Structure of the Letter:

  1. Salutation
  2. Explanation of relationship
  3. Time period of knowing the person
  4. Selection of positive characteristics
  5. Clear recommendation
  6. Closing
  7. Contact details

What to consider while writing the letter:

  1. Know why you’ve been asked to write the letter:
  2. Understand which skills to highlight
  3. Use specific and positive examples
  4. Keep it short and relevant

Courtesy of The Canadian Centre for Childhood Protection

Interviews provide a very brief snapshot of a person’s character and work history. Applicants tend to be on their best behaviours and present themselves in a positive light. References who have either worked with or personally known an applicant for some time can provide input and insight into how s/he has behaved (or could potentially behave) in certain situations.

The reference checks should be able to:

  • Verify if the information provided by the applicant is accurate
  • Identify any weakness in the applicant’s performance history
  • Fill in any gaps in the applicant’s employment history
  • Highlight the applicant’s previous or current position and identify the applicant’s suitability to be in contact with children or in a position of trust with children
  • Capture whether there is any reason why the applicant should not be hired to work with children

Examples of reference questions that incorporate Safe Sport elements:

  • Describe this candidate’s experience working with children, youth and/or vulnerable individuals?
  • Does this candidate have experience working with children aged from ___ to ___ years?
  • What is your view of the candidate’s strengths in working with children, youth and/or vulnerable individuals?
  • Do you know of any complaints/allegations made by parents, other staff, or children about the candidate?
  • Describe the candidate’s approach to relating with children, youth and/or vulnerable individuals.
  • Are there any age groups or particular types of individuals with whom the candidate may not be suitable to work?
  • Describe your observations, if any, of the candidate correcting or disciplining a child.
  • Describe your observations, if any, of the candidate handling a person who was very angry or lashing out physically.
  • In your view, does the candidate use appropriate language and tone of voice with children? Why or why not?
  • Have you ever had reason to be concerned about the candidate’s behaviour with children?
  • Is the candidate aware of the reporting procedures in relation to a child’s welfare?
  • Are you aware of whether or not the candidate angers easily?
  • Do you have any concerns about the candidate working alone with children, youth and/or vulnerable individuals?
  • Do you know of any reason why the candidate should not come into contact with children, youth and/or vulnerable individuals?
  • Can you provide an example of where the candidate modified his/her coaching to adapt to swimmers from diverse backgrounds?
  • Can you comment on this candidate’s ability to foster an inclusive environment that values diversity? Please provide an example.
  • Can you think of an example of when the candidate needed to resolve a conflict between others with different points of view? What was the issue? What was the candidate’s approach?
  • Would you rehire this individual to a position working with children, youth and/or vulnerable individuals?