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Job Reference

  • 28-12-2022 4:59pm
    Registered Users Posts: 14

    I am currently working in the private sector and have interviewed for a similar role in the public sector. I passed the interview, and the next step is to provide certain things, one of which is a reference from my current employer. The new role will not offer me a contract without this, and stated not to give in my notice to my current employer until all information has been given, including the reference. They have also stated they want a reference from a team lead (me providing there work email address) and not HR, however I have yet to find out if my current employer gives those type of references.

    I am unsure how to ask my current employer this, without opening a discussion about me leaving, when I have not technically secured the role with the new employer.

    Has anyone else come across this when moving jobs or have any ideas on how I might handle this?

    Thank you


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,803 ✭✭✭✭The Nal

    You haven't technically secured the role with the new employer but you have the job. This is just a box tick excercise.

    As long as the reference is positive you'll be fine so ask your current employer asap.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,711 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    I've heard this a few times with public sector jobs and it kind of boggles my mind, tbh. I simply can't imagine asking my current employer for a reference before I'd even told them I was leaving. And I'd be very loathe to hand in my notice in any job without a signed contract in place for the next one. It seems bananas to me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 336 ✭✭Tech_Head

    They’re not asking the OP to hand in their notice, just to have a reference.

    In some large companies, they only want to provide basic HR references which include things like how long you have been with them and what date you finished or if you are an active employee.

    Depending on your relationship with your manager, you could say that you’ve been approached by a company and want to have a discussion with them but that they would like to have a reference. If you’re cautious, you’ll have to tell public sector that your company’s policy is to provide limited references.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,711 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    Yeah, and if you ask your current employer for a reference, what's their immediate assumption going to be???

    I dunno, maybe it's just me but I have literally never heard of this happening in the private sector. I've never, ever been asked for a reference from my current employer until after contracts are signed and notice has been given. Of course, the contract usually has a clause that specifies the entire offer is contingent on satisfactory references.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 51,688 Mod ✭✭✭✭Stheno

    I have. Contracts signed Subject to background checks which include current references.

    I was jobhunting a few months ago and two of four offers were subject to this. Fil the check despite the signed contract and you are gone

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,711 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    Is this not exactly what I just said, though? Contract/offer subject to satisfactory references, but you're not expected to provide them in advance.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 10,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    So if the OP does not get the job and in these recessionary times his manager is asked to prepare a list of how gets the chop, what do you think are the chances the OP will be on that list???? On the few occasion I had to prepare such a list the first one where the ones that did not want to be there, followed by those who were likely to leave. Perhaps you live in a different world....

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 10,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    If the new employer is unwilling to make you an offer subject to a good reference and at the same time trying to do a CYA by telling you that you should not resign, then I'd say there is a very real change that you may not be offered the job. Consequently you need to consider your position with your current employer, is the new job worth putting yourself in an unfavourable light with them if it does not work out? Only you can decide on that one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,584 ✭✭✭✭kippy

    Standard enough Public Sector policy from what I've seen.

    Been there myself many years ago.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14 Paula10

    Hi all,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    With everything mentioned, I understand the new role wanting a reference from current employer, as my experience is relevant to the new role.

    However, I find it hard to understand how I am to approach my team lead mentioning that I need her work email for a reference as that is specifically what the new employer wants (no idea what this reference is, be it a summary of performance or a tick the box on a scale of 1-10), without officially handing in notice.

    On employee handbook, all it mentions is providing reference(seems to be a general one from HR), once final salary has been paid. This is not what the new employer wants, therefore where does that leave me with getting officially hired by contract.

    Also, I have yet to see the contract to find out further details about the role, that this is the right position for me, so I do not want to sore relationship with current employer.

    I am sure this is possibly standard for going into public sector but querying how someone else has handled this.

    Post edited by Paula10 on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 375 ✭✭FluffPiece

    Ask the public role for the reference check to be the very last thing done, but to put your mind at ease, I worked recruitment in a LA previously and if you are being considered for the role and they are looking for documents and references, then you have the job. The only reason you wouldn't get it at this stage, is if you don't have any paperwork like qualifications that you may have claimed to have etc.

    This is standard policy and I can see why it's off putting to people in the private sector, but in the public sector, it's normal to be able to talk about leaving the job with your local line manager/hr.

  • Registered Users Posts: 121 ✭✭garyscargo

    One suggestion is to tell your employer/team lead that you're looking to join a professional body, and that they want a letter confirming your current position/role, length of service, etc. as part of the membership application process. Roll your eyes about them wanting it, and offer to draft the letter yourself to minimise the inconvenience, etc. And, hey presto, a letter that looks a lot like a reference (without actually being a reference in your employer's eyes). I've used this approach myself once before without (I think) raising suspicion.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,952 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    Won't work in this case: they want the team leader's email address to send them a questionnaire.

