Recently I had an interview with the state department. It seems it was a tailor made job profile for me, from view of my skills and having worked in similar position. Also I was very thorough in interview. (The interview panel confirmed this in post interview feedback). I got a reference check and after a week I received email notification I was unsuccessful in getting this job. I called the conveyor who confirmed I was very good during interview and technical test, but they were looking for little extra (??).

Not sure if my current line manager has given sufficient reference of my skills during reference check call. I still can't think of any other reason as it went till to reference check. (Generally in Australia they don't do a reference check until you are certainly to get the job).

My Question: how to ensure my current manager is fair and has given true reference of my skills - without confronting them, as she is still and will be my manager/referee till I get a new job.

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    There's nothing much you can do to confirm this that's why you should have chosen your reference after confirming a good feedback based on their nature – Black Mamba Mar 19 '18 at 5:26
  • 1). it is mandatory to nominate your current supervisor as one of your referee 2). i don't have any issue/performance concern with my manager which can make me think of not nominating her as reference 3). is there polite way of asking what was her response during ref call? – victor Mar 19 '18 at 5:32
  • Depending on where you live you can simply just ask for the reference – Twyxz Mar 19 '18 at 7:08
  • It is mandatory to use your current supervisor for reference? Do you currently work for the government? Seems like they're trying to make changing jobs uncomfortable. – user8365 Mar 19 '18 at 11:19
  • Did you check with your manager before you gave their name as a reference? It's common courtesy to ask before you submit someone's name for a reference and if you did not observe this courtesy they may be less enthusiastic in talking about you than they would otherwise be... – Cronax Mar 19 '18 at 15:37

how to ensure my current manager is fair and had given true reference of my skills - without confronting as she still and will be my manager/referee till i get new job.

Basically you can't.

The only people who know what reference your current manager gave are her and the person who contacted her from the potential employer. Neither of whom are required to tell you anything nor can you verify the veractiy of anything they do tell you if they do.

Ultimately any time you use someone as a reference you are ultimately having to trust that they will give an honest (and hopefully positive!) account of your skills and professional conduct. This is why it is good ideally if you can pick people that you already trust to do this, however as you've discovered sometimes you don't get this choice and you just have to go with what you've got.

That said there is nothing in their feedback that directly indicates the reference was a problem in anyway - it doesn't negate the possibility either but there's nothing that screams that the reference in particular was a problem. The response is pretty polite but generic and I would say that it's most likely that you were a very good candidate but that there was someone better or ifthey are still searching that they perhaps have very high standards, possibly even unrealistic ones.

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    I agree with this. In cases where you get to provide references, be thoughtful and have a good conversation with the people you submit beforehand. Although I agree it may not have been the reference check. For my current employer, we reference check everyone who gets an interview, because the process can take a long time and we don't want to wait until we've chosen a candidate to introduce a delay. At other employers that hasn't been the case because reference checks were less important. – dwizum Mar 19 '18 at 13:28
  • Indeed, the only refuse you have is if the potential employer brings up specific points from the reference. – user30031 Mar 19 '18 at 15:34

Rather than worrying about your reference, I'd be concerned about this bit:

they were looking for little extra

To me, that's code for "this candidate was OK, but nothing more". This matches up with your own comments on the interview - I don't want a candidate who was "thorough" in the interview, I want one who blows me away with their skills. Thorough is what you are on a day-to-day basis, brilliant is what you should be aiming for in an interview.


Employers are fairly conservative when it comes to saying why a candidate wasn't selected for a job. Both because internal reasoning can be hard to understand to people external to the company, and because they might open themselves up to litigation with what they say. So most answers are going to be generic cookie-cutter and I would not read too much into them.

In general, I view job hunting as a fairly stochastic endeavour. No matter your skill set or how well you interview, you're not going to get all the positions you apply to and are a good match for.


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