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Reference for a peer

Unremarkable

War Hero
If you enjoy workplace politics, there is the 'Damning with Faint Praise' approach: "To my knowledge, Zebedee carried out all management's instructions to an adequate standard". But I don't play games with people's lives, so if I feel unable to give a good reference, I decline. Every time.
 
I'm starting to see why the senior leadership team are keen for me to provide the reference.

'We thought he was sh!t, we never told you he was any good. Who's this Gamer bloke?'

You got it.

My Mrs as a senior HR person will only provide a reference to someone she knows really, really, well - we are talking possibly half a dozen people over the last 20 years. Ordinarily regardless of whether they are the cleaner or senior director of IT, or mergers and acquisitions they get the standard service.

All that a large company will provide to mitigate any potential legal action, or problems is the dates of employment, role and maybe, possibly, perhaps terminated, or resigned - that final one I can't remember 100%, I can ask her indoors later if you need to know.
 
The advice I was given [many years ago]was, If you can't write the person a good reference,
don't give the reference, so if you can't write the reference with a good heart don't write it, IMHO

Bck in the day if the person was a knobber they used to get the written details of employment pro forma with the caveat of Please telephone for further information. Then when the phone call was received they would slag off the person, nowadays even that is not done anymore. Though in small specialist job groups if someone knows someone then the odd phone call may still be made.
 
To whom it may concern,
If you should consider giving Mr Smith a berth, be sure it is a wide one.

Seriously though the bloke’s symptomatic of why things are oftentimes not well run in this country: idiots with more ambition and misplaced self-belief than ability. He might be a nice bloke but he’s been willing to inflict misery on his colleagues and potential damage to the organisation. Now he wants you- reading between the lines someone quite respected- to back his chances of screwing up somewhere else. You don’t want to be associated with his next train crash.
Respectfully decline his request.
 
I am in a bit of a tricky dilemma. Not army related, but you guys have given me good advice in the past, so here goes...

I did a job at x company, working directly to a board member. There are 3 levels in my job, assistant, technician and chartered. I see myself in the middle of this and I am quite clear I can do a good job at an intermediate level.

Because of agency rates, they were paying for a chartered salary, I was getting paid under a technician level. The board member didn't really understand the nature of the role. She also didn't really understand the business which meant there was quite a bit of debate between the 2 of us. She also didn't understand some of the legal requirements of the job, which got to the point that I was doing things for free to protect the business and myself.

In the end, I took another job. Whilst I was gone, the Director appointed another person on a ftc and increased his salary by £10k, her and the management team apparently went on about how they had now got someone 'at the right level',

6 months later, I was offered a similar level job (in another part of the business) and came back to the organisation. My replacement is now reporting to the CEO, the original director had 'moved on' and the last remaining manager in the old part of the organisation has just left.

I do not have a relationship with the CEO, this suits me, I am known by the other members of the Board and I have a good reputation. The CEO is pulling out his hair, with the standard of work handed to him by my replacement. He has outsourced 60% of my original job to a professional firm and is still cocking up the remaining 40% of the role. An individual auditor has come in and has done a report to say he basically can't understand how things have gone downhill 'until this date (my last day) everything worked etc, but now things have deteriorated.

Unofficially, we have been approached by the outsourced firm asking us to release them from the work. They are spending twice the amount of work as there are multiple issues associated with the work they are asked to do. They are concerned about their reputation of carrying on working for him, which is why they have continued to carry on (EDIT - as opposed to telling him to 'do one' and then being blamed for the mess that would follow).

The leadership team are preparing to get rid of him. He has asked me if I would be willing to provide a reference. His management has largely moved on, I am the only person who really understands his role and he has alienated the senior management team.

I am very torn, quite frankly he is desperate. The leadership team have told me, if he leaves they will turn a blind eye and would rather he had a job to support his family rather than sack him.

He is a really nice guy, he's just oversold himself. A previous colleague to me has said he wasn't deemed competent at his last job and he just can't seem to perform at a technical level and often leaves things to the last minute or calls in sick for important meetings.

I can see he can do certain things at the expected level, but he's not versatile, willing to go the extra mile and he's stubborn and won't ask for help.

