How do you deal with a request for a reference about a mediocre former employee?
I received a request from a local company for a reference. The thing is the former employee who I'll call David was not a terrible employee, he wasn't very good either. He did the job with minimal competence, and called in sick a fair amount, especially on Fridays and Mondays. But David never had any really major screw ups, and didn't exceed the number of sick days allowed. More or less, he was like a character in the movie Office Space; he did the bare minimum required to keep his job. So how do I handle his reference? If I were to be absolutely honest, I would say that I wouldn't hire him again, but on the upside he probably didn't steal many office supplies. I won't actually do that, but I don't want to misrepresent him as a stellar employee either. What's the best way to deal with the situation?
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