Are You Getting Bad Job References?

Are You Getting Bad Job References?

The job market has improved over the last four months, yet it is still highly competitive with not enough quality positions for those who want these jobs. It is still a nail bitter as to who gets the position after a series of interviews at a company. Often it is down to two candidates and only one of these indivuals will get the job. You want to increase your chances of making sure it is you.

One of the last tasks a hiring manager or HR professional does before submitting an offer is to check out your references.  When competition is tight, any negative evaluation can be a deal breaker. And you will never know if you lost the job to a bad reference. In many cases you have.

It happened to me years ago when I was using a former boss of mine as a reference. I was very close to getting a career-changing position and had the skills and experience needed for the job. I was one of two people being considered for the position. It went to the other person. I was devastated and didn’t understand why I didn’t get the job.

While interviewing for another position in the same time period, the hiring manager leveled with me and told me that I should not be using this particular person as a reference. My ex boss who was supportive of me to my face was supplying negative information about me behind my back! I could not believe it, but I immediately removed him from my list of references.

My advice is to make sure to meet with each and everyone of your references and make sure they are still supportive of you. Read between the lines when they say they will support you and if you get a bad feeling, don’t use them as a reference. Make sure the people you supply as references are your biggest supporters. Great referrals can make or break a potential job.


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    It is unfortunate that there are people who will slander you, but rather than rely on your feelings, you should rely on their past track record with you. Do they return your calls promptly? Do you have lunch together and stay in touch? Have they been supportive, in an action-oriented kind of way, or just with words? There are cues that you can be mindful of to know whether your former boss will really be a good reference for you.

  • Follett Corporation in the Chicago Area has terrible management who bad mouth former employees who worked hard on their jobs. Follett is a "swing door" company where they make their non-salary employees work overtime without pay and threaten them with their jobs if they do not show up to work on Saturdays. Real scum bag manager in one department, an over-sized woman from Ethiopia, from what I was told. The stories I heard by ex-employees who I know a fact are really good workers, it sounds that Follett should fire that woman manager.

    It is ashame that someone that came from Ethiopia can treat decent Americans like garbage.

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