If you are hiring a friend or relative known to you, you may choose not to check references. Before you check each person’s make a decision about hiring a stranger as an assistant, check each person’s references. Call a former employer if possible as listed on your application. Look carefully at how long they were employed at each place. Ask former employers if the applicant worked there and the dates worked. You may ask any and all questions you like, but the previous employer is not legally required to provide you the information. If work references are not available, check personal references.