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Putting current manager as reference when they don't know...

(10 Posts)
pandarific Wed 09-Mar-16 12:40:10

...I'm applying for other jobs? This may be a stupid question, but I am just worried if I put my manager they could call him before I have any offers, leaving me in an uncomfortable position.

What's the best course of action?

flowery Wed 09-Mar-16 14:36:38

Unless you are working in one of the very few sectors that take up references as part of the selection process rather than after offer, don't give details at all. Say references available on request, then if you get an offer of employment, you'll need to resign anyway so at the same time you can ask your manager if he/she is prepared give you a reference and then give their details to the new employer.

Brokenbiscuit Wed 09-Mar-16 19:23:19

What's your line manager like? And why are you leaving your current job?

I have had a few employees ask me if they can put me down as a referee when they're looking for other jobs. I don't judge them for looking at all, because I don't really expect them to stay on in our organisation indefinitely anyway - we can't always offer a very defined progression route, so for someone who wants to develop their career, leaving is sometimes the only option.

When people tell me that they're applying for other jobs, I'll sometimes offer to proofread applications or do mock interviews. Assuming that they are good members of staff, it will certainly be a loss to us when they go, but my view is that helping people to achieve their personal career goals is part of what makes us a good employer and part of what attracts new talent to the organisation. People will always come and go, the important thing is that they contribute well while they're with us, and hopefully they learn a lot in the process that they can take along to their next role.

I'd hate to think someone felt that it would be awkward to share their plans with me. I'd much rather know, and I can then start planning for what to do if they leave. If they're not successful, it's sometimes possible to expand or develop their existing role to give them the experience that they might be lacking. Again, I don't judge - the fact that they haven't been hired for another role says nothing about their ability to do the job they're currently employed to do.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't necessarily assume it will be awkward telling your boss, as it might not be, and you never know, they might actually be able to help you.

It really does depend on your boss though. If you don't want to tell your current employer before getting an offer, I would avoid putting your boss's name down as a referee if you possibly can. I have been contacted in error on several occasions when an employee has said that they don't want referees to be contacted until after an offer has been made, and then the recruiting company has written to withdraw its request for a reference because they didn't have the employee's consent to contact me. Now that is awkward!

WeAllHaveWings Wed 09-Mar-16 22:18:13

I always thought the correct etiquette for references was to ask someone if they are willing before putting their details down. So best to put that references are available on request.

Fizrim Wed 09-Mar-16 22:24:39

As wings mentioned, it is best to ask before saying they'll provide a reference. And hope that the company you are applying to does not want refs at an early stage! Good luck with the applications.

BarefootAcrossHotLegoPieces Wed 09-Mar-16 22:29:11

Broken biscuit, I salute you.

Gwenhwyfar Wed 09-Mar-16 22:35:21

You could give the details, but with a phrase next to them in bold -do not contact before job offer - or something like that. Most new employers are used to that kind of thing. Or you just give previous employers.

CrystalSkull Wed 09-Mar-16 22:51:10

Brokenbiscuit - that is amazing! I wish I had a boss like you.

Brokenbiscuit Thu 10-Mar-16 08:10:23

Crystal, I really don't think I'm that unusual. I myself have had several bosses who have taken a similar approach. I think it's just realistic tbh.

There are some people in my team who will probably be around until they retire, and it's fab to have that level of experience and continuity, but there are other fantastically talented and ambitious individuals who clearly want to use their current roles as a stepping stone to something else, and they too have a huge amount to contribute. I love having that mix of experienced old hands and fresh new ideas - it's what keeps us performing as well as we do!

Gwenhwyfar Thu 10-Mar-16 08:53:16

You sound like a very good boss Brokenbiscuit. I remember an old boss calling me disloyal when I dared leave my very junior job after 4 years there, but it was a 'job for life' type of place and they didn't expect people to leave at all. I think it has to be acknowledged that some people might suffer if they admit they're looking for another job - they wouldn't be considered for training perhaps.

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