Someone I barely know, asked me to be a work reference (?)

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Johnny Moondog, May 15, 2015.

  1. Johnny Moondog

    Johnny Moondog Member

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    So, a few days ago - a guy I only know casually (pops into my work semi-regularly, to conduct business), asked me if I would be a reference on a job application.

    I was a bit taken aback by the request.
    I only have a casual , "how's it going" relationship with the guy.

    I have never directly worked with him, truthfully - I barely know him.
    Heck, I am not even sure if I correctly know his last name.

    And the kicker is that he wants to apply for a job elsewhere in my work department - meaning he is asking me to vouch for him, to my own bosses.

    I said I would get back to him about it - and since then, i have been hoping to just avoid him - avoid awkwardness.

    I really don't want to be a work reference for someone that I barely know, and have never worked with ...and the only reason I would do it, is to avoid the awkwardness of saying no.

    I am willing to bet this has happened to someone else here :)
     
  2. Multicellular

    Multicellular Supporting Member

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    It did and I said
    "I'm sorry you seem cool and all, but if it is not going to help you when they ask me 'how well do you know him and I say 'I barely know him, but he seems cool.'"
     
  3. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    A high school teacher once told our class to make sure he was the best college reference any of us could find, because he would be truthful in his letter. I think that cut down on his workload of college recommendation letters.

    I've had friends put in a word for me if I was applying somewhere they had some influence with the boss. But I have the regular references, who are former co-workers or supervisors I consider to be lifelong references, regardless of where I'm applying.
     
  4. ungarn

    ungarn Member

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    Be honest, tell him you cannot provide a meaningful referral.
    You will look like a fool if he does not work and you vouch for him (a stranger).
     
  5. BrewDrinkRepeat

    BrewDrinkRepeat Member

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    I never vouch for anyone I haven't personally worked closely with. I've seen far too many people get burned that way, getting their friends (who they've never actually worked with) jobs at their company, etc.
     
  6. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    I did this for a co-worker who was in a different dept., had been laid off and then wanted to come back and work on my team. I pitched the idea to my boss, told him this guy had already worked here, knew all the systems and processes, had a lot of sales experience, could start on Monday and have meetings by Wednesday. Boss agreed and hired him. My buddy was so overjoyed and thankful and I felt so good about getting him back on his feet.

    Six weeks later, out of the blue, he quit, said he really wanted to go back to selling cars, just was addicted to the 100% commission vibe of never knowing what was coming next. I emailed my boss and said I honestly had no idea that was coming and hoped he didn't view me as Lefty Ruggiero going on the record for Donnie Brasco.
     
  7. GtarMkrJed

    GtarMkrJed Member

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    Happened to me once. A guy who worked for a company that I visit regularly, with whom I had only a few casual conversations, asked me to be a reference after he was let go from the company. I said yes, but never really expected him to use me since we hardly knew each other. I actually got a couple of phone calls from prospective employers for him and all I could tell them was that, yes he did previously work at that company, and no, I don't have any direct knowledge about his performance or abilities. I'm sure I did him no good as a reference, but I wasn't going to lie.

    Although, listing a casual acquaintance as a reference couldn't have been any worse than the guy who applied to our company and listed his mother and his sister as references. His mother thought he was a fine son by the way. ;)
     
  8. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    Google "Lexicon of Intentionally Ambiguous Recommendations" for some ideas...
     
  9. Astronaut FX

    Astronaut FX Member

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    I would decline, but offer instead to share with him my insights as to what we do in our department, what our expectations are, what skill sets are required, and what success looks like for us. That would seem to me infinitely more valuable than an empty endorsement.
     
  10. SomeGuy

    SomeGuy Member

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    Also awkward was when someone used me as a reference without asking, and the first I learned of it was a phone call from that person's potential employer.
     
  11. Johnny Moondog

    Johnny Moondog Member

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    that's not good.
     
  12. JWDubois

    JWDubois Member

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    At my company we're expressly prohibited from giving any references. Any requests for references are supposed to be routed to our HR.
     
  13. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    Here's your answer, right here:

    Continue to avoid him as long as you can, and when you have to face him just tell him that you don't feel that you know him and his work habits well enough to be a creditable reference for him.....that's not a negative, just stating the truth.
     
  14. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

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    Here in New Jersey, the application process for getting a handgun requires that you provide 2 references.

    (at least I know it used to...maybe that's changed, as I haven't applied in a while)

    Anyway, one day I come home from work and in my mail is a letter from the police department of a town in NJ. I open it to find a form letter, informing me that I've been named as a character reference for "a guy":

    - A guy I know, sort of, but...
    - ...A guy I don't particularly like...
    - A guy who's (IMO) a little "off"...
    - A guy who (IMO) ought not own guns, but already has a small arsenal...

    I am stunned that this guy would use me as a reference; How am I supposed to answer these questions on the form?

    Even though I'm very "pro gun", after giving it some thought, I replied as honestly as possible: "No, I didn't think this guy should have more guns."

    I never got any reply.

    A month later, this guy's at work, bragging about his new pistol.

    Go figure.
     
  15. whitehall

    whitehall Member

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    There's a whole website devoted to this.....Linkedin .....lol
     
  16. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

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    I won't accept a LinkedIn request from someone I haven't done business with or would not be able to recommend for a job or service. It cheapens the brand to have a ton of LinkedIn connections whose names you don't really recognize. And it'd be pretty silly if someone asked you about one of your connections and you couldn't tell them anything about them.

    That said, I'd always want plenty of LinkedIn connections from places I work or have worked, as it confirms info on my resume.

    I have gotten four job interviews by finding people (total strangers) on LinkedIn who worked where I was applying, telling them about myself and asking their help in getting my resume noticed. Sometimes they ignore me, but a few have really stepped up and one has become a friend for whom I would love to return the favor someday.
     
  17. georgestrings

    georgestrings Senior Member

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    This...


    - georgestrings
     
  18. hippietim

    hippietim Silver Supporting Member

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    This person is an idiot. Unless your company doesn't check references.
     
  19. Madsen

    Madsen Member

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    i've gone this route with a couple people over the years & it worked out well. i think the verbiage i used was more along the lines of "he's a friend of a friend, i don't know him very well, am not familiar with his work ethic, but he seems like a "good guy", ...assuming you think he is a decent dude.

    i also gave a negative review to an old roomate who used me as a reference after burning me on the living situation. he worked there for a few days bragging about how he got a better job there than i did. HR called up asking me about him because he was making a bunch of personal long distance phone calls on the company dime. i told them "hence my negative review", he was gone within a week.
     
  20. hellbender

    hellbender Member

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    Tell him, "I'll have to think about it". If he persists after that, tell him sorry no.
     

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