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01 August 2012

Work references? Are there guidelines/procedures/conventions for requesting/renewing them? [More:]

In my specific case, my manager at a previous job (~18 mos. ago?) is no longer there. I worked with someone higher up, but I'm not sure if I can/should approach him or what the best way of doing so is. We're connected on LinkedIn, for whatever that's worth, and there's an email address in his profile.

How the heck do people do references? Do they really keep in touch with ex-supervisors from years back?
Someone once listed me as a reference long after I left the job where I supervised her work (we had also been colleagues at a previous job) and when I was called as a reference, I forgot that I had supervised her. I sounded like a total ding-dong and I imagine the job checking on her assumed she was a liar. When I realized my gaffe I called back but who knows if that helped. So embarrassing. Moral of the story: give your references a heads up, especially if they're from a past job!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 01 August | 11:42
Oh, I would definitely do that. I'm just worried about not being able to get in touch with some of them. My best references are ~5yrs. old now (which is considered old).
posted by Eideteker 01 August | 12:18
It probably doesn't matter how long ago it was, what's more important is the length of time you worked for them. "It's been 5 years since I worked with Eide, but we worked together for 20 years so I think I know him pretty well." 20 years good; 6 months, not so much.
posted by Melismata 01 August | 12:58
Definitely ask them first - you'd be surprised how many people don't. I always send them a copy of my application so that, if they get called, they know what I am applying for and what I have said.

A reference from 18 months ago would be fine, but I would be dubious about one from 5 years ago, no matter how ling you had worked there. I'd expeect to be able to contact someone more recent as well.

I would contact your ex-manager and ask. People on those positions get asked al the time to be referees for people (well, I do) so it shouldn't bother them. It's much more tricky when you are not likely to give them a good reference and they don't know that ;-)
posted by dg 01 August | 15:41
If a recent past job was at a firm big enough to have a legit HR department, contact them and ask if someone from HR can serve as a reference. At the least, they can confirm you worked there, but would probably pull your file and reference your performance reviews, any good stuff.
posted by rainbaby 02 August | 06:30
Most big companies won't give out official references for fear of being sued. Usually all they will do is confirm the dates of employment. So going through HR is usually pretty useless.

That said, contact your old manager and ask if he'd be willing to give a reference. I've gotten good references from a number of ex-managers.
posted by octothorpe 02 August | 09:17
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