I plan to be honest about our relationship (peers) and to comment on what he can do well. I want to comment on things he may need help with, but it feels like I am stabbing him in the back and I am concerned about my own reputation damage if he is taken on and doesn't perform.
Three parts
1. OVERVIEW of your professional relationship (non supervisory with a very brief description of your responsibilities)
2. OUTLINE of his current responsibilities (which you know in detail)
3. SUMMARY of the positive requirements needed to succeed at 2 together with an oblique mention that'Joe' has a tendency to pursue difficult issues independently (and similar relevant negatives spun in a positive sense - two or three are enough), no judgement being made, no untruths, in fact, not a lot.......to the trained eye. Your Peer will probably not notice. Your rep remains intact.........However, a word of warning..........do not use your business headed paper.......this is a personal reference and should be marked as such......it cannot, must not be associated in any way with your employer.......or you are in trouble.
 
Having held a role as an employer, the only legal requirement to your employees in providing a reference is to give details of the employees appointment title, the length the person was employed, how they were terminated and any sickness absence. Anything else and the former employer would be subject to a legal challenge.
Once, whist still serving, we got shut of an absolute head banger of a civvy AO female, to another military HQ. It was mutual, we didn't want her and she thought we were all antichrist heretics who laughed at her belief in Angels etc....you can see where this is going.
Roll on a few months and I get an irate Chief Clerk on the blower, downloading his ire about her and why the feck we didn't let him know that she was like before he took her on!
The law.
This goes back to the requirement to conduct challenging interviews, comprising people who know the business and are not afraid of asking probing questions.
I only charge £500 per hour or part thereof, plus all expenses.
 

Dark_Nit

LE
Book Reviewer
I've had a similar situaton where we terminated the cntract of someone who ought to have been excellent but wasn't. He is well qualified with a good engineering degree, had spent 25 years, 10+ in a senior technical position in a large multi-national household name company but could barely use a computer keyboard and had absolutely no drive at all and was utterly useless as a consultant engineer.

He asked us for a reference, which we gave him because he was and is a nice guy who will probably be ok turning a handle at a basic level. The reference went something like.

Dave worked for us for 9 months. During that time he was an absolute pleasure to have around the office. He is a friendly and outgoing person who will get on well with almost everyone etc etc

Basically, we gave him a personal reference but any potential employer reading it should / would have spotted that we made no reference to his quality of work or abilities.

Last we heard of him, he was working for a contractor churning out data sheets - a job for a junior engineer which he will be perfectly adequate for.
 
What he said.

They created this two-faced, lying, back-stabbing world of mistrust between colleagues. Let them deal with the spineless, deceitful working environment that they have created, where no one is free to utter an opinion without fear of criticism or retribution.

I am bitter and have been drinking. Does it show?

ETA;- "Human Resources." It sounds like a cattle truck on the way to Auschwitz. What was wrong with "Personnel Dept.?"
They couldn't spell it correctly?

did personnel management as resettlement (only cos it were in Guz) but stayed in engineering cos dealing with civvie whinging admin cases would have really pizzed me off.
 
I've had a similar situaton where we terminated the cntract of someone who ought to have been excellent but wasn't. He is well qualified with a good engineering degree, had spent 25 years, 10+ in a senior technical position in a large multi-national household name company but could barely use a computer keyboard and had absolutely no drive at all and was utterly useless as a consultant engineer.

He asked us for a reference, which we gave him because he was and is a nice guy who will probably be ok turning a handle at a basic level. The reference went something like.

Dave worked for us for 9 months. During that time he was an absolute pleasure to have around the office. He is a friendly and outgoing person who will get on well with almost everyone etc etc

Basically, we gave him a personal reference but any potential employer reading it should / would have spotted that we made no reference to his quality of work or abilities.

Last we heard of him, he was working for a contractor churning out data sheets - a job for a junior engineer which he will be perfectly adequate for.
That is unlawful in the current employment arena. If I, as the employee, caught wind of that, I would be rubbing my hands at the expectation of a massive financial windfall.
You are not allowed to make that kind of reference.

ETA:
Put yourself in the position of the employee for a minute. He or she may have not fitted in or may have been a whistleblower. How easy would it have been for a former employer to shiit in his/her dish for doing nothing more than exposing fraud/abuse etc.
This is why it is entirely unlawful to conduct yourselves this way as employers.
-Period employed
-Time taken as sick/health
-Employment Role
 
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