What happens if your boss won't give you a reference?

(20 Posts)
starsandstuff Sun 02-Dec-18 18:42:25

I have an interview this week that I'm really hopeful about. But my boss is a nightmare. She takes everything personally and has treated past employees really badly on leaving (and while in post - which is why I'm trying to escape). It wouldn't surprise me if she refused to give me a reference. I know my 2nd referee will give me a great one, but she's not my "current employer". Let's say I get the job subject to references, and my boss either refuses to reply to them or gives me a bad one (that's less likely to be fair, her M.O. would just not be arsed to respond out of spite.) What would happen then?

OP’s posts: |
Parker231 Sun 02-Dec-18 18:48:47

No one is required to give a reference. The standard now is to only confirm start and end dates of employment and job title.

starsandstuff Sun 02-Dec-18 18:52:20

Thanks. What if she didn't even do that? Like I said, I can imagine her just refusing to reply to any requests.

OP’s posts: |
Hoppinggreen Sun 02-Dec-18 18:53:53

Unfortunately it’s highly likely that they wouid withdraw the job offer

Parker231 Sun 02-Dec-18 18:54:47

If she doesn’t respond to a reference request, there is unfortunately nothing you can do other than supply an alternative referee.

Ilovewheelychairs Sun 02-Dec-18 18:56:08

Do you have an HR department? Although I specified my line manager as a referee she didn't actually ever write any references, HR did them all. Could you just put down 'HR department of Company X' instead? They would at least provide the basic details.

starsandstuff Sun 02-Dec-18 19:18:59

No, no HR dept. It's a small organisation and I report directly to her. There's no one else I could put in my current place. If they ask for another referee I can put a previous manager who would give me a really glowing one. This is the only boss I've ever had that I'd be afraid of stitching me up, I'm still on good terms with everyone I've ever worked for. It's the idea of them withdrawing the offer I'm afraid of. Wasn't sure if anyone worked in HR and if this is a common enough thing and what happens in this case.

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Sun 02-Dec-18 20:25:33

If this manager is so awkward that she would refuse to give any kind of reference, then I'd preempt it either by offering references from your two previous employers, or give your previous employer and provide proof that you worked there during the dates you've stated on your CV. You could mention it's a small sole tradership or similar and unfortunately they aren't particularly well organised regarding their HR processes, and you hope that proof of employment dates (plus your original letter of appointment to show your job title?) might suffice.

If you can get references from a different person, even if not on company letterhead, more like a professional testimonial, that could also provide sufficient information.

starsandstuff Sun 02-Dec-18 21:20:27

Thank you. I had to name the referees in the application form and one had to be my current employer, so I couldn't put anyone else but her plus one other. But if there is an issue I have my dated contract so thanks for that, I hadn't thought of that. Hopefully if there's an issue that will be proof of my employment title and dates and if necessary I can offer another referee. I really need to get out of this job, she's a nightmare to work for, so hopefully even if she's awkward it won't ruin my chances which is my fear.

OP’s posts: |
Gravel1 Sun 02-Dec-18 21:31:06

Just tell new employer shes a nightmare

Gravel1 Sun 02-Dec-18 21:32:13

and besides which they are meaningless if you want to get rid of a rotten employee what sort of reference do you give them ?

treaclesoda Sun 02-Dec-18 21:38:23

I've had this before. I worked for a large company who refused to give references (many years ago, before that became the common thing that it is now). They had a policy of not responding to requests at all. I still had to name them as my most recent employer, because that was what the application form demanded. But in the event, the new employer's HR department didn't get a response to their letter, and then they rang my old company to follow up and were told that they wouldn't provide one, for me or anyone else. New company then contacted me to ask for an alternative and all was OK.

Rattinghat Sun 02-Dec-18 21:58:11

I had problems with a referee who was a sole trader who lost the plot and sacked me at zero notice. I felt I had to quote her as a referee and when she got the request come through she started texting me abusive messages saying I was lying about my job title and the dates I worked for her (I had just omitted a couple of stray weeks). I had to get alternative referees and used payslips to prove I was employed. It was really upsetting. But I sorted it all out and got a better job than her crappy failing little business.

ToEarlyForDecorations Sun 02-Dec-18 22:11:10

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Godotsarrived Sun 02-Dec-18 22:23:46

Very little will happen though it depends on the role you have secured but up to Director level in my considerable experience references are rarely chased and if they are and none are forthcoming, an alternative will be requested. Most employers these days simply confirmed you worked for the organisation and nothing else. Don’t fret

starsandstuff Sun 02-Dec-18 23:21:05

Thanks. And @Rattinghat and @ToEarlyForDecorations I'm glad all ended well smile That's put my mind at ease a bit. Hopefully I actually get this job offer after all this! But if I do I'll not stress so much now about her trying to scupper things and just count the days till I never have to deal with her crap again.

OP’s posts: |
Hayles88 Sun 02-Dec-18 23:30:31

Message withdrawn as it quoted a deleted post.

ToEarlyForDecorations Mon 03-Dec-18 09:39:16

Erm, re-read my post. Properly this time. OK, to save you the bother because I admit it's quite long what I actually wrote was:

I thought but didn't say

Glad to be shot of me ? Really ? Let me reiterate I RESIGNED.


Rattinghat Mon 03-Dec-18 10:43:37

I also think people set less store by references than they used to. Now there's a trend to only give confirmation of employment, recruiters have to make more of the decision based on the interview, tests etc.

BubblesBuddy Mon 03-Dec-18 14:33:39

The main reason references are not taken into consideration very much is because of the problem you are experiencing. Some references are a pack of lies! If you desperately want to get rid of someone, you write a fairly glowing reference. Not lying but probably glossing over shortcomings. Other referees are vindictive or won’t write one at all. Where organisations are trying to use fair recruitment practices, the varying quality of references or no reference, mean they are unreliable as to the suitability of an employee and are unfair to the person not receiving the reference who might be perfectly good on all other counts.

I hope you get the job and are given the opportunity to move on with or without a reference.

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