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💡 Invincible Tip - Is Someone Damaging Your Reputation?
Check if a past employer is providing negative references
They were so frustrated. The past few months of interviewing seemed to have hit a wall. They described the situation…
“The interviews go well. It seems like they're getting ready to put an offer together. Then they start checking references, and suddenly, I get ghosted! Or they tell me they decided to move forward with a different candidate.”
We had our suspicions about a particular manager at a past company. Perhaps my coaching client had been a bit “too honest” in the job exit interview. They had offered constructive feedback in good faith, but it was possible this manager’s skin was a little too thin.
Pro tip: The exit interview is never beneficial for you. Resist the urge to share honest feedback, criticism, or advice. Smile and move on to better things!
After months of “detective work” and digging into the problem, the truth was revealed. Yes, this manager was saying some pretty negative things in reference calls when speaking with my client’s potential employers. No wonder they were getting ghosted!
Have you had a similar experience?
Are you curious about what your past bosses are saying about you?
Do you wonder if someone is smearing your professional reputation?
Have you had a job interview and offer process suddenly and surprisingly turn cold?
Would you like to be a “fly on the wall” when someone calls your past managers for reference checks?
Well, guess what? There is a way to find out.
You could ask a savvy, trusted friend to pose as someone checking your references for a job. Some people do this. But, it could backfire if your friend doesn’t handle the situation appropriately.
It’s probably best to use a professional reference-checking service. They will call your references and report back to you exactly what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. This can help you get to the bottom of the issue and confirm or dispel your suspicions.
If you discover that a past employer is making false statements about you, it’s time to talk with a lawyer. You may have a case for a defamation lawsuit.
Note: Under the laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), negative or false employment references may be illegal.
It is illegal for an employer to give a negative or false employment reference (or refuse to give a reference) because of a person's race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.
Larry Cornett is a Personal Coach who can help you optimize your career, life, and business. If you’re interested in starting a business or side hustle someday (or accelerating an existing one), check out his “Employee to Solopreneur” workshop (coming soon).
Larry lives in Northern California near Lake Tahoe with his wife and a gigantic Great Dane. He does his best to share advice to help others take complete control of their work and life. He’s also on Mastodon.