how to provide a reference

If an employee of yours has recently moved on and started a new job, there's a good chance that their new company will contact you for a reference.

This is a standard part of most job applications and gives the new employer an insight into the personality, attitude and work ethic of their new employee. Here's what you should do if you're asked to provide a reference for a former employee.

Include details about their role at your company

To start the reference, you will usually need to disclose the person's previous job title and a brief description of what their job entailed. You might be asked to confirm the length of time that the person was employed at your company and list any achievements/skills that they learned on the job. 

Remember, new employers have to trust that the details in their new employee's CV are accurate. Asking these types of questions helps to verify that their new employee's claims about their previous job are truthful.

How will I be contacted for a reference?

Companies can reach out to you in a number of ways. The most common way is through a phone call with their HR representative, however, you might also receive a letter or questionnaire that the new company wants you to fill in and return.

Some employees might ask for a pre-written reference to take away with them. This will be a recommendation that they provide to potential new employers in the future, meaning you won't need to be contacted time and time again. Providing a standardised recommendation letter is a good option if your employee will be applying for lots of different jobs after they leave your company.

Do you have to write a reference?

Technically no, if you don't want to write a reference for a particular employee, you're not legally obligated too. According to the worker's right outlined on, references:

  • must be fair and accurate - and can include details about workers’ performance and if they were sacked.
  • can be brief - such as job title, salary and when the worker was employed.

How to write the reference

When writing the reference, you should highlight specific strengths and give examples where possible. This could involve talking about successful projects or tasks that the employee contributed to.

You should avoid adding examples that highlight the employee's weaknesses. If you're not confident that you can give the employee a good reference, it might be in their interest that you don't respond at all. A non-descript or unpleasant reference might do more harm than good!

Common questions on reference questionnaires

As we mentioned earlier, some employees will send a questionnaire for you to fill in, here are a few examples of questions that come up:

  • Why did the candidate leave your company?
  • What were their biggest strengths?
  • Would you employ them again?
  • What areas could he/she improve on?
  • How dependable is the candidate?
  • Were they good at working with others?

So there you have it, our tips for providing a reference. We have lots of other resources for employers that you can take a look at by clicking the links below!

how to leave your job

If a good opportunity for career progression just came up or you're simply sick of your current workplace, then you might have thought about leaving your job in search of greener pastures. Deciding to resign is a life-changing decision that will alter how the next few years of your life will look.

There are lots of reasons for leaving a job and some things can be resolved so that you don't need to walk away completely. In our blog - Should I Change Jobs? - we explored a lot of the most common reasons in a lot of detail. So, rather than going over the if's and but's on whether you should resign, we're going for focus on how you resign in a professional way.


Leave your old job on good terms

Very little good comes from quitting your job in a fit of rage. Not only is it unprofessional, but it can also burn bridges that might be useful to you later down the line. You might, for example, need a reference for a new job or (by some stroke of luck) end up bumping into your old boss in a professional context later down the line. Either way, your boss has put time, money and resources into your career development, and whether you're the best of friends or not, you owe it to him/her to leave respectfully.


Have a plan for what happens next

Leaving your job without thinking ahead can leave you at a loose end. Some people leave their job with another one lined up already, in this scenario, you should have a seamless transition between jobs and not have to worry about filling your time in between.

Other people might be leaving work to study or to go abroad, if these are options your considering, we'd highly recommend getting the plans and funding in place before you hand in your notice. You don't want to leave your job and find out your plans for the next year or two won't come to fruition. 

If you're really daring (or really fed up) you might want to leave your job without contemplating your next move. Taking a leap of faith can work out in your favour if you're lucky, but we'd always recommend a more cautious and methodical approach if you don't want to find yourself in a sticky situation!


Talking to your boss/manager

Once you've decided to leave your job, it's time to prepare yourself for a chat with your boss. Resignation meetings are daunting and you'll probably be nervous. We'd recommend preparing what you'd like to say and trying to stick to it, this will help you avoid unwanted questions and will guarantee that you say everything you feel necessary. 

Be prepared, if your boss isn't expecting you to leave they might be a little shocked, they might even take the new badly and jump on the defensive. Try to diffuse the situation by being professional and staying calm. That being said, most bosses understand that people leave jobs and you can bet you're not the first person who's handed in their resignation.


Handing in an official letter of resignation

When you leave a job, it's customary to hand in a written letter of resignation that your boss can keep on file. Your letter of resignation doesn't need to be long, it just needs to include your name, a statement about your decision to leave, when your notice is effective from and also a signature.

If you'd like to, you can include a short positive message, thanking your boss for their support during the course of your employment. Of course, if you're leaving because you're unhappy, you might want to omit this. One thing's for sure, you shouldn't use your resignation letter to air your grievances about the place of work, your colleagues or the way the business is run!


Working your notice period

Although you might feel ready to grab your stuff and head home immediately after handing in your resignation, most workplaces will require you to work a notice period. This could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Yes, it might be a little awkward at work now that the cat's out of the bag, but hopefully, you'll be able to tie off all the loose ends and look forward to starting your next adventure. 

While you're working your notice period, your boss is likely to start advertising for your replacement. Don't be surprised if the attention is no longer on you and your career prospects during this period, your boss is more than likely pre-occupied thinking about their next move for the business.


Things you should do on your last day at work

Congratulations, you've successfully made it to your last day at your old job. You're probably feeling a mixture of emotions. The excitement that you're about to embark on something new, and the sadness that you're leaving your colleagues and work practices behind. This is a pivotal moment in your life, you're finishing one chapter and moving on to the next. So, what should you do on your very last day?

