Request Information About an Applicant - Letters

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.

Letter-Writing 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.

Step-by-Step Guide

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.

Sentences
  • John Doe has applied for a position in sales at our Springfield outlet and has named you as a reference.
  • We notice from John Doe's application that he was employed by your company from 2016 to 2018. It would be a great help if you could provide our personnel manager with a letter of reference regarding his performance during his employment there. We are considering him for a position in our sales department.
  • We are seriously considering employing John Doe as the coordinator of our in-service training. May we ask you to supply us with a letter of evaluation to help us in this decision?
  • Jane Doe is one of our final candidates for a position in our new day-care center. From her resume I see that she has taught at your school for the past three years. May we ask you for a letter summarizing your experience with her?
  • One of your former employees, John Doe, is applying for a supervisory position in the manufacturing division of our company. I understand that he worked in a similar position with your company from 2016 to 2018.
Phrases
  • a straightforward appraisal of his ability
  • a reference for
  • a letter of recommendation for
  • any comment you would like to make
  • any details that might be helpful
  • any information which might help us in our decision
  • application for a position
  • we are seriously considering
  • we are considering hiring
  • as a former employer
  • would be working in a similar position
  • if you would be willing to hire him/her again
  • briefly describe your relationship
  • could you tell us about her/his
  • enclosed is a reference form
  • evaluate the candidate
  • exact dates of his/her employment
  • give us a brief evaluation
  • has given your name as a reference
  • has applied for admission to
  • has applied for membership in
  • has applied for a position in
  • we have received an application for
  • help us in this decision
  • his/her credentials are impressive
  • if you could provide
  • include confirmation of employment dates
  • is one of our final candidates
  • job description and performance evaluation
  • please include the following information
  • please complete and return the enclosed
  • provide us with some information about
  • reasons for termination
  • regarding his/her value as an employee
  • regarding his/her service in your company
  • was employed by your company from...to...
  • we wish to verify the employment history of
  • would appreciate receiving
  • it would be a great help if
  • your filling out the attached recommendation form

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.

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?
Phrases
  • be able to instruct others
  • attention to detail
  • candid assessment of how he/she performed
  • coordinate and supervise the
  • excellent people skills
  • function well in these areas
  • have good interpersonal skills
  • have worked in a supervisory position
  • must be a self-starter
  • must be able to
  • must be fluent in
  • must have proven his/her ability to
  • must have excellent
  • needs good communication skills
  • needs to be a team player
  • potential for leadership
  • requires four years' experience in
  • the position requires
  • the candidate must have
  • to be self-motivated
  • to have good analytical skills
  • we are looking for a person who
  • we expect the person we hire to
  • willingness to work with
  • work with minimal supervision
  • how you would rate her in these categories
  • would you please comment on
  • your evaluation with respect to these criteria

3 Consider communicating your intention to keep this information confidential. In so doing, you might receive a more honest description of the candidate.

Sentences
  • Your comments will be held in the strictest confidence.
  • To make a wise decision, we need a candid evaluation. We will naturally hold this information in strict confidence.
  • We assure you that your comments will be confidential.
  • Because of the sensitive nature of these comments, they will remain confidential.
  • Our policy is to keep such information confidential.
  • Please advise us if you would prefer that we keep your reference confidential.
Phrases
  • access to this information is
  • appreciate that this is sensitive information
  • appreciate your frankness
  • I can assure you that
  • comments will be held in the strictest confidence
  • decision is of considerable importance
  • has agreed to waive
  • may feel free to
  • may pose an ethical dilemma
  • may prefer not to write
  • need your evaluation
  • please advise me whether
  • strictly limited access
  • will remain confidential
  • we will hold the information in confidence
  • we will naturally hold this in strict confidence
  • within legal parameters
  • we would like this kept confidential
  • your opinions will be kept confidential
  • your evaluation will be kept confidential
  • your reply will be kept confidential

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.

Sentences
  • We must fill this position by March 2, so the sooner you can respond the better. Enclosed is a self-addressed stamped envelope for your reply.
  • The closing date for this position is November 29. If you would rather call me directly, my daytime telephone number is 555-5555.
  • The application deadline is Wednesday, February 1 of next year. If I can be of further assistance, please call me at 555-5555.
  • The deadline for filling this position is sooner than anticipated but, in order to have an application considered, we must have the file completed by July 15. If this presents a problem, please call me at 555-5555.
  • The hiring committee will meet on July 15, so we would like to have his file completed by that date. I have enclosed a self-addressed envelope for your reply.
Phrases
  • apologize for the short notice
  • at your earliest convenience
  • is needed before
  • call me directly
  • closing date for the position is
  • hiring committee will meet on
  • hope to have this resolved by
  • if this should present a problem
  • if you would rather call me directly
  • if you would rather respond by phone
  • if I can be of any assistance
  • in fairness to the candidates
  • must make a decision by
  • must fill this position by
  • need to complete our file by
  • need your reply by
  • please do not hesitate to contact me
  • please call me collect at
  • please feel free to call
  • reach a decision as soon as possible
  • the matter is rather urgent
  • would appreciate your earliest response
  • you can call me collect at
  • you are welcome to call me collect at
  • feel free to call me collect at

5 Express your gratitude for the reader's time and consideration.

Sentences
  • Knowing that your time is valuable, please accept my sincere thanks.
  • My sincere thanks for your generous help.
  • Thank you very much for this consideration.
  • I will be most grateful for your help in this regard.
  • I thank you sincerely for your time and effort.
  • I know your time is valuable, so you have my deepest appreciation.
Phrases
  • please accept our sincere thanks for
  • appreciate your help
  • are very grateful for
  • greatly appreciate your assistance
  • know your time is valuable
  • look forward to hearing from you
  • appreciate your trouble
  • please accept my sincere thanks for
  • providing this letter of recommendation
  • providing this help
  • taking time out of your schedule to
  • thank you for
  • thank you very much for
  • will prove very valuable to us
  • your assistance will prove very helpful
  • your help will be sincerely appreciated
  • your assistance in verifying the information
  • your kind cooperation in this regard
  • your time and effort
  • your generous help
  • your efforts on our behalf

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