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Author Topic: Providing references  (Read 14112 times)
mercy_my_own
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« on: April 26, 2012, 12:58:11 PM »

I was recently a candidate for an administrative position. The hiring committee contact person informed me that it is a hiring "Best Practice" to get current supervisor references from every candidate.  I expect to provide that pending a job offer but they made it clear they were nowhere near that decision and simply wanted that information for "further consideration," -- and if I didn't provide it, I was out of the running.

I decided not to "out" myself as being on the job hunt...  I'm thinking that once The Boss knows an employee is on the hunt, their thoughts go to, "Oh no, s/he doesn't need that (fill in the blank - raise, new employee, travel funding, furniture, any resource at all!) since she's leaving anyway". Or, "We'll wait on that project until after s/he's gone, no sense giving it to her, she's leaving."

I have never ever heard of this demand. Anyone?
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chronanon
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 2:23:17 PM »

I have heard of it, though I don't think it's common.  You made the right choice in my opinion.
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simplesimon
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2012, 2:36:05 PM »

You were wise to pull out.  Your first responsibility is to yourself—not your prospective employer.  We all understand that your current situation would likely be compromised if your current boss knows that you are actively looking (though theoretically everyone is always looking).  Lately it seems employers are making all sorts of inappropriate demands of job applicants (“what is your Facebook password?”); they do so because no one will stand up to them.  So many people are desperate for work that they will comply with almost any demand no matter how unreasonable.

Like you, I would not comply with that request.
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brixton
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2012, 6:36:42 PM »

Another option is to go to your boss and say I'm being courted by University X.  I really like it here and didn't initially have any desire to leave.  This is however a compelling position because it is close to home or offers me skills in x, y, z. I hadn't planned on telling you this, but they insisted on talking to a supervisor.  I considered pulling out because I value my job and your mentoring.  Knowing that this is a remote chance, but nevertheless a cool opportunity for me, would you be supportive of me at least investigating this option?  I really finally want to be upfront and truthful withyou about this  (or something like that.)  An advantage is it someties makes your boss value you more if they find out that you have possible exit doors which actually might turn into raises and development opportunities.  You're not leaving.  You're just looking.  In the past, I've couched in in the robes of:  "I'm really interested in knowing how this school configures our department.  I have an opportunity where I might have an insider track. I'm going somewhat out of curiousity.  Do you have any problems with this?"  (It of course really depends on your relationship with your boss! This only works if your relationship is at a certain level.)
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asco7
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 11:38:10 AM »

I'd say also that the definition of "supervisor" is quite vague. If there is somebody else who is a superior to you and is familiar with your work but not your direct "boss", especially one who you know would be discreet and treat the prospect of your leaving in a reasonable and mature manner, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to offer to provide this name instead, even being up front with the new position about why ("I haven't discussed my intention to leave with my direct superior, so I'd prefer not to get him/her involved. However, Dean X, who has observed much of my work on y and headed several committees on which I have served, has agreed to serve as a reference for me/to provide feedback about my performance.").
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mercy_my_own
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 2:24:21 PM »

I'd say also that the definition of "supervisor" is quite vague.

- Not to them, they were very specific about it.

If there is somebody else who is a superior to you and is familiar with your work but not your direct "boss", especially one who you know would be discreet and treat the prospect of your leaving in a reasonable and mature manner, I think it would be perfectly acceptable to offer to provide this name instead, 

- I tried that too, and they remained adamant.

Asco, I agree that most people would find the options you've presented as reasonable substitutes.
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mercy_my_own
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 2:25:53 PM »

<<snip>> Another option is to go to your boss  <<snip>>

Braxton, in my case, there is no option that involves going to the boss.
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asco7
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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2012, 11:53:29 PM »

Well, I find this story rather bizarre. They can't force you to provide your current supervisor asa reference - they should know how sensitive such a matter is. I suppose then, you could pull out, but I would see at least two other reasonable options: 1. lie (give them name of Dean X who has agreed to provide reference and pretend Dean X is your boss if s/he will agree to do so - they deserve it if they've made such an unreasonable request) or 2. call them on it (although then you almost definitely won't get the job, but I think if you've already decided you won't be taking the job anyway, I think it's worth at least responding critically with something like "I find this to be an unreasonable request." - if this request happens to go against university/company policy, you could even cite that rule and/or cc someone from their legal department. - again, this could lead to burning bridges with the company, but it could also help protect the countless other people who will face the same dilemma).
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mercy_my_own
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2012, 10:23:57 PM »

<<snip>>... 2. call them on it (although then you almost definitely won't get the job, but I think if you've already decided you won't be taking the job anyway, I think it's worth at least responding critically with something like "I find this to be an unreasonable request." <<snip>>...  
Asco, your #1 is not my style at all and your #2 is exactly what I did.  

How is it possible that a "Best Practice" is something that no one has ever heard of?  
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 10:27:06 PM by mercy_my_own » Logged
maybe_maybelle
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2012, 10:20:56 AM »


How is it possible that a "Best Practice" is something that no one has ever heard of?  

Mercy, I have not heard of it but did you look at the HR website for the school? Is this a school policy or a unit policy? To me it sounds like they've been burned in the past and they are taking it past the point of making sense now.
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