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How do you guys do references?

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  • Jun 13th, 2019 9:12 pm
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 29, 2012
1444 posts
320 upvotes
Vancouver

How do you guys do references?

I always have problems providing references. My idiot self left my full-time job to start college full-time (only 3 days a week), I left the job being close with everyone, so I had 2 solid references there.

And then I got my first interview for part-time work, needed to provide references, so I bothered my references and asked them if I can use them as references, provided them to the interviewer, didn't get the job.

Next job interview, needed to provide 3 references, contacted all my references to ask if I can use them, 2 didn't respond back, 1 guy I haven't seen in a year, but we're always texting, said sure I can use him, so I provide him, he's my only reference. Didn't get the job.

6 weeks unemployed, i've applied to like 10 different positions this month, don't really have anymore references, I don't really want to bother people that don't respond, I understand that it's annoying for them...and if someone doesn't respond, that could mean they don't want me to use them as a reference, so I understand. I am now resorting to minimum wage jobs and hoping they don't require references, because I can only provide 1 at most.

Just wondering how the rest of you do it... I am always close with everyone at work, I have a really friendly and personable personality. but when I leave, it quickly becomes like we're strangers. The entire reference thing just doesn't make sense to me. I have to always bother people, multiple times, like a beggar. I don't want to because I understand that people don't want to be bothered for things outside of work. I have good experience in the positions I apply to, they are all warehousing positions, and i've done warehousing for 4 years, good experience in all departments, but they always say "please bring 3 references to the interview." I tried applying to security as well, because I hear a lot of students do that, but the application form itself required 3 professional references.
32 replies
Newbie
User avatar
Mar 1, 2019
49 posts
88 upvotes
Hamilton, ON
I've literally always bullshitted references. Mainly because 90% of jobs I left were left in a bad way, usually involving cursing or my signature move of leaving mid shift.

Best source is friends and family, better if they have different last names. Just have them say they were a co-worker or project manager or something, give them a quick little paper with a script. We worked at so and so from this time to that time and did this and such. Say you babysat for them or landscaped with them, maybe they were your supervisor, whatever. At least with friend or family they might actually pick up the phone. It doesn't always have to be managers.

You could also volunteer somewhere for a couple days to get some reference.

Maybe a professor could vouch, just spam all your teachers and say "can I get a letter of reference", that's what I'm doing. If the teachers don't, maybe you have a program coordinator, there's usually someone at the college who oversees each program. Maybe even a classmate, say you worked on a big project together.

If all else fails you can check out a temp agency, they usually don't care so much and you could use them just to get a reference. But that's a last resort. Sometimes I would take a really shitty job, knowing it was hell, then do a really good job for a day and when they request to have me back I tell the agency no, but that in itself acts as a reference and sometimes they might get you something better. I wouldn't rely on that though, temp agencies are usually bottom of the barrel, but I've had some decent jobs and my brother landed a job in mid $20's per hour from one, so...

References are kinda bullshit anyways, I mean everybody always only picks people who will say good things about them.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
11889 posts
8141 upvotes
Edmonton
Well, my situation may be different than yours, but here's what I do...

When I'm looking for my next contract, I get in touch with a number of my "reference" pool, and let them know that I'm looking for a contract, and ask if it's alright if I use them as a reference. Sometimes that leads to job leads (which is good), sometimes I find out that someone is going on holidays for a period (which is good to know), sometimes I get updated contact information (which is also good). And if nothing else, they know that someone may be getting in touch with them about me, so maybe they can think about how much they miss working with me.

I don't provide references on my resume. Or even at the interview. But if it gets to the stage that the potential client/employer needs to check them, I'll provide them at that point. Typically (as someone who has done the hiring in the past), you only do a reference check on the top 2 or 3 candidates. Nobody has time to call all the references for a stack of resumes.

Often, I'll get a note from my references when a reference check was done. You can even ask your references to send you a text or something if they get one. That way, you know what stage things are at, at least.

If you didn't get the job, it's probably not because your references threw you under the bus or didn't answer the phone. It's probably because you're one candidate out of potentially hundreds, and they thought someone else was a better fit. As noted above, references are a bit of a bogus check anyway, as anyone who's cheating on them will have (likely) worked out a script, and very few people are stupid enough to use a bad reference. And as you move up the career chain, most managers are trained to provide very little other than "Yeah, whatshisface worked here from xxx to yyy." Pretty useless. But they cover their butts.

