Post # 1
So, someone I went to high school with, and have had limited contact with in the last 9 years, has put me down as one of her references for a job she’s applying for. She asked me once before, which I accepted, and wrote a good recommendation for. Since then, I have seen her performance and conduct in the workplace and was not at all pleased or impressed. She has asked me for unofficial references since then, which I have declined. With this new official reference, I was contacted by the potential employer, and I don’t think I can give her a good reference in good conscience.
I also think it’s pretty crappy that she listed me without consulting me before, even after the discussion we had about her conduct in the workplace (where I told her as a professional courtesy she needed to rethink her conduct before I went to an authority figure). You would think she would get the hint that I don’t agree with her workplace demeanor and would ask someone else who may give her a more favorable reference.
How do I say no? Do I tell the potential employer that I don’t know her well enough to give a review of her performance? I don’t want to shoot her in the back because I have no idea how vindictive she could be. Or do I tell the potential employer in total confidence that I disapprove of her conduct? Or do I contact her personally and say “hey you’ve put me in an uncomfortable position, and I don’t think I’m comfortable giving you a reference.” Help!
Post # 2
You could just give a truthful reference.
Post # 3
missanonybee53: I would simply decline to provide a reference. I would tell the employer that my contact with her was not recent and therefore nor pertinent.
I would also contact her and ask her not to give my name as a reference in the future.
Post # 4
That’s a sucky position to be in. Ethically, you feel obligated to give an accurate report of her performance. You could just tell her honestly that you don’t feel you have enough info to be a positive reference, but I don’t know how believable it will be given your situation. Do you interact with her at your current job? If so, there may be some benefit in just giving a generic report so that you can get a better person for her position. There’s not really a best answer here.
Post # 5
missanonybee53: I’m a little confused by your post; are you saying it was 9 years ago and you were both in high school when you last had professional experience with her? If so, you shouldn’t be giving her any reference at all, and it’s ridiculous (and of bad judgment) of her to put you down, even if it was a glowing reference! It was too long ago and you were both too young to have that be pertinent 9 years later.
Post # 6
goblueca: Yes, we were in high school 9 years ago, but we have had some professional contact within the last year, which I did not find pleasant. And yes, she put me down as a reference even after having a talk with her about how I didn’t agree with her behavior.
Post # 7
j_jaye: That did occur to me. She is in really dire financial straits (having to set up paypal accounts to help herself make rent) and would feel realy crappy about myself if I were the reason she didn’t get the job. I am all for people getting a chance to succeed, but I just don’t feel comfortable providing testimony that carries so much weight for her future. Make sense?
Post # 8
Are there any positive comments that you can make? To avoid an issue with the person, you can just stick to relaying what do you like about her and her work. The other person on the other end will be able to hear what you did and didn’t say and how much you did or didn’t say and form an opinion for themself without you having to go through the laundry list of things that you don’t like about her, which is damaging to your own credibility and reputation.
Post # 9
missanonybee53: I would be truthful. Explain that your contact has been limited, but that you have not been impressed by her performance over the past year.
I hate to sound heartless, but her being in a bad financial situation isn’t your problem. She could be competing against others in worse financial situations for the same job. The person who deserves the job should get it, it seems like she doesn’t deserve the job.
Post # 10
- Wedding: April 2015 - Family Farm
missanonybee53: Just remember that it is your good name that will be attached to hers if you give a good reference and she preforms poorly. I have simple declined to give a reference when asked.
Post # 11
I would not mess up someone’s ability to get a job by giving them a bad reference. I would simply tell the person that your professional relationship with her is not strong enough in order for you to give a helpful reference but I would not throw her under the bus.