Re: References

Subject: Re: References
From: Rollings Gill <WGILLR -at- WOK-MSMAIL-GW -dot- ISL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 1994 10:33:00 PDT

Further to Doug's and others' queries and comments:

Apologies if this is straying too far off our legitimate territory.

The practice in the U.K. seems to be that people sending in job applications
supply a resume and the names of (usually) 2 referees, along with the letter
claiming that they are the one person who can *really* do this job justice.

It is important to state in the covering letter if the persons named as
referees are not to be approached before the decision to grant an interview
(or not) is made. You can blot your copybook in a big way by tipping off
your manager too soon that you're looking to make a career move.

I've been involved in the sifting process at a very low level, so the way I
understand it is that the person receiving the resumes uses them as a first
filter mechanism. When the shortlist of interviewees has been drawn up, the
letters asking for references go out. Sometimes, the reference requests go
out after interviews, once the decision has been made to offer the candidate
a post subject to satisfactory references. The letter asking for a
reference is usually accompanied by a copy of the job advertisement or job
description, so that the potential employer can ask the current or previous
employer if the candidate is suitable.

The pre-prepared "testimonial" (or all-purpose, take-it-with-you-anywhere
reference) is very rare over here (in my experience). One of my managers
long ago told me that, in his opinion, they aren't worth the paper they're
written on. The person giving an opinion as to suitability needs to know
what job the candidate is applying for - otherwise, it's not really a
reference, just a letter saying that so-and-so is a really nice,
co-operative type who'll do his or her best for you. I can't imagine many
managers staking their reputation as good hirers on something like that.

This is just the way it seems to me - it's interesting to read how different
it is in the U.S. in particular.

Gill Rollings, Technical Writer, Internet Systems Ltd
gill -dot- rollings -at- isl -dot- com

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