As we know, all job offers are made subject to satisfactory references. So choosing your referees carefully is vital. But it is not always that straightforward. What if the Charity you worked for no longer exists or the person you worked for has moved on? It may be that the Charity’s policy is to only provide factual references that confirm your dates of employment and the role that you held – which really is not that helpful. And frankly, in my experience personal references are not that sought after so that is not a solution to the reference dilemma.
However, we can think differently about referees, I am interested to hear from other sources, maybe a member of a team you managed can provide insight to your management style? A colleague can also provide a different perspective on your performance and contribution and you may have correspondence that highlights or congratulates you on your performance on a particular project. You may want to think about a previous manager who has now moved on – they may now be able to provide a references without the restraints of company policy.
Despite employer’s reluctance to provide a bad reference, there are occasions when a less than satisfactory one is received. I always advise employers that they should pick up the telephone and have a conversation with referees to understand the context to this and to seek clarification or further information, . My advice to candidates is choose your referees carefully! We can’t get on with everyone we work for and you would hope that personal feelings would be put aside where references are concerned, but it is not always the case.