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Old 24.08.2011, 11:26
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References....

Hi,

I have applied for a role and the agency have been gathering references from my previous employers. Despite receiving several positive reference one of my previous employers gave what the agent described as an average reference and therefore deemed negative!!

I am not sure where I stand now. In the UK employers are very reluctant to give out information and when they give out the basics in Switzerland its deemed negative :-s I have tried to get in contact with the employer to discuss a proper work reference but she is away. The agents are on a deadline and are not willing to wait grrrr

Anyone else dealt with this and have tips on how to overcome it?
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Old 24.08.2011, 11:48
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Re: References....

When I was applying for a job here, references was the one thing about the interview process that surprised me the most. I had a brief telephone interview, and then was invited to Basel for formal interviews - however, they asked me to provide references from ALL my past employers and my current employer - BEFORE the interview.
I explained there was no way I could provide reference for companies I worked at 10 years ago. Fortunately, I had written copies from previous jobs in France & Germany - but I knew my UK employer only gave out standard "I can confirm that Foxinthesnow worked here satisfactorily from Jan 2008 to Dec 2009" sort of thing. According to HR, they did not want to give personal recommendations, in case this somehow caused legal issues later on, if a new employer was not satisfied (not sure I buy this, but I know its a common policy in the UK).
This of course overlooks the fact that it is very awkward asking a current employer for a reference - when you haven't told them you are leaving, and have not even had an interview for the new job.

Anyway - How I got around this, was asking a previous boss at the UK company (who had since retired) to write a personal reference for me. I even sent him the job advert i was applying for, so he could tailor the reference. He then sent the reference directly to the Swiss company.

So maybe there is another colleague you used to work with/boss you used to work for, who would write you a personal reference - rather than going via HR.
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Old 24.08.2011, 11:53
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Re: References....

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Hi,

I have applied for a role and the agency have been gathering references from my previous employers. Despite receiving several positive reference one of my previous employers gave what the agent described as an average reference and therefore deemed negative!!

I am not sure where I stand now. In the UK employers are very reluctant to give out information and when they give out the basics in Switzerland its deemed negative :-s I have tried to get in contact with the employer to discuss a proper work reference but she is away. The agents are on a deadline and are not willing to wait grrrr

Anyone else dealt with this and have tips on how to overcome it?
You can also ask the new company to telephone the old employer, they might be happy to do that.
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Old 24.08.2011, 12:12
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Re: References....

Thanks,

Ok, so I work in HR so not going through the HR director is very difficult. Also, playing the Corporate Politics game, if I asked another boss in the Company to write me a reference, they would go through the HR Director to 'make sure it was OK' and then she would probably get p*ssed with me for going over her head.

They have called her and she gave the usual satisfactory responses which is what the believe to be negative.

I feel there is nothing I can do and that a satisfactory reference from a UK perspective is what I will have to accept, which in turn is now a negative reference from a Swiss perspective. I ahve explained this to the agent but he just doesn't seem to accept it.
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Old 24.08.2011, 12:22
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Re: References....

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Thanks,

Ok, so I work in HR so not going through the HR director is very difficult. Also, playing the Corporate Politics game, if I asked another boss in the Company to write me a reference, they would go through the HR Director to 'make sure it was OK' and then she would probably get p*ssed with me for going over her head.

They have called her and she gave the usual satisfactory responses which is what the believe to be negative.

I feel there is nothing I can do and that a satisfactory reference from a UK perspective is what I will have to accept, which in turn is now a negative reference from a Swiss perspective. I ahve explained this to the agent but he just doesn't seem to accept it.
cant you simply leave out the reference? or turn it into your favor by saying that manager got fired and you are not in touch with the one in charge now. there is always a way around things (unless you are from Switzerland )
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Old 24.08.2011, 12:25
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Re: References....

Here in CH it's quite normal to ask for a 'Zwischenzeugnis' from your current employer... A CH collegue of mine asks for one on a yearly basis.
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Old 24.08.2011, 13:17
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Re: References....

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Here in CH it's quite normal to ask for a 'Zwischenzeugnis' from your current employer... A CH collegue of mine asks for one on a yearly basis.
I second that. I'm not a 100% sure how it's usually handled but my employers only ever called my last bosses, but that reference has been really important. They do call and base their decision on that (oral) reference. Reference letters I get on a regular basis, when I change responabilities, as well as when I leave the company.
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Old 24.08.2011, 13:32
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Re: References....

They should know that the system is different in the UK and getting a reference in the way they want may not be possible, let alone "coded" in the way they expect. And you could always ask them if they've ever heard of "British Understatement", which should explain the "satisfactory"
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Old 24.08.2011, 14:01
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Re: References....

I had the exact same problem. For this, I provided them with co-worker
references from my previous projects, a.k.a. beer drinking buddies.

They don't give references in the US either so I did just what
I said above. That was the best that I could provde.
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Old 24.08.2011, 14:19
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Re: References....

Hope this helps;

references-ref.jpg
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Old 24.08.2011, 14:21
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Re: References....

Very funny Mirfield - but surely darkhorsedrea is a Mrs - not a bloke.
Her avatar even has a picture of a woman (presumably her).
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Old 24.08.2011, 14:26
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Re: References....

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Very funny Mirfield - but surely darkhorsedrea is a Mrs - not a bloke.
Her avatar even has a picture of a woman (presumably her).
Damn!

Maybe they won't notice....
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Old 24.08.2011, 14:31
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Re: References....

Hope this helps;

references-ref2.jpg
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Old 24.08.2011, 14:41
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Re: References....

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Hope this helps;

Attachment 31457
Ouch!!!!!!
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Old 24.08.2011, 22:35
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Re: References....

I have also had an experience when a potential Swiss employer asked for a letter of reference, which I provided, and then called up my ex-boss for a personal chat without asking for my permission. When he told me about that, I asked whether this is often done in Switzerland without a candidate's permission. He told me that I provided him with a letter with contact details, so he felt free to contact them.
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Old 24.08.2011, 22:59
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Re: References....

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I have also had an experience when a potential Swiss employer asked for a letter of reference, which I provided, and then called up my ex-boss for a personal chat without asking for my permission. When he told me about that, I asked whether this is often done in Switzerland without a candidate's permission. He told me that I provided him with a letter with contact details, so he felt free to contact them.
That is interesting for sure. In Switzerland, it is against the law
to give information about employees or former employees without
permission of the employee.
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Old 24.08.2011, 23:09
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Re: References....

Have you considered 21st Century alternatives like informal "ratings" from colleagues/ex-colleagues on "networking" sites like LinkedIn, Xing etc.?

Many organizations verify application information against these sites for consistency and corroboration.

What would the potential employer find out about you from Google? Is this supportive of your application or does it need work?
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Old 25.08.2011, 16:50
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Re: References....

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That is interesting for sure. In Switzerland, it is against the law
to give information about employees or former employees without
permission of the employee.
The past employer provided good feedback apparently, so the potential employer offered me a job (I declined it for other reasons). Anyway, I was suggesting that even a "worked with us since... until ...." reference could be a start, if they call the past employer and receive positive verbal feedback.
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Old 28.08.2011, 20:05
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Re: References....

Hi,

In Switzerland what is the "standard" number of references an employer requires? Do they really ask for references covering your whole career?

In England, my experience is that employers require 2 references - one from your current/last employer and one from the one before.

Thanks
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