C
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 29, 2012
1444 posts
320 upvotes
Vancouver
DaFrugalJew wrote: I've literally always bullshitted references. Mainly because 90% of jobs I left were left in a bad way, usually involving cursing or my signature move of leaving mid shift.

Best source is friends and family, better if they have different last names. Just have them say they were a co-worker or project manager or something, give them a quick little paper with a script. We worked at so and so from this time to that time and did this and such. Say you babysat for them or landscaped with them, maybe they were your supervisor, whatever. At least with friend or family they might actually pick up the phone. It doesn't always have to be managers.

You could also volunteer somewhere for a couple days to get some reference.

Maybe a professor could vouch, just spam all your teachers and say "can I get a letter of reference", that's what I'm doing. If the teachers don't, maybe you have a program coordinator, there's usually someone at the college who oversees each program. Maybe even a classmate, say you worked on a big project together.

If all else fails you can check out a temp agency, they usually don't care so much and you could use them just to get a reference. But that's a last resort. Sometimes I would take a really shitty job, knowing it was hell, then do a really good job for a day and when they request to have me back I tell the agency no, but that in itself acts as a reference and sometimes they might get you something better. I wouldn't rely on that though, temp agencies are usually bottom of the barrel, but I've had some decent jobs and my brother landed a job in mid $20's per hour from one, so...

References are kinda bullshit anyways, I mean everybody always only picks people who will say good things about them.
I was thinking about bullshitting references but i'm not really close to anyone. I've tried temp agencies, but none of them give part-time work. Really having a depressing time right now, legit feeling suicidal, I feel worthless. 26 years old and no job. It's at the point where i'm thinking about quitting school to work. even though I spent money on this semester, i'm not sure if it's worth it to be unemployed.
CNeufeld wrote: If you didn't get the job, it's probably not because your references threw you under the bus or didn't answer the phone. It's probably because you're one candidate out of potentially hundreds, and they thought someone else was a better fit. As noted above, references are a bit of a bogus check anyway, as anyone who's cheating on them will have (likely) worked out a script, and very few people are stupid enough to use a bad reference. And as you move up the career chain, most managers are trained to provide very little other than "Yeah, whatshisface worked here from xxx to yyy." Pretty useless. But they cover their butts.

C
yeah, i've been used as references many times, I don't mind being a reference, because I understand how bullshit it is to be required to get a job, but no one ever called me.
Newbie
User avatar
Mar 1, 2019
49 posts
88 upvotes
Hamilton, ON
SquirreI wrote: I was thinking about bullshitting references but i'm not really close to anyone. I've tried temp agencies, but none of them give part-time work. Really having a depressing time right now, legit feeling suicidal, I feel worthless. 26 years old and no job. It's at the point where i'm thinking about quitting school to work. even though I spent money on this semester, I'm not sure if it's worth it to be unemployed.
Honestly, don't give up on school. That is the biggest ticket you can get above all else. My program wasn't even long and I debated staying for similar reasons, saw tons of kids dropping out with the same excuses, but am so glad to have just pushed through it. It's a sacrifice, but worth it. It feels like even a college diploma is the new high school diploma these days, so many people have them. If you can make it work, do it.

Even the diploma itself is a reference. It shows that you are willing to put up with however many years of what we all know to be the education system. Shows that you have at least some dedication and motivation.

Applying for jobs is a numbers game, just keep pushing out resumes and doing interviews. If you want part time go to every mall or restaurant within a reasonable distance and hand off resumes / applications. I doubt a job looking for a dishwasher is gonna go crazy over references and if you last a month you'll probably move up the chain to a line cook or something. Maybe even get free food. You'll probably make friends and get future references. Even if it's not the greatest pay, take what you can get and just keep applying everywhere. Just because you take one job, doesn't mean you can't keep looking in the meantime. Sometimes jobs that pay a little less can lead to good experiences so try not to stress on pay if you can make it work. Sometimes a job that pays $1 or $2 more per hour is complete hell comparitively.

There is really so many jobs out there. It sucks having to find one, and it can be a stressful thing to have to do, it's almost like a job in and of itself. But the more interviews you do, the better you get at it. First one you'll be nervous, but 10th one, you pretty much know everything they can ask you, just keep going and it will get more comfortable.

