Re: Interview from hell - recommendations

Subject: Re: Interview from hell - recommendations
From: "Comeau, Lisa" <Lisa -dot- Comeau -at- MOH -dot- GOV -dot- ON -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1999 10:12:34 -0400

Call me crazy, but why on earth would you use a reference you'd never
checked out for yourself? I think this is one of the things we need to add
to the list that Andrew Plato so diligently thought out.

"Check your references before sending them off to a prospective employer."

One of my favorite things to say (a 'Lisaism', if you will) is "Talent is
subjective". Just because _I_ think I was a fabulous employee well-liked and
respected by peers and bosses alike, doesn't mean it's true. I would _never_
use a reference without finding out what they had to say first. And if I
couldn't get hold of them, I wouldn't use their name.

Another thing to remember is to update your references. I am put to mind of
an interviewee who had a great resume, and several reference letters, as
well as names and phone numbers of other references. I called a few of the
numbers - all of which were out of service. I finally got hold of a former
boss who didn't remember the interviewee until I gave a physical
description, at which point, the reference said, "Oh yeah! But she used to
have short hair - what's she doing now?" It had been 3 years since he'd
heard from or about her.

If you know someone's going to give you a great reference, fine, use it, but
keep in touch with these people so you can say to them "Hi! I'm just
finishing my English Degree, and I'm going to be looking for a Technical
Writing position. I just wanted to update you on what I'm up to, and ask
your permission to continue using you as a reference. Is that OK with you?"

Better to let old bosses and coworkers know what you're up to than to have
them say "Lisa WHO?" when a prospective employer calls 'em. Plus, they're
already contacts, this gives you a chance to network - if they liked you
when you worked together, they may know someone who can use your new skills
and talents, and they just _might_ recommend you.

Lisa Comeau
Accounts Representative, Client Services Group
Y2K/Exchange Project, Ontario Ministry of Health
Office: (416) 327 1112
Pager: (416) 715 9198
mailto: Lisa -dot- Comeau -at- moh -dot- gov -dot- on -dot- ca

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