good DIY skills would be helpful. Management and maintenance of the estate car to fuel, clean and driving to the local station and airport for family and guests. The highest level of care to be provided for the family’s 4 horses 19-year-old 16HH owners horse who has recently developed allergies 17-year old small horses who need careful footcare and 2 x 10-year-old horses just short of 16HH and one has just recently had a bout of laminitis. Confident management and lightweight rider needed. All normal grooming duties will be required to a good standard ie: Feeding and watering, all aspects of yard work duties including; hay, muck out, turn out, groom, clip and bandage, recognising and acting on all animal ailments, cleaning the chicken coops/rabbit hutches etc. Keeping the yard, tack room and equipment immaculate at all times. Exercising the horses daily in menage or beautiful woodland which surrounds the property. Experience of trailer towing ideal. Light gardening, (FT gardener contracted) grounds, yard and property
*Accommodation available   *Competitive salary depending on experience  *Dog welcome *Great opportunity to get a foot in the door of the TB Stud World! This is a fantastic opportunity for a Groom who wishes to gain experience and enter the professional world of the thoroughbred Stud as a Stud Hand on this busy, medium sized, family stud. This operation is ambitious with a close knit professional and friendly team who we know well and who would all recommend. The role includes all normal yard duties, handling of mares, foals, young stock and horses out of training. Previous thoroughbred stud and sales preparation experience a bonus but not essential. Driving licence essential. 🙂 Caroline’s comments:) We have placed several staff with these employers over the years and had great feedback. A professional, well run establishment with a family feel. A great place to develop your career and be part of a small welcoming Team. Please call Caroline on 0203 006 5730 or email caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com

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Information

Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd
The Stables
Fildyke Road
Meppershall
Bedfordshire
SG17 5LU

caroline@carolinecarterrecruitment.com
0203 006 5730 / 07747 686 118

Registered company number 10657796good site
Caroline Carter Recruitment Ltd is registered with the UK Information Commissioner as a data controller with registered number ZA250621

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