Request Information About an Applicant • Letter Templates and Guide

How to write this letter:

1Explain the purpose of your letter, identifying the applicant for whom the letter is requested. Mention the position the applicant is seeking. If possible, give the dates the applicant would have been associated with the reader.
2Explain what qualifications, skills, and personal attributes the position in question requires. Ask the reader to evaluate the candidate with those concerns in mind. To receive specific answers, ask specific questions.
3Consider communicating your intention to keep this information confidential. In so doing, you might receive a more honest description of the candidate.
4Help the reader to reply by stating clearly when the recommendation is needed. Consider providing your telephone number (some people are more comfortable calling than writing). To make it convenient, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope.
5Express your gratitude for the reader's time and consideration.

Tips

This letter can save you time in evaluating applicants for a position. Be specific in your request, and respect the privacy of the person providing the information.

Example Letter #1

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In response to an advertised job opportunity, we have received many resumes for the open position of (Name of Position) at our company. Of course, some applicants stand apart from the rest. (Name of Applicant) is one such individual. The experiences and qualifications detailed on his resume suggest that he would expertly perform the requirements of the (Name of Position) position. However, in addition to considering the applicant's documented experiences and credentials, in the process of finalizing our decision, I am contacting all of the references listed on the his resume.

Since you are one of the applicant's primary professional references, I am writing today to request your personal insight into (Name of Applicant)'s abilities and qualifications. At a time convenient to you, I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about the applicant, either over the phone or in person. My personal contact information is listed above. I thank you in advance for your cooperation, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Example Letter #2

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Jane Doe has listed you on her resume as her first business reference. I am considering Ms. Doe for a position in our aluminum window plant management team.

The successful candidate for this position must have experience in multilevel management and be able to regulate workloads in circumstances of fluctuating demand. If you could offer your candid evaluation of Jane Doe's abilities in these areas, I would be most grateful.

We are considering several candidates and want to fill the position by August 15. If it would be more convenient for you to telephone me, my office number is 555-5555.

Example Letter #3

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One of your former employees, Eric Doe, has applied for a senior accountant position with our firm and has listed you as a reference. Could you please send us a letter offering your frank appraisal of Mr. Doe's ability to fill this position?

Mr. Doe meets the education and certification requirements of the position, so we need information about his work habits, his ability to function as part of a team, and his ability to function under deadline pressures. Your assessment, which will be kept strictly confidential, is important to our hiring process.

Since we need to fill this position as quickly as possible, we look forward to receiving your letter within the next two weeks. If you prefer to speak to me directly, please call me at 555-5555.

Thanks for your help in this matter.

Example Letter #4

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John Doe, a former intern with your company, has applied for a full-time position in our accounting office. In an effort to assure a fair selection process, we follow up on each reference submitted by our applicants. May we ask you to help us evaluate John's application by sending us your personal recommendation?

Our understanding is that John worked directly under your supervision during a summer internship with your firm. We would appreciate your candid and fully confidential appraisal of John's performance under your direction. Three specific considerations are essential to the position he is seeking. Could you please describe for us (1) how he related to his co-workers, (2) his ability to cope with pressure, and (3) his willingness to take on new or unfamiliar assignments on short notice?

Since our decision must be made by the end of the month, we would like to receive your response before April 25. If you are unable to send us a written recommendation in the envelope provided, we would be happy to receive a phone call from you any time during regular business hours at 555-5555. We know that your time is valuable and appreciate your assistance in this matter.

Example Letter #5

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I am writing to you about a particular applicant because I have been told you may be able to offer me information I am seeking. I recently met with this individual, and would like to make a hiring decision quickly, but further information is necessary.

I would appreciate any information you may have available. I can be reached either by phone or by e-mail. Thank you in advance for your co-operation. I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

1

Explain the purpose of your letter, identifying the applicant for whom the letter is requested. Mention the position the applicant is seeking. If possible, give the dates the applicant would have been associated with the reader.

Example Sentences

Example Phrases

2

Explain what qualifications, skills, and personal attributes the position in question requires. Ask the reader to evaluate the candidate with those concerns in mind. To receive specific answers, ask specific questions.

Example Sentences

The person who fills this position must have excellent computer skills and be able to instruct others in computer applications. Your evaluation of Mr. Doe in regard to these criteria will be most appreciated. Because of the international nature of our work, our personnel director must have fluency in Spanish. May we ask for your evaluation of this applicant's skills? The position requires four year's experience as a telephone operator with one year in a supervisory position. May we ask you to evaluate Jane Doe's skills as a supervisor in your company? The person must be a self-starter, a fast learner, and have excellent people skills. How would you rate John Doe in these categories? The candidate must have good communication and management skills. In your opinion, how would Jane function in these areas? His work would be mainly out-of-doors, requiring long periods of separation from the home office. Do you feel he would be able to adapt to these conditions? We are looking for a person with superb leadership skills and a willingness to work long hours for significant financial rewards. How do you feel about John's skills and motivation to follow through in such a demanding position? The position will require continual punctuality and attention to fine detail. We cannot afford to make a mistake here. May we ask for your candid appraisal of his past record and future potential in this regard? She would provide counseling for all new students and would oversee the teaching of three interns. Since you have observed her in these contexts, may we ask for your candid assessment of her performance? If he were to be hired, we would expect him to be able to coordinate and supervise the work of a multicultural group of 20 technicians. Spanish language ability and good interpersonal skills are essential. How would you rate him in these areas?

Example Phrases

4

Help the reader to reply by stating clearly when the recommendation is needed. Consider providing your telephone number (some people are more comfortable calling than writing). To make it convenient, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Example Sentences

Example Phrases