HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions

PDPA and Company Reference Check - Update 1 (Reply)


Hi Fellow HR Practitioners,

During a recent interview, I informed the candidate that we would be making a reference check on him, to which he replied that he had no objections. Such statement was also indicated in the application form with his acknowledgement.

I then made contact with the HR of a company (MNC in Singapore) before emailing to the HR a request for some standard information of the ex-employee who was a potential candidate at my company. I was stunned to be turned down flat by what it seems to be a standardized message that the HR does not be give out any information due to PDPA. It also had a suggestion attached that the potential candidate should provide to me his certificate of employment.

It is quite obvious that my reference check is beyond date joined and date left. Does anyone here have this similar experience and can anyone suggest what would have been a more appropriate approach, or what is to come after PDPA ?




Perhaps a handwritten authorised letter, as certain company only replied "Yes" on question you asked but not feedback on how this staff was in the past or personal info.




In principal countries which are strongly adhering on Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) it could be so difficult to conduct reference check for a potential candidate to hire and therefore the go ahead given verbally or that might be indicated through the candidate CV might to be not carrying enough weight to justify to the personal that he can provide some information about the candidate.

I advise you to prepare a consent letter and email to the candidate requesting the candidate to declare that he is approving his previous employer to provide information related to his reference check, if possible indicate the areas of which the information would like to cover.

The candidate must sign the consent Letter confirming his /her approval.

Then prepare your reference letter to introduce the matter to the employee previous employer.

Hope this covers your question.



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PDPA for HR Workshop

- 7 March 2018 (5th Run)

As HR practitioners often handle and come across employees and job candidates’ personal data, it is critical they understand how the PDPA can affect their work and policies. Thus, HR practitioners needs to review and re-evaluate existing HR polices and processes in order to align with the Act.

For details, please click on:


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