Like mentioned above, it probably wasn't the references that did any job in and sometimes you'll hear from these employers like a month later out of the blue. Some just want to see that you actually have someone to reference. I mean if it's a part time job anyways, there's probably a lot that maybe won't even bother calling references, imagine how much of a pain in the ass that would be, just to hear someone say yeah I know that ****.

Seriously, email your teachers, there's nothing to lose. I literally had been putting it off myself, finally did it and got a couple victims. Keep it simple, just say "Hello Mr. Knowitall, can I get a reference? Thanks!".
Deal Addict
Jun 24, 2015
4524 posts
1335 upvotes
Woodbridge, ON
my buddy calls me up, says he needs a reference, tells me whos about to cal me, then i take some notes, wait for the call, then give my BS references to make my buddy look good. usually this works 9 times out of 11
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Jul 29, 2005
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Mississauga
You can ask GoodFellaz or someone else on RFD to be a reference.
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Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2007
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Edmonton
Do people still ask for references? I don't give out any in the last 4-5 years. And I change jobs 5+ a year
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Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4117 posts
694 upvotes
Toronto
SquirreI wrote: And then I got my first interview for part-time work, needed to provide references, so I bothered my references and asked them if I can use them as references, provided them to the interviewer, didn't get the job.

Next job interview, needed to provide 3 references, contacted all my references to ask if I can use them, 2 didn't respond back, 1 guy I haven't seen in a year, but we're always texting, said sure I can use him, so I provide him, he's my only reference. Didn't get the job.
Most places only ask for references when they are close to offering you the job. Checking references takes time that many employers would only invest in the top candidate or two.

Are you providing these employers with the names of references pre-emptively? If so, you should stop, and only provide them when asked for them.

Are you sure the employers are actually contacting the references? If they are indeed contacting them, and you are getting turned down for the job afterward, something else may be amiss.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
15945 posts
8816 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
tmkf_patryk wrote: Do people still ask for references? I don't give out any in the last 4-5 years. And I change jobs 5+ a year
It's iffy at best...

In the US, large companies haven't given out the traditional references - ie say that X was a good dependable worker type of thing - but would only confirm employment dates as well as positional titles for years as there's a fear of legal action by both of the former employee and their next employer. In fact, when I used to work for a US employer, I was told not to ask for references for my US-based reports.

As with many things, I suspect that the US practice of not providing references and not asking for them is slowly filtering cross the border.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 29, 2012
1444 posts
320 upvotes
Vancouver
tmkf_patryk wrote: Do people still ask for references? I don't give out any in the last 4-5 years. And I change jobs 5+ a year
Every job I applied for they always tell me "bring 3 references" or on the application it says "must write down 3 professional references"

