Re: References

Subject: Re: References
From: Marguerite Krupp <mkrupp -at- CAYMAN -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 1994 11:29:47 -0400

Sally said:

>Ideally, a prospective employer will contact your hand-picked references for
>expert opinions about your ability to fulfill the responsibilities of a
>position. But does anyone have ideas for how to handle the delicate
>situation of a prospective employer potentially contacting an unreasonable
>previous manager whom you suspect may be unjustifiably less than

My experience:

A company where I once worked as a manager wouldn't let us do any more than
confirm that the person worked there and required that we forward all such
reference calls to HR. The reason was that the company (and we personally)
could be sued if something we said caused the person not to get the job.
Hard to prove, perhaps, but real in this context.

Of course, if you knew the person who was calling, and all you said was,
"Yes, I can confirm that this person worked here," there was a message in
that, too, but at least you were following company policy.

If the prospective employer asks about contacting a previous employer, you
can always say, "I'd rather you didn't, and here's why. (You could cite
company policy and your reluctance to put the previous employer in a
difficult position.) If they persist, give them the name of someone in
personnel, and let them handle it. They're good at "confirming without


"All jobs are temporary, but some come with benefits." - John Garrison

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