two years ago I have worked for a company for some months, I was offered a consecutive job there and I was given a certificate of employment. The certificate was good, but it could have been better from my point of view. I have declined the offer because I wanted to put more work into my academic carreer. I have also asked if it was possible to get some more detailed feedback on my work and what was missing for a better rating in the certificate of employment, but I wasn't given any info other than that I had been performing good but not perfect. Since then I have been offered two jobs by that company. I have declined both because of my studies (and told the recruiters this reason). They have approached me with two more offers in the same year of which I have declined both - again because of my studies. When I declining the last offer I have also written that I won't have enough time to study and work at the same time and that I will approach them when I am done and interested in a position there.

Now, about half a year later, they have approached me again with an offer. I would now have time to work there, but I don't know any exact conditions yet. I'd like to know the detailed conditions and I'd like to ask if (or why not after 4 offered jobs) it wasn't possible to get a change of the certificate of employment. How do I do this without being to rude?

FIY: the job offers I got are for the exact same position that I was working in already for them.

NOTE: A certificate of employment is a letter from your employer in which they rate you and that you can give the recruiters of your future employer when applying for a job. I'd say it's like a letter of recommendation but can more realistically contain negative feedback. In Germany it is usual to hand in certificates of employment from your last jobs when applying for a new job. A missing or negative certificate can have a drastic impact on your chances as an applicant

  • Germany. Certificate of employment is the word I have found in the dictionary. It's a letter from your employer in which they rate you and that you can give the recruiters of your future employer when applying for a job. I'd say it's like a letter of recommendation but can more realistically contain negative feedback.
    – user83615
    Mar 5, 2018 at 7:48
  • 1
    @NotMe It's a half-formal letter with coded language that rates the employee's performance working at the company. It's a standard procedure in german-speaking countries to get one, and missing a certificate for a position you were at for more than a year is generally considered to be a serious red flag.
    – Wilbert
    Mar 5, 2018 at 11:25
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    @user83615 I edited your post to include a country tag for Germany, and your comment as a definition to those who are unfamiliar with the term. Please feel free to correct anything that may have changed the intent of your post. Mar 5, 2018 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


Assuming I understand you correctly (I appreciate that there may be some info that's been "lost in translation" as it were) you are wanting them to change your existing certificate of employment so that it gives a more favorable things about your performance during your previous employment with this company.

What I would say to you is what is their incentive to do this?

Presumably they gave what they gave to be a fair evaluation of your work from their perspective and the only real value of a such a certificate/recommendation letter it aid you in finding employment elsewhere so you are basically asking them to make you look more attractive to other employers (which given they seem keen to re-employ you is counter to what they want) and what's more you are asking them to essentially lie in order to do so.

Assuming you are happy to work with them again the logical way to see if you can get a better recommendation/certificate of employment would be to take the offer and go in and do a stellar job.


As the OP points out in a comment my advice has mainly been around not to ask rather than how so with a disclaimer that I think this is unprofessional and wouldn't do this myself here's your best shot..

If you want the best chance of then agreeing to your request you need to provide them with a concrete incentive yo do so. At this point the only thing they appear to want from you is for you to work for them again. As stated in the OP there is currently an offer on the table with the exact conditions as yet undefined, so approach them with them improving your certificate as a requirement of your employment. Of course you'll then need to stay there a suitable length of time and do a good enough job to ensure that you get a good enough certificate from this employment period presumably.

  • my view is similar to @Wilbert s view. motosybatsu: thanks for your answer! You are assuming that it is likely for me to work for the company again, but in the field I'm working in (IT) there are loads of similar positions with probably the same or even better conditions.
    – user83615
    Mar 5, 2018 at 18:17
  • @motosubatsu thanks for your input, but it wasn't quite what I'm looking for. Their incentive is to keep a good relation with me for possible future cooperation. Even if I do not work for their company in, say, this year, I may in the future
    – user83615
    Mar 5, 2018 at 18:22
  • @user83615 except you've already turned them down four times, and now you want something from them on the vague possibility that you might work for them at some nebulous point in the future? No great incentive there that I can see. This is like the hot girl who knows a guy has a crush on her asking him to help her get a date with someone else on the basis that she might possibly one day decide to go on a date with him (if there's no-one around that she'd rather date at that point of course!) They would have to very desperate or completely naive to agree to this IMO.
    – motosubatsu
    Mar 6, 2018 at 12:00
  • I can fully understand that you don't think asking them will lead to success but this leads away from my question. The question was how to ask but not wether or not to ask.
    – user83615
    Mar 7, 2018 at 20:40

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