References: if you’re looking for a new job or career, they will surely play a role in your hiring process. Since we’ve all heard that former employers are only supposed to confirm your previous employment dates and title, the reference check process shouldn’t be problematic, right?
Well, perhaps – but you better not count on it. The staff at Allison & Taylor Reference Checking speaks to references every day, and report that almost 50% of references offer lukewarm or even downright negative feedback. “Many people are completely blindsided by a bad reference – they never realized there was an issue,” reports Jeff Shane, Vice-President, Allison & Taylor. “Bad references can put a sudden halt to a candidate’s search for that great new job”.
In some instances, the job seeker may even have gotten the negative input directly from their former employer, e.g. “You’ll never work in this industry again!” (To read similar comments documented by Allison & Taylor, click here.)
If you know you have a bad reference, here are some possible options:
1. Eliminate any mention of the reference from your resume or application forms (if possible), instead offering someone more likely to give a positive assessment of your skills and contribution.
2. If you cannot eliminate the reference from employer consideration, address any potential issues when references are requested. “Mr. Jones was my former supervisor, but we didn’t share the same perspective on some key issues. I’d recommend that you also speak with Ms. Smith, to give you a more balanced assessment of my contribution to that company.”
3. If you feel it unavoidable that a prospective employer will contact your negative reference – get proactive! Consider contacting that person directly and asking whether you can work out a mutually agreeable response to reference requests. You may be able to gain their consent to offering a neutral reference – confirming only employment dates and title – and perhaps even a verbalization of what they view as your more positive attributes.
4. If you can’t come to terms on an agreeable response, find out the company’s policy on providing a reference. Is your reference following policy? If not, contact them again and remind them that adherence to corporate policy would be in their own best interest.
5. If policy does not protect you, or if a reference continues to malign you after you’ve taken the previously listed steps, you may wish to consider a Cease & Desist letter. You may also have cause for further legal action and can consult an attorney regarding your legal rights.
6. Take care your employment references, they are a valuable asset. For some ideas that will help keep your references praising your skills click here.
Remember, what you don’t know can hurt you. If you suspect that a reference is communicating career-damaging information to potential employers, contact Allison & Taylor at www.AllisonTaylor.com, or call 800- 405-1407. Don’t assume you know what your references are saying – be sure of it.
For more information on conducting a reference check, please visit AllisonTaylor.com.
Are you protected by your old company’s policy to only confirm the dates and title of employment?
Our experience is, that with a little pressure, most managers break company policy and speak their mind to either help or hurt a candidate’s chance at another job. Who from your past job will help you or hurt you – you need to know.
Is your past boss badmouthing you?
50% of our clients have lost good job offers due to bad or mediocre comments from previous employers. Reference-Letters.com will confidentially find out what is really being said about you and give you the power to stop it!
Interviewing well but not getting the job?
Maybe it’s something that a past employer or reference is saying. Could a jealous colleague be sabotaging you? Could your past boss be less than happy at your departure? Reference-Letters.com will help you find out.
Do you have a separation agreement with your past employer? Is it being honored?
Is your past employer giving you the professional and prompt reference that was promised or are they saying, “Well according to our agreement I can only confirm that he worked here.” Reference-Letters.com will find out what is really being said and give you the power to enforce your agreement.
Were you a victim of discrimination, sexual harassment or wrongful termination?
Your previous employers could be affecting your new job search through their comments to prospective employers. Don’t let them continue to hurt you and your career.
Are you being BLACKBALLED?
Last year our clients were awarded more than $2 million in settlements. Reference-Letters.com will find out what is really being said about you and give you the power to stop it!
You’ve put time and effort into your resume, developed your network of possible employers and recruiters, worked on your interview skills – but have done nothing but typed a list of your references. Don’t leave this crucial area to chance. References are the final factor in who gets the job offer. Your past employers – anyone you reported to will be contacted. Do you know what they will say? Reference-Letters.com will find out what is really being said about you.