    OP if you want the public sector job, you just have to tell your current employer the truth. It sucks but there's no way round it, and no way to hide what's going on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,993 ✭✭✭✭Wishbone Ash

    You're overthinking it. I deal with public sector recruitment regularly and it's standard practice across the board. We always ask potential candidates not to resign/give notice in their current role as the recruitment process is often delayed by the candidates themselves failing to provide the required documentation or failing to provide a start date after multiple attempts at trying to establish one. The public service unfortunately has to deal with an awful lot of time wasters.

    (We also do not accept HR references. It has to be from someone with actual oversight of the candidate - not someone in a remote office who has never met/does not know the candidate nor has any knowledge of the role.)

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 10,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    This is a dumb idea. If you hand someone a reference letter don't be surprised if they decide to check it. And then you have been caught out on a lie to both your current and future employer.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 10,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    Well if your employer's policy is not to give out reference until the last pay cheque is done and dusted then it's a big ask to expect a manager to break company policy on top of everything else. So I'd expect the answer would be no, I really can't see anyone going out of their way for someone that is exiting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,681 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    There are places that, once they know you are leaving, your access will be removed from certain systems.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,952 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    And people wonder why the public sector has difficulty getting staff.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,681 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    Well I was referring to the private sector. I don't know how it is in the public sector. I gather they don't really care if/when you bounce around internally

  • Registered Users Posts: 336 ✭✭Tech_Head

    I’m not sure why you felt the need to question whether I lived in a different world. I live in the world of having had employees in this very situation while working for a global multinational company and yes, have been there for quite some time. Maybe our companies do have different approaches but doesn’t make either one of our feedbacks invalid.

    The relationship with a manager will dictate a lot of how to proceed here which is why I mentioned it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,681 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    I worked in a large organisation (not in Ireland). A girl that I knew there applied for a role in another team. The manager of the team that she applied to informally contacted her current manager before he was supposed to. In the end up, she didn't get the new role but her current manager learned that she was looking.

    When it came to her own review (she was on a fixed term contract which was nearly up) her current manager only gave her one year for her new contract and said "why would I give you more when you don't want to work for this team".

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,952 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    Which is my point.

    The public sector has a very high proportion of deadwood because they make it very difficult for anyone with outside experience to get in. There's not enough healthy exposure and cross-learning between sectors.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,681 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    Well they wouldn't be wanting anyone else coming in with a private sector work ethic and making them look bad or lazy....................

  • Registered Users Posts: 14 Paula10

    Thank you for all the comments above.

    There is no right or wrong on this one, I think it is just a difficult position to be in.

    I think potentially my employer won’t give me a reference whilst I am still working for them without even having given notice, going on what I have read about the policy.

    Not sure where this will leave me with being officially hired.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,529 ✭✭✭kaymin

    Personally I wouldn't be willing to provide a reference from my current employer without a signed contract. If they wanted me they would need to change their policy / approach.

  • Registered Users Posts: 121 ✭✭garyscargo

    Where is the lie to the future employer? They're getting a real letter from a real team lead or manager of a real company describing a real position that you really hold. If they chase it up at any point, it will hold up as it's all true. It's no "ticking bomb" sitting on your future employee file. Bar possibly surprising the team lead if chased up immediately while you're still employed by the old company, where's the issue? 

    Fine, a bit of (harmless) pretence is used to get what amounts to a "letter of good standing" from a current employer to serve as a reference instead of having to ask directly, which can be awkward at best for both sides (or manifest real problems if your manager is a priggish dick who will actively or passively make things difficult once they know you are looking to exit). I can actually think of various plausible reasons why one might ask for a letter of good standing; the professional body thing was just one example I have personally used. You can even ask that the letter emphasise your good standing and permanence/ongoing employment in the company to allay suspicion.

    While not really applicable in this particular case, as noted above due to the questionnaire requirement, I maintain that this is a pretty reasonable and benign option to get a written reference from a current employer without asking directly. Won't always work, of course, but what does? 

    P.S. As someone who has a close friend with a non-verbal adult child with special needs, I just love the derogatory use of the word "dumb", by the way. Kudos! 

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 10,292 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    So when the new employer rings up to confirm this so call reference is told by the person who wrote it that they never wrote a reference and the only thing that they can remember is a letter confirming his experience for some professional body or whatever the excuse was... you don't thinking that they'd both be pretty POed about it?????

    And as for your PS, you know exactly the context in which it was used. And I have no time for people who take things out of context and go off on one. And you are not the only one with children that have special need, I have too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 77 ✭✭dells35

    What happens if an employer is not willing to give a reference? Do you loose out on the job offer then? Also what happens if you leave your current job in the meanwhile?

  • Registered Users Posts: 14 APComms123

    From what I've heard, if this is for recruitment through PAS they try to be as helpful as possible. I've known several people either hired for a job and can't get anything more than a standard letter confirming employment details, dates etc, or friends in HR in private sector who refuse as company policy to give anything more than standard letter. Speaking to PAS to explain the situation can sometimes lead to solutions, for example getting a couple of previous employers to fill out the reference form if current employer refuses, getting character references etc.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 77 ✭✭dells35