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Approving a reference

This article outlines the check points for approving mentor applicant references. It is vital for screeners to look closely at responses from references in order to evaluate mentor applicants for safety, consistency and appropriateness. 

Considerations for approving a reference:

Out of all submitted references, is there only one family member (significant others are considered family)?  Only one reference from a family member or partner can be used per screening protocol. If a pending reference is a second family member, the reference is not viable. In these cases, the screener will reach out to the mentor applicant and get an additional reference.   In the case of ex-partners or ex in-laws, the distinction of "family" is determined by the applicant. If they refer to their ex as a "friend" in the eReference form, we will not consider that person "family".

Are the references viable?  Did the reference provide enough information to gain a clear understanding of the applicant? Did the reference respond to every question? Did the responses give enough information? If no, the reference is not viable.

Is the reference flag worthy? Screeners should be looking for any detail that may indicate that the mentor is not a safe and appropriate adult who is unable to commit to the program, or has any biases. Low numerical ratings can also constitute a flag as outlined in this article. 

Has the reference known the applicant for at least 6 months? The reference must have known the applicant for at least 6 months to be considered viable.

Next Steps:

If the reference passes the vetting process, mark reference as "Approved" in Salesforce. 

Add any relevant new information to the match notes in Salesforce.

Two references per mentor applicant must be approved in order for the reference requirement to be fulfilled during the screening process.

If there are any questions or concerns about a reference, discuss the responses with a manager.

If the reference is incomplete, or doesn't paint a complete picture, mark as "Reference Not Viable" In Salesforce. If the applicant has two other viable references, the references are overall approved. The applicant can continue through the screening process unless the non-viable reference results in any red or yellow flags.


  • As mentioned above, if you see that a mentor applicant has more than one family member or significant other listed as a reference, reach out to them and get an alternate reference. Manually add that reference into Salesforce.
  • Be on the lookout for references with corporate email addresses such as Goldman Sachs or Citi. Often corporate firewalls will automatically block any emails generated from Salesforce and will result in a bounce back that you’ll see in your Outlook. If that’s the case, you can call the reference, try to gather the other references that have non-corporate email addresses or ask the mentor applicant for an alternate email for the reference/an alternate reference as needed.
  • A best practice is having your two approved references for each mentor applicant before they are Background Check Approved.