So I got an email from a job I interviewed for and they want me to come in for a reference and background check, as well as provide “my current and most recent supervisors information”. The issue is I work in a hospital as a night shift employee, I have met my actual supervisor once officially since I started and seen her in passing twice. We have communicated via email before though, we have no issues (she and I) but our department is having a lot of issues with her. I’m afraid to tell her that they will be contacting her, what if they just choose to fire me? I also don’t want to burn a bridge at this hospital you know? My coworker suggested I use the charge nurse that I work under, they are the people who see me regularly and who I go to if I have an immediate issue to sort through. Do you think that would be ok? I’m going to talk to one of our charge nurses and see if he would be willing to. Do I need to explain this to the HR person? I don’t want to seem like I am being shady. I really want this job.

Any advice on how to handle this in the most kind way possible?

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    Hi @JaneDoe28 and welcome to The Workplace! I would suggest taking a look at this question as there are elements there that are relevant to your situation.
    – Jane S
    Jan 14, 2019 at 4:40

1 Answer 1


Possible 3rd option: Ask if the new reference would be ok

It's a pretty common situation that a new employer cannot/should not contact your current place of employment. Don't explain that your current boss seems uninvolved and she's currently having issues. Instead, say something like.

I could lose my current job if you contact my manager. I'm concerned she'll react badly and fire me. I can give you excellent references from 2 other managers I work with regularly though. I trust both of them to be discreet.

You are far from the only person who cannot have a potential new job contact their current manager. Your (potential) new job almost certainly has run into this before.

Communicate this with the new job, as you don't want them finding out during the reference check they are not talking to your supervisor.

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    This is a good answer. I don't see why anyone would ask for a reference that wasn't provided in the first place. Should be a read between the lines thing if you don't provide your supervisor at your previous job, it means they don't know your leaving, or they are the reason your leaving.
    – Trevor
    Jan 14, 2019 at 18:25

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