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Reference request letter template

£ 15

If you are recruiting a new employee and wish to request a reference from a previous employer, send this this model letter template to request confirmation of their employment.

The letter asks the referee to confirm the applicant's dates of employment and suitability for the role.

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How long to understand and prepare this letter?
5 mins
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reference request letter template

What is a Reference request letter?

A reference request letter is a formal request from an employer or hiring manager to a candidate's previous employer or academic institution to provide a reference about the candidate. The purpose of the reference request letter is to obtain information about the candidate's skills, experience, work history, academic achievements, and character, which can be used to evaluate their suitability for a new job.

Typically, a reference request letter includes the candidate's name, job title, and the name of the company or institution where they worked or studied. The letter may also include a brief summary of the candidate's skills and experience, and a request for the reference provider to provide specific information about the candidate's performance and suitability for the role.

Reference request letters are an important part of the recruitment process, as they provide valuable insights into a candidate's background and abilities, and can help employers make informed decisions about who to hire. It is important for employers to design reference request letters that comply with UK employment laws and regulations, and to treat all candidates fairly and with respect throughout the recruitment process.

Issued by who, to whom
Who should issue this letter, and to whom?
The Employer (you) to the Company (you)
Applicable legal jurisdictions
In which jurisdictions can this letter be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom), Worldwide
United Kingdom
  • Data protection: The employer should ensure that they obtain the candidate's consent to collect and use their personal data for the purpose of obtaining references, and that they comply with data protection laws when storing and processing the data.

  • Fairness: The employer should ensure that they request references fairly and consistently, and that they do not discriminate against any candidate on the basis of protected characteristics such as age, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.

  • Accuracy: The employer should ensure that they request references that are accurate and truthful, and that they do not misrepresent the candidate's qualifications or experience.

  • Timeliness: The employer should ensure that they request references in a timely manner, and that they do not delay the candidate's job application unnecessarily.

  • Confidentiality: The employer should ensure that they respect the confidentiality of the candidate's personal data and references, and that they do not disclose this information to unauthorised third parties.

  • Non-discrimination: The employer should ensure that they do not discriminate against the candidate on the basis of any information contained in the reference, such as a disability, pregnancy or age.

  • Consistency: The employer should ensure that they request the same information from all candidates, and that they use a standardised reference request form to ensure consistency and fairness.

Overall, the employer should ensure that they treat all candidates fairly and with respect throughout the recruitment process.

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Other territories

Refer to your local employment legislation / labor laws to support the execution of the template. Review the wording for local accuracy.

Reference request [Delete this line]

[Company name]

[Sender address]



[Recipient name]

[Recipient address]


Dear [Recipient first name],


Reference request: [insert job title], [insert name of applicant]

The person named above has applied for a job with this company and has given your name as someone who we can contact for a reference.

I would be most grateful if you would confirm the employment details and give comment on the persons suitability based on the requirements of the job.

Please find enclosed a Job Description and Person Specification for the post that the person has applied for. I have also included a form that you may find useful in giving the reference. [A stamped addressed envelope has also been included for your use.]

[The intended date of interview is [insert date]. Please return the reference to me by this date. A stamped addressed envelope has also been included for your use.]

[This reference has been requested on a confidential basis. If the applicant asks to see a copy of the reference I will seek your permission before considering its release. You should be aware, however, there are certain circumstances where I may decide to release a copy of the reference in any case. I will make you aware if these circumstances arise.]

[You should be aware that our normal approach is to allow the applicant to see a copy of a reference if requested.]

In providing a reference, please be aware of the following:

  1. You have a responsibility to ensure that the reference is accurate, dependable and does not contain any untrue statement or omission;
  2. Factual content in a reference that conflicts with information asserted by an applicant may be discussed with him or her.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

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Yours [faithfully | sincerely],



[Sender name]

[Sender job title]

[Sender telephone]
[Sender email]

What communication / process sequence is this part of?

Previous step
Declaration of consent to contact reference form template

If you need to request a reference for a new employee, use this model form to gain declaration of their consent for you to contact their former employer.

This step
Reference request letter template
Next step
Reference request form template

This form can be sent standalone to a referee nominated by the new employee, or alongside a cover letter.

Why buy our Reference request letter template?

  • It's easily editable and implementable, saving you time and money
  • It's designed by CIPD accedited Chartered HR practitioners with operational experience in this area
  • You will maintain compliance with ACAS guidelines, legislation, and industry best practices
What other advantages does buying from offer?
  • Email notifications for any updates made to this template or its accompanying materials
  • 12 months of unrestricted access without any additional costs (any update in that period is free to you)
  • A 25% discount on all library, toolkit, and template purchases/renewals

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