References for the Unknown?

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20 Replies - 2157 Views - Last Post: 30 July 2009 - 11:50 AM

#1 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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References for the Unknown?

Post icon  Posted 27 July 2009 - 07:36 AM

I'm sure it's happened to more than just me. The phone rings. It's your mother, your sister, your best friend, your old football coach. And they all have a favor to ask. They want you to give a reference... put in a "good word"... or otherwise stick your neck out for someone they know - someone you've never met - to help said person "get their foot in the door" with your company. How do you tactfully handle these situations? Do you give the reference and hope for the best? Do you ignore the request altogether? Do you research the applicant in question to make your decision?

This post has been edited by Core: 30 July 2009 - 02:26 AM


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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:19 AM

I'm confused - are you talking about giving references to acquaintances or people that are sufficiently closer in relationship to you?

I mean if label someone: you mom, sister, or best friend you shouldn't have to research them, right? You should have a pretty clear cut idea if you can or cannot give them a reference and I would wager you would give a positive to any one of those three.

Now an old football coach? I'm not sure if you were be a good reference and indicate that.

I figure if someone thinks of you as a reference and can actually get a hold of you have enough background information on them to provide a yes/no to doing the reference.
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#3 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:23 AM

He's not talking about those people, he's talking about them asking him to do a reference for somebody they know, but that he may not.

Quote

stick your neck out for someone they know

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#4 5thWall  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:47 AM

Well, when you give a reference you're basically saying that you know the person and can vouch for their skills/work ethic/etc. If you don't actually know the person then you're essentially lying. So, do you really want to lie for a stranger even at the request of a friend? Well, maybe you do, it's your life, but I wouldn't.

If whoever is asking you to give the reference insists then ask to see some of their work or meet the person so that you can give an honest reference.
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#5 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:49 AM

View Postmodi123_1, on 27 Jul, 2009 - 09:19 AM, said:

I'm confused - are you talking about giving references to acquaintances or people that are sufficiently closer in relationship to you?



"Hey! I have this friend who just got laid off from Factory-X. He likes to do computer stuff. Do you think you could get him on at your office?"

-- Well, what can he do?

"I don't know. Computer stuff. I know he made his own web page once."

-- Was it any good?

"I don't know. I didn't see it. You can give him a reference, right? I think he'd work hard. And I'll bet he's a fast learner."

-- Um...

"I already gave him your phone number so he can find out where to send the resume..."

This post has been edited by BenignDesign: 27 July 2009 - 08:50 AM

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#6 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:51 AM

I never ask for a reference unless I knew/know the person myself in some capacity. I wouldn't recommend giving a reference for someone you've never met, EVEN if the request comes from a family member you know well...

Vouching for the unknown puts your ass on the line too. :/
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#7 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 10:59 AM

ah.. I get it now.. that's what I get for trying to place coherent thought together before my morning brain juices are flowing.

In that case I would say no. I can't even remember a time that scenario has ever come up (for me that is).
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#8 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 11:05 AM

I have a simple rule: If I dont know you then you dont get a reference, I dont care who is asking :)
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#9 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 04:30 PM

I would agree with PsychoCoder. How could I possibly recommend somebody I don't know? It wouldn't matter who was to ask. I would be diplomatic about it though.
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#10 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 05:03 PM

I can only give a reference for someone I know as a business associate. Friends are friends, but if you ask me if they're any good at their job all I can honestly do is vouch for character. I've had some good friends who are probably pretty awful at their jobs, actually.

I won't lie, so I may not be the best reference, come to think of it. :P
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#11 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 07:42 PM

A good rule of judgment that was given to me when I got my friend a job...

"Your job was to bring me a potential candidate. If I hire them & they don't work out, then I as the interviewer have failed. I wasted my own time due to the lack of my interviewing capabilities."

So, with that in mind, don't vouch for them. You simply have a family member (or friend of a family member) whom that needs a job. You have brought the two together to let them work it out. State that, or... something to that manor.

View Postbaavgai, on 27 Jul, 2009 - 06:03 PM, said:

I've had some good friends who are probably pretty awful at their jobs, actually.

Aww, I didn't know you considered us good friends :wub:
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#12 Locke  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 27 July 2009 - 10:39 PM

If they seemed like they were worthy (for lack of a better word), I'd meet them and discuss their experience and such. I'd basically have my own little interview. If they seem like a person I'd like to work with (depending on the position), or cut out for this career...Sure, I'd make a recommendation.

But only on those terms.

Given B9's example (maybe example? Maybe real?), I would not give them a chance, since it didn't seem on good authority that they are actually decent at performing said task.

BUT, I'm not in a career situation yet, even. STUDENT FTW. :lol:
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#13 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 28 July 2009 - 05:40 AM

View PostLocke, on 27 Jul, 2009 - 11:39 PM, said:

Given B9's example (maybe example? Maybe real?)...


Used as an example, but not really an example. It was an actual, honest to the non-denominational-higher-power-of-your-choice conversation I had with my mother last weekend. Except that it wasn't her friend. It was the boyfriend of my brother-in-law's best friend's mom. Gotta love small town livin'.
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#14 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 28 July 2009 - 11:51 AM

:lol: Not even a shred of blood relation on the applicant.
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#15 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: References for the Unknown?

Posted 28 July 2009 - 12:24 PM

View PostKYA, on 28 Jul, 2009 - 12:51 PM, said:

:lol: Not even a shred of blood relation on the applicant.


That would depend on just how small the town was... :P
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