My idiot self actually turned down a job interview for a job I really wanted a couple years ago because I didn't have a reference and the guy wanted 3.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Nov 23, 2015
753 posts
438 upvotes
Winnipeg
I'm the kind of guy who doesn't like asking for favours and I hate having to call an old boss or coworker from years ago out of the blue to ask for references the odd time that I have applied for a different job. I mean, they seem happy to do it but I just hate asking them to do it. I wish this could be handled differently.
Newbie
Jun 11, 2012
51 posts
24 upvotes
I usually just refuse to provide them. If they don't want to take me on my word or abilities, I don't need to work for them.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 29, 2012
1444 posts
320 upvotes
Vancouver
56kbps wrote: I'm the kind of guy who doesn't like asking for favours and I hate having to call an old boss or coworker from years ago out of the blue to ask for references the odd time that I have applied for a different job. I mean, they seem happy to do it but I just hate asking them to do it. I wish this could be handled differently.
I am the same. From a professional viewpoint it doesn't seem logical or professional at all to ask someone to provide professional references. An interviewer should be able to tell the personality of the man or woman she or he is interviewing from that half hour or more interview. I was in charge of training temp employees for 4 years, and I went through maybe 100 temps/year, around 10-15 different temps/month, and from the first hour I spend with them I can tell whether someone is going to be a good fit or has a good work ethic. Sometimes you can even tell just by looking at their face, attitude, or the way they talk. Logically, it doesn't make sense to make someone call or text a previous supervisor or manager from months or years ago, that's unprofessional in my eyes. You're asking someone to get someone they last talked to weeks, MONTHS, or YEARS ago, to tell you if the person is a good person....and you don't even know if the reference is actually real, it's too inaccurate.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
15945 posts
8816 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
SquirreI wrote: I am the same. From a professional viewpoint it doesn't seem logical or professional at all to ask someone to provide professional references. An interviewer should be able to tell the personality of the man or woman she or he is interviewing from that half hour or more interview. I was in charge of training temp employees for 4 years, and I went through maybe 100 temps/year, around 10-15 different temps/month, and from the first hour I spend with them I can tell whether someone is going to be a good fit or has a good work ethic. Sometimes you can even tell just by looking at their face, attitude, or the way they talk. Logically, it doesn't make sense to make someone call or text a previous supervisor or manager from months or years ago, that's unprofessional in my eyes. You're asking someone to get someone they last talked to weeks, MONTHS, or YEARS ago, to tell you if the person is a good person....and you don't even know if the reference is actually real, it's too inaccurate.
The problem with the interview process in general is some people interview VERY well while others not so much and sometimes that has little bearing on how well they perform on the job - ie. they might be chronically late on the job but make it for the interview 15 minutes early or it might be the other way around. I've found when following up with references that they are usually more telling about the stuff they might not comment on or hesitate in talking about than the applicant. It's those moments that add value to reference checking!
Member
Feb 8, 2017
451 posts
249 upvotes
be very careful with throwing around references, especially if they are legit people who probably are very busy. these people are doing you a favour and don't need to be bothered more than necessary. i only provide references once i get the offer. never before. i don't need some hack recruiter getting hold of my references and trying to leverage them or have a company waste everyones time by contacting the reference and then not moving forward with an offer. who the heII does that? if i'm in the interview process and anyone insists on references before the offer stage i walk. as earlier people have posted references are a farce anyway. like who is going to provide a contact that is going to give someone a negative reference?
Newbie
May 5, 2019
2 posts
4 upvotes
I also think asking for references is very uncomfortable and awkward, even if the people are happy to provide it. I'm very frustrated right now because I have received a job offer, and they contacted my references (who were all past employers and actually did have good things to say about me) but the "reference" consisted of them having to fill out a really long form about me. I have never heard of this type of reference before and don't understand why this company would make it so difficult for people providing the references. One of my references did the form and complained to me that it took him 15 minutes, and the other two decided to give up halfway because it was so complicated! So now I'll have to find fake references in order to keep the job offer. It's really making me rethink working there.

I would really suggest trying to volunteer somewhere to get a reference. That looks really good to employers because you're dedicating your time to helping others. It's also easier to find a volunteer position than a job anyway, plus you can put that on your resume and likely learn new skills that could help you in future jobs. Hang in there though, I know how tough it is to find a job but don't give up.
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Dec 3, 2009
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aubgray1 wrote: ....i only provide references once i get the offer. never before. i don't need some hack recruiter getting hold of my references and trying to leverage them or have a company waste everyones time by contacting the reference and then not moving forward with an offer. who the heII does that? if i'm in the interview process and anyone insists on references before the offer stage i walk.
This. With those hack recruiters it's common they ask for references upfront for their database.

Some references, depending on their industry are very easy to find if they are what they say they are and their info checks out. Some, not so much.
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Deal Addict
Jul 19, 2004
1173 posts
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Vancouver
To be honest, I wouldn't worry about the references part too much. If need be just get a couple friends to be your reference. It doesn't have to strictly be a work reference at all. If they like you they won't even bother contacting them.

I notice your location is Vancouver, what kind of jobs are you looking for? If you are just looking for any part time work there's a huge shortage for retail and you shouldn't have a problem at all, references or not.
Deal Addict
Aug 18, 2018
1786 posts
1367 upvotes
Bay Area
craftsman wrote: It's iffy at best...

In the US, large companies haven't given out the traditional references - ie say that X was a good dependable worker type of thing - but would only confirm employment dates as well as positional titles for years as there's a fear of legal action by both of the former employee and their next employer. In fact, when I used to work for a US employer, I was told not to ask for references for my US-based reports.

As with many things, I suspect that the US practice of not providing references and not asking for them is slowly filtering cross the border.
That's only for the next-to-useless "official" HR reference. It's really only used to confirm you're not fibbing any details about your employment (length/history, title/salary etc). When I applied to my current company, they wanted a reference before even granting me an interview, and afterwards they asked for 3 more references. At least in my line of work (chemistry), it's almost unfathomable to NOT ask for professional references. The interview only tells you how well the person knows their stuff, but says nothing about their work ethic or how they get along with others.

In the end it all depends on the field I suppose. Since references are part and parcel of my field, everyone knows the rules and are happy to provide them as long as you give them enough notice.

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