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Is it illegal to have someone call past employers to see what my review would be?
I've been putting some of my old jobs down as employment history, but I've been having alot of trouble getting a job recently and I think it might have something to do with one of those places. I haven't worked in a long time, and I had some little problems with a couple of the places, nothing big, but I want to find out what they have to say. Can I or the person I'm having call get into any trouble for posing as a potential employer to get a review?

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donna g
It is illegal for employers to give out negative information. It is done more often than you know. Employers will also check your credit as well. If you are experiencing credit problems that can prevent you from being employed as well depending on your field.

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You can call them and see what they are saying. They are only supposed to say if you are eligible for re-hire.

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There are limits on what they are allowed to say legally. Contact your state labor board for specifics. If you suspect they are breaking the law, file a complaint.

By the way, I would suggest speaking with the managers or person you list as a contact to make sure they still remember you or to find out who is the current manager. Let them know that you're seeking a job and that they may be getting phone calls for references.

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First, you should not get into any trouble. Call using a script such as:

"Hi my name is (fake name) calling with (insert bogus company name) and I would like to verify that (your name) worked for your company"

At that point, you'll sound professional. They may ask for a release form/authorization form that states you are giving the fake company authorization to obtain information from them.

Secondly, most companies will only verify start date, end date, and job title. It is not common for companies to give out additional information such as reason for leaving, rehire eligibility and salary information. So, unless you embezzled a ton of money and they're angry with you, the company's probably not going to give out too many details.

Good luck :)

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only if they are saying things that did not have to do with your job or work performance

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John R
First, what proof would you have? If you are recording the conversation and you don't tell them, then you are breaking the law. If you feel you are being screwed then report it and let the authorities work it out.

Now, you say you haven't worked in a long time. That is a warning sign for any employer. You might be considered lazy.

Then you said you have had problems at some jobs, a trait a past employer may not speak about, and you do have some protections there.

There are rules employers have to follow and questions have to be asked the right way. If I was doing an interview I would expect the individual to be honest and paint the best light on their past. When I call a past employer I ask them would they rehire this person? the answer to that tells volumes.

You're best bet is to continue your job search and make sure you explain your past employment issues honestly but be positive, why did you leave. You can be creative just don't lie.

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No, you or your friend won't get in trouble for calling claiming to be a potential employer.

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If they are slandering you, yes, you could really get them into some hot water. Have a friend, posing as a prospective employer call, see what/which one is being said.

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Nope. Just make sure you get someone to do it who knows how to do it. Otherwise it's a waste of time.

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illegal? NO
waste of time? probably

references probably have nothing to do with your current situation. the economy is slow and employers can be extremely selective due to the increased number of applicants.
focus on your interview skills and broaden your horizons most states unemployment/employment development offices offer assistance with applications, resumes, skills training and career counseling take advantage of these services.

for the record there are not any laws in any state that prevent employers from releasing information about your work performance. as long as they are TRUTHFUL they can say anything. a couple of states do require a release form before info is disseminated and in all those states a signed application listing the previous employer as a reference is considered a release.

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No. Trouble would be if potential employer of yours decided to contact a past employer without permission.

The fact that you "haven't worked in a long time" is probably what's going against you.

Regardless, you should talk to all potential employers who do not hire you and question them as to WHY they did not hire you. Unfortunately, most people will not be honest and they'll make something up but it's worth a shot.

If YOU call, pretending to be a legitimate company, you better at least make up a company name and such. If you pretend to be someone else that would probably constitute fraud of some sort.

You should also talk to some Human Resources people and learn how to speak on the phone when calling for job references. Chances are that whoever you are calling is going to realize that you're not really who you say you are in less than a minute. HR professionals have a very distinct, proper, and professional tone about them and often ask very similar questions.

By the way, past employers can comment on your work habits. This may or may not be negative. There is no law against them telling someone that you always showed up late for work.

Also, you will need to sign paperwork before a credit check is performed. I find that employers usually run credit checks after deciding that they want to hire; in fact, often the job verifications are performed after this point too.

YOU should know, AFTER AN INTERVIEW, if you are going to receive a job offer or not. If you are not up-to-speed with how to read interviewers then you are likely not up-to-speed with how to interview either. I suggest you focus your attention here.

After a good interview you should be able to walk away saying to yourself "they're going to call me tomorrow." Heck, during a really good interview the interviewer his or herself may tell you that.

It's a lot like dating- if you go/went out on dates and were unable to determine if the person you were with was "into you," then you might want to work on your social/emotional intelligence. Just google job interviews, body language, and KEEP ON READING for a few weeks.

Good luck.

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