Case Study: Friendly Reference Check
You are the divisional director of human resources for Jetspeed Aircraft Corporation. Your company has a "verification only" reference policy, i.e., not giving out any information about former employees other than verifying their position and dates of employment.
Recently, Jetspeed downsized and eliminated many of its middle managers. One individual whose job was eliminated was Barbara Smith, assistant director of procurement and purchasing. Barbara was a satisfactory employee. She was also a casual friend of yours.
Five months after Barbara lost her job, she telephoned you to let you know that she is one of two final applicants for a great job at Whatajet Corporation.
A few days later, you receive a telephone call from the vice oresident of human resources of Whatajet, whom you met several months ago at a professional meeting. Since then, you and she actually had lunch once or twice.
She tells you that she needs to discuss Barbara's past performance reviews in order to help Whatajet make a final decision. She assures you that anything you say will be "totally off the record."
What would you do?
Current, June 2012.