A job hunter who is learning that references matter asks what s/he can do When his manager is getting a bad reference.

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The question for today is, "How do I get a new job. When my manager is giving up that references about me?"

Before I answer the question, I want you to learn a lesson- -Don't put yourself in that position. You discovered how difficult it is to find work when the best person to evaluate you is not in your corner.  They are not your ally.

Whether the issue is around bad behavior in the office, whether the issue is around poor performance or excessive lateness is, this all comes back to bite you in the butt.  This person is not an ally or willing to lie for you, they are not going to stick to a story.  You are going to need to find someone else to do it for you.  Maybe a former coworker will (the key word in that is former); maybe a former manager -- someone who predates your current manager who can attest to your work.

Let's assume that you were fired for poor performance.  Why would your firm give out a good reference?  After all, they fired you because you did a bad job. Understand that firms will comply with one another about confirming dates of employment.  They're not going to lie about things related to your work with them.

You can go to HR (and I think this would be the smart move) and ask whether the firm has a policy against providing references because, frankly, "Mine will be poor and I don't want to be in a position where I have to sue because the impact of the reference your firm provides is going to keep me from finding work. I don't believe I should be punished for the rest of my life for mistakes I made. I'm sure you don't want to deal with litigation. What I would like to have everyone cautioned about is that it is not company policy to give references out we can confirm dates of employment."  That can get you off the hook.

You still need to get people who will talk about you and say that they are a former colleague, former manager… Stuff along those lines… And talk positively about you.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio” and “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” both available through iTunes and Stitcher.

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26 Responses
  1. Eric Mills

    people are paying for their past mistakes..they follow them everywhere they
    go..even if they take the company name off of their resume….let’s say
    someone was being teased, for whatever the reason from their previous job.
    when potential employers get hold of that history…it somehow finds its
    way to current employees phones and than that person is humiliated…people
    look at the person with that look of judgement, based on what theyve
    learned from that persons past and then stigmatize them.

    it is a rapidly sad and growing trend in the work force. The person may
    even feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. or corolate those experiences with
    their past coming back to haunt haunt them, but because it is done in such
    a cruel and deceptive way, they can’t prove it. And if you cant prove it
    nothing is hapoening. Its all in your mind (i.e. you crazy!).

    There is nothing the person can do about it, but suffer in silence..In some
    cases, they leave one job to find another and the same thing just keep
    happening over again. No one bails them out. people just watch, judge and
    tease. And you can see there are many who actually are enjoying what what’s
    happening to the poor Individual.

    People are very cruel these days. professionalism is an illusion to a major
    degree. People love gossip these days. Or anything negative for good
    entertainment. I’ve heard stories and know people who have gone through
    things you wouldn’t imagine.

    Had their reputations utterly destroyed to the point no matter where they
    would look for work, if they got an opportunity, they would get hired and
    re-live their past mistakes as if they never left their old job. The way
    people deal with each other today, is so F#cked up, it cannot even be put
    into words.

    And all of these situations occur after background checks..mobile phones
    are like the new form of weapons. load up the face book,twitter,linked
    in,or various other social media clips and assassinate someone’s character
    without remorse or concern..

    it’s unfortunate that it often happens to good people or good looking
    people with potential. And These things usually happens after a background
    check. It’s an unfair world some may even say it’s life. But one thing is
    for sure..People are very,very cruel..now more than ever..

    1. Jeff Altman

      +Eric Mills I would suggest that if a former employee is harassed post-employment, they or a friend who is or presents themselves as an attorney contact the president of the former firm and state that if the bullying isn’t stopped the firm will be sued. That when it comes times for references to be given, the attorney tells them that the former manager or the President themselves gives the glowing reference as part of the gentlemen’s agreement. The harassment will stop when the names of the harassers are turned over, No demand that they be fired unless they misbehave again.

    2. Eric Mills

      Jeff Altman

      These people are like deers in headlights, they don’t know their rights. And what they are experiencing is so far out of control, it leaves them helpless. people share information on their phones and that opens another can of worms..the person left the job from being bullied but doesn’t have a clue whose doing the bullying. it’s not a direct in your face attack, it’s cleverly done In directly.

  2. Eric Mills

    people are paying for their past mistakes..they follow them everywhere they go..even if they take the company name off of their resume….let’s say someone was being teased, for whatever the reason from their previous job. when potential employers get hold of that history…it somehow finds its way to current employees phones and than that person is humiliated…people look at the person with that look of judgement, based on what theyve learned from that persons past and then stigmatize them.

    it is a rapidly sad and growing trend in the work force. The person may even feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. or corolate those experiences with their past coming back to haunt haunt them, but because it is done in such a cruel and deceptive way, they can’t prove it. And if you cant prove it nothing is hapoening. Its all in your mind (i.e. you crazy!).

    There is nothing the person can do about it, but suffer in silence..In some cases, they leave one job to find another and the same thing just keep happening over again. No one bails them out. people just watch, judge and tease. And you can see there are many who actually are enjoying what what’s happening to the poor Individual.

    People are very cruel these days. professionalism is an illusion to a major degree. People love gossip these days. Or anything negative for good entertainment. I’ve heard stories and know people who have gone through things you wouldn’t imagine.

    Had their reputations utterly destroyed to the point no matter where they would look for work, if they got an opportunity, they would get hired and re-live their past mistakes as if they never left their old job. The way people deal with each other today, is so F#cked up, it cannot even be put into words.

