Writing employee referral letters is more complicated than is commonly believed. That’s because there have been many cases wherein an employee has filed a lawsuit against the person who wrote his referral letter, citing the reasons of libel. On the other hand, consider this other end of the spectrum: if the employee gets a job because of the stellar recommendations that his previous employer has written him, and if he proves to be less than competent at his tasks, then his new employer (or his customers) may choose to file a lawsuit against the person who wrote that misleading referral letter. That’s why it’s highly important that if you have been requested to write a referral letter, make sure that you would indeed testify to the truth, and that you would be able to support your recommendations with that employee’s past performance. Because of this, make sure to look into referral insurance. It’s important to remember that many companies highly rely on employment referral forms when considering their potential employees. Balance here is key.
That being said, what are the keys to writing a good employee referral letter?
First of all, know the different information that you should include in the letter. This information would be your relationship with the employee; how long you’ve known this employee; a general overview of his tasks at the company; some description of his performance; and your contact information for verification purposes.
While writing the referral letter, make sure that you mention the employee’s positive qualities, making sure that these qualities would be found useful and relevant by the company he is applying for. That’s why you may consider finding the time to research the company (for example, is it a Telecom company? Is it Sprint? Verizon? etc,) he would want to apply for, along with the position and the tasks that come with it.
Generally, the qualities you mention may be about his leadership abilities, his work ethic and professionalism, his initiative and his resourcefulness. Apart from his qualities, also specify the employee’s specific skills. That would include being technologically adept; his skill at organizing data and presenting it in a very clear and comprehensive manner; his project management, etc. Remember, the qualities and skills that you list must be supported by quantifiable data. State some specific instances wherein the employee was able to demonstrate the qualities and skills that you mentioned, and specify the training he has undertaken and his job descriptions, which have developed these skills. The key here is how to provide evidence that could concretely back your statements. This is also a safety measure for you: if you provide actual supporting evidence, then the new employer could not file a lawsuit against you for making misleading claims: after all, all you did was to mention past, verifiable records.
Related to this topic are the many referral programs and campaigns that companies offer as part of their expansion scheme. These campaigns generally work as such: they encourage their employees to refer their acquaintances to work for the company. If this person gets accepted as an employee, then the person who referred him may get incentives.
If you are looking for referral sample letters, look up such websites as letterrep.com.