  • Make sure you have contact details for colleagues you want to stay in touch with.
  • Ensure that all the paperwork has been sorted out with HR.
  • Ask for a letter of recommendation from your manager that you can take to interviews in the future.
  • Clean and tidy your workspace, including wiping content and personal information from your work devices eg. computer.
  • Send an email to your colleagues to let them know you're leaving. You can pass along your contact information if necessary, this might help them resolve open-ended issues after you've gone.
  • As you reach the end of the day, take the time to say goodbye to people personally. 

So there you have it, our tips for leaving your job in a professional and respectful manner! If you're looking for a new job opportunity, you're in the right place! Here at HRS, we have a team of professional recruiters who are focused on finding scientists the life-changing jobs of their dreams!

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A year ago, the majority of UK workers and business owners had probably never heard of the word furlough before, but the coronavirus pandemic has well and truly made it staple within our vocabulary in 2020. 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak back in March and aimed to cover up to 80% of workers wages while they were off work, in hope of preventing businesses from having to lay off their staff. This measure sought to help alleviate the financial burden felt by businesses as a result of COVID-19 and has since been extending till the end of March 2021. With the furlough scheme, employers have the opportunity to temporarily keep their staff out of work with the intention of bringing them back at a later date.

For many, however, the return to work isn't a guarantee, and with so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the threat of losing their job is a genuine one that they have no control over. As a result, many of these workers have looked for other jobs that guarantee some sort of short-term stability but are they allowed? And if they are, how do they go about doing it? 

If you've been placed on furlough by your current employer and are wondering if you should find a new job, here is everything that you need to know. 



To say that COVID-19 has changed the way we live would be an understatement. Everything that we once deemed as 'normal', has now been completely flipped on its head and changed in ways that some of us could never imagine.

The pandemic has caused unprecedented upheaval across nearly every industry in the world, with only a few laying exceptions, and as a result, has changed the way that most of these industries operate. From logistical issues such as procurement and distribution to more everyday operations such as opening hours and store layouts, every business has in one way or another felt an immediate impact as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

One area in particular that has brought new challenges to many businesses across the world is that of recruitment. With so many people being made redundant and losing their jobs, many businesses that have managed to remain open have experienced an influx of applications as the job hunt between the unemployed intensifies. However, as a result of the ongoing pandemic, typical recruitment processes that have been successful for so many businesses over the years are now having to be adapted in order to meet government guidelines and rules.

Here, we look at some of the ways in which businesses should be operating in order to make their recruitment processes as effective as possible amidst all of the uncertainty that is going on around the world.


job prospects for university students

COVID-19 is having a profound impact on university students in all year groups, but students who are graduating during the pandemic are especially anxious about what the future holds. 

Alongside the pressure of studying for final year assignments, students are wondering how the COVID-19 outbreak will impact their job prospects. Career fairs and other events that would usually give students the opportunity to network with potential employers have been cancelled and a lot of students are unsure where to turn. 

Don't worry, if you've found yourself in this situation, you're not alone. There are thousands of people who will be graduating in 2021 who feel the same way as you.

If you're wondering how you can make yourself more employable or how to look for graduate opportunities to apply for, we've got you covered. 


Making yourself more employable during lockdown

To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, certain places throughout the UK have been placed under strict lockdown restrictions. While these restrictions are in place to keep people safe, they can be quite inconvenient if you're a final year student looking to enhance their CV with some relevant work experience. 

It's likely that competition for graduate jobs will be fierce, especially with fewer companies being able to offer them, so it's important you do whatever you can to make your application stand out from the rest. Here are a few things you can do to make yourself more employable during lockdown.

1. Take extra online courses

There are so many resources online that you can take advantage of if you're stuck inside for a few weeks. You could take a course that complements your degree, learn a new language or even learn a new skill without having to set foot outside your house.

All of these things will look great on your CV and will show that you've been proactive during lockdown.

2. Volunteer and help the local community

If you're not currently self-isolating, there are COVID-19 volunteer roles that you could apply for to fill your spare time. These kinds of activities can help to fill gaps on your CV and they'll make you feel good too! Click here to find volunteer opportunities near you.

3. Perfect your CV

In between your university assignments, we'd recommend spending some time perfecting your CV. We have a lot of great CV writing advice that you can look at for inspiration. 

Coming out of lockdown with a CV that looks great, reads well and says a lot about your aspirations will help you secure those more competitive roles. 

4. Improve your social media presence

This one might sound trivial, but lots of employers seek out potential employees using platforms like LinkedIn. If you haven't already, take some time to improve your profile, update your information and make your career aspirations known. You never know, your dream graduate job might come to you!


Advice for finding work during the pandemic

Graduates can have a hard time finding work at the best of times, never mind during a global pandemic. But don't worry, there are lots of things you can do to find your dream job!

First of all, we'd recommend staying in close contact with your university and the career advisors there. Their main concern is making sure that students like you have the support you need to find a job after uni. 

The job hunt shouldn't stop there though. Taking a proactive approach and looking for jobs early can help you secure something ahead of time so you won't have the stress of wondering "what am I going to do after uni?" looming over you throughout your final year.

Recruitment companies work tirelessly to pair the right people with the right jobs. Here at HRS, we work with STEM companies across the country and help them find candidates like you who are eager to learn and contribute to life-changing science and technology industries. 

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If you have any questions about our job opportunities, or if you'd like to work with one of our HRS recruiters to find a life-changing job after university - get in touch