    And all of these situations occur after background checks..mobile phones are like the new form of weapons. load up the face book,twitter,linked in,or various other social media clips and assassinate someone’s character without remorse or concern..

    it’s unfortunate that it often happens to good people or good looking people with potential. And These things usually happens after a background check. It’s an unfair world some may even say it’s life. But one thing is for sure..People are very,very cruel..now more than ever..

  3. Eric Mills

    people are paying for their past mistakes..they follow them everywhere they go..even if they take the company name off of their resume….let’s say someone was being teased, for whatever the reason from their previous job. when potential employers get hold of that history…it somehow finds its way to current employees phones and than that person is humiliated…people look at the person with that look of judgement, based on what theyve learned from that persons past and then stigmatize them.

    it is a rapidly sad and growing trend in the work force. The person may even feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. or corolate those experiences with their past coming back to haunt haunt them, but because it is done in such a cruel and deceptive way, they can’t prove it. And if you cant prove it nothing is hapoening. Its all in your mind (i.e. you crazy!).

    There is nothing the person can do about it, but suffer in silence..In some cases, they leave one job to find another and the same thing just keep happening over again. No one bails them out. people just watch, judge and tease. And you can see there are many who actually are enjoying what what’s happening to the poor Individual.

    People are very cruel these days. professionalism is an illusion to a major degree. People love gossip these days. Or anything negative for good entertainment. I’ve heard stories and know people who have gone through things you wouldn’t imagine.

    Had their reputations utterly destroyed to the point no matter where they would look for work, if they got an opportunity, they would get hired and re-live their past mistakes as if they never left their old job. The way people deal with each other today, is so F#cked up, it cannot even be put into words.

    And all of these situations occur after background checks..mobile phones are like the new form of weapons. load up the face book,twitter,linked in,or various other social media clips and assassinate someone’s character without remorse or concern..

    it’s unfortunate that it often happens to good people or good looking people with potential. And These things usually happens after a background check. It’s an unfair world some may even say it’s life. But one thing is for sure..People are very,very cruel..now more than ever..

    1. Jeff Altman

      +Eric Mills I would suggest that if a former employee is harassed post-employment, they or a friend who is or presents themselves as an attorney contact the president of the former firm and state that if the bullying isn’t stopped the firm will be sued. That when it comes times for references to be given, the attorney tells them that the former manager or the President themselves gives the glowing reference as part of the gentlemen’s agreement. The harassment will stop when the names of the harassers are turned over, No demand that they be fired unless they misbehave again.

    2. Eric Mills

      Jeff Altman

      These people are like deers in headlights, they don’t know their rights. And what they are experiencing is so far out of control, it leaves them helpless. people share information on their phones and that opens another can of worms..the person left the job from being bullied but doesn’t have a clue whose doing the bullying. it’s not a direct in your face attack, it’s cleverly done In directly.

    3. Josh Chaires

      I’ve got equalizers for bad references and those are Allison and Taylor third party reference checking firm, and another for all companies who bad mouth me ceise and desist letters prepared by my attorney. Works every time 🙂.

    1. The Wizard

      Jeff Altman I don’t have a LinkedIn, is there anything other way of contacting, I have a question I’d like him to help me with, if possible. Thanks for getting back to me tho

    2. Jeff Altman

      Bonnie, again. Jeff made the decision that because of too many fraudulent contacts here, he would no longer respond to inquiries On YouTube

  4. mspixiedust100

    But how would you ever know that they gave or are giving a bad reference?  The perspective employer won’t tell you.  How would someone know what’s going on?

    1. Jeff Altman

      Thats easy. When they go from strong enthusiasm to well, uh, and what starts to come out of their mouth starts to smell like BS, bad reference.

    2. Charlotte Rose-Marie Beswick

      Uou can request the reference they sent. They dont have to send it to you, but they should if you request it. Im in UK we can request it undet GDPR. I asked HR where i applied for the job. They sent it to me. If someone gives you a bad reference you would want to see it. If you dont know you have done anything wrong, how can you correct it? Or maybe they dont want you to work over there. My manager didnt even put his name, he put the higher managers name on it, the higher managet said it wasnt him. So that tells you its a bit strange.

  5. mspixiedust100

    Wait, who is supposed to say “it’s not company policy to give references out, we can confirm dates of employment”…I’m sorry, I was a little confused by that.  Thanks

    1. Jeff Altman

      Everyone associated with the former employer is supposed to say that. If someone is the job hunter says it, it can be a red flag for the hiring firm that you don’t want them to check a reference. If said casually like, “I have heard from others that it is company policy to not give references. Don’t know if it’s true or not. ” That will be accepted. HOWEVER, you caan find former colleagues whocan provide a great reference.

  6. King Bora Beats

    My former manager has facial herpes and was very upset about it and she is taking it out on many workers and former employees disrupting our lives.

  7. Charlotte Rose-Marie Beswick

    What do you do if your manager lied on the reference, which cost you your job, pending on satisfactory references, my job offer was withdrawn due to unsatisfactory reference, i requested a copy of the reference, it said would you re eploy this person he checked no, and lied because its not me at all. The person who is named as the refree is not the person who typed this reference if you get me, my manager put the higher managers name on it. When i say its not me, what he wrote is not how i am as an employee, when i call in sick i give plenty of notice, but he wrote i call in an hour before or after, or I fail to show up. If this is so, why has he never mentioned this to me or asked where I was or why I didnt come in? He just made it up so i couldnt get the job. The higher manager knows about the reference but hasnt done anything about it. I asked him to re do the reference but no response, as of yet. I might have to go to HR abiur this

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