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Asking for references BEFORE interview

(24 Posts)
HumanityConfirmed Wed 10-Apr-19 21:57:49

Is this normal??? Wanting to apply for a pastoral support role at a secondary school, but they will request references before the interview. This is just weird. My employer will know when I go for the interview and then if I don't get the job, they'll know about it. That's not on is it??

OP’s posts: |
user1471596980 Wed 10-Apr-19 22:18:33

This is completely standard in schools in UK. Normal practice is to inform your head you're applying beforehand.

user1471596980 Wed 10-Apr-19 22:20:13

Sorry, I presumed you were currently working in a school but having re-read your post, I guess not.

Tealtights Wed 10-Apr-19 22:23:05

I've just done "safer recruitment in education" training and references before interview was recommended as part of safeguarding (only one element obviously), I'm only a governor and a new one at that so not sure if it's a new thing.

MrsElijahMikaelson1 Wed 10-Apr-19 22:25:15

As PP said above-getting reference before is part of safer recruitment-it allows you to tease out details etc so yes, it’s perfectly usual.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 10-Apr-19 22:34:13

Seems to be normal in education. I wonder how much is not bothering to hold interviews until stringent tests have been met so as not to waste time.
Embarrassing/difficult with current employers though.

ineedaholidaynow Wed 10-Apr-19 22:38:22

I am a School Governor and have attended a few interviews. When we are discussing the candidates, straight after the interviews, we will look at the references, so assume they have been received in advance.

Thiswontendwell Wed 10-Apr-19 22:42:53

I work in health
We can not get (very limited - have they been off sick/are they subject to a disciplinary-yes/no) references until after the job is offered.
I wish we could get them for all interview candidates like we used to.
Well done to education colleagues!!!

HumanityConfirmed Thu 11-Apr-19 14:54:48

Oh okay so I guess it's standard in education; I see the rationale behind it but how blooming awkward!! I am already employed in education, performing a pastoral role. I have been at the receiving end of low level bullying for two years and I am finally ready to leave. My employer is not supportive because the bully is her best mate; I am worried about her tone when she's asked to give me a reference.

OP’s posts: |
MsRabbitRocks Thu 11-Apr-19 14:58:07

In education, it is always standard to tell your employer (Head usually) you will be applying for another job, especially regarding the reference. You don’t say who your employer is but should be the Headteacher. Doesn’t have to be anyone else.

Jackshouse Thu 11-Apr-19 15:01:44

It’s standard. Normally they are requested at the same time interviews are offered. If you were going to interview then you would need to tell your current school.

HumanityConfirmed Thu 11-Apr-19 15:11:39

I had no idea to be honest. Is this the case even for support roles?

OP’s posts: |
MoniqueTonique Thu 11-Apr-19 15:13:54

Yes, I've just been through and interview process for a support role in a Senior school. I had to tell my Head before the interview, and they asked for references prior to offering me an interview. It was awkward in a way but as I needed time off for the interview it didn't really make much difference to telling her.

MoniqueTonique Thu 11-Apr-19 15:14:13

an not and

Phineyj Sat 13-Apr-19 11:23:52

It is a typical example of the power balance in schools being weighted in the favour of the recruiter. I have never understood why 'safer recruitment' can't involve taking up references post interview but pre offer, or make an offer 'subject to references' as happens in other industries. It must put some decent candidates off applying, helping no-one.

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 13-Apr-19 11:36:53

I think it does put many people off, yes. In my school there is a lot of inertia amongst both teaching and non-teaching staff. We have had a few changes of headship in the past couple of years and that “new broom” fear combined with general funding cuts makes people really unsure of their own job security. No-one wants to rock the boat.

I think it’s particularly unfair with school support roles. There is a teacher shortage so someone is very likely to be given an interview for a job that they apply for so they’re in with a good chance of getting it. This isn’t the case amongst support staff. You may not even get an interview for some jobs you apply for so to the head you just look completely uncommitted applying for multiple support staff roles. I’m sure they would take that into consideration when looking at future staffing structures.

So for me, I just feel trapped in my current job with the rules being like this. There must be schools losing out on good candidates who are too scared at pissing off their current head to even apply for the job. It’s even worse if it’s not a move up as then you couldn’t even claim to the head that you’re interested in the job for career advancement purposes.

So if it’s just a sideways move because you don’t enjoy your job anymore or the way SLT treat people etc it’s really difficult to explain away.

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 13-Apr-19 11:40:57

It’s one of the worst things about working in a school, trying to look for a job elsewhere. The system is shit. Your head (and everyone else!) knows you’re not happy in your job and you also cause hassle for everyone if you have to take time off to attend interview. No hiding it with a day of annual leave and a reference which is only followed up if you get offered the job!

People applying to work in schools need to consider this before they take a school based job.

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 13-Apr-19 11:43:15

This is relatively new I think. When I got my school support role 10 years ago I think references were only requested when I got offered the jobz

Daffodillie Sat 13-Apr-19 12:13:53

I work in school HR and there is an option on our application form to decline references being taken up before interview. You have to explain why, though (not wanting your current employer to be aware you are looking for a job is a valid excuse). I would contact your second reference, though, and any offer would obviously be subject to receipt of the reference from your current employer.

If an applicant asked us not to contact either reference then they wouldn't be offered an interview.

PinguDance Sat 13-Apr-19 12:15:42

I found this really irritating at first but now embrace it - go and tell the head very sincerely, sweetly submit my ‘day off for interview’ forms and then enjoy the day as much as possible. I’ve had loads this year and usually have had a nice free afternoon post interview - and it’s a paid day. I took a day off for a 45 minute video interview once with no shame. It take a ‘what are you going to do about it’ attitude , in our contract we can have paid days off to attend interview ‘within reason’ and as yet no one has said anything to me - I’ve had about 6!

Phineyj Sat 13-Apr-19 16:47:02

I have had an experience (not in teaching, though) where I ticked a 'please don't contact current employer for reference before interview' and it was ignored, which has made me rather wary.

MsRabbitRocks Sat 13-Apr-19 17:07:09

This is relatively new I think

Maybe in a small number of schools but I have had to do this since my first teaching job in 2004 and it was known common practice then (mainly for safeguarding)

CurlyhairedAssassin Sat 13-Apr-19 23:41:33

I’m support staff though, msRabbit, so it might be different.

user1471596980 Sun 28-Jun-20 11:04:27

It's been standard practice for teaching positions since I started in early 1990s (and wasn't considered new then).

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