I'm in my final year of university and I have a panel interview coming up soon. They asked for the two references I provided to fill out a document as a part of the process.

I interned at a company and they've given me work when semester is off. I didn't get someone from there to be a reference since the company is keen to take me on when I graduate. I didn't ask for a reference from them so I could keep my options open for employment after a graduate.

What should I say in the interview if they ask why I didn't provide a reference from the company?

  • 3
    What is stopping you from getting a reference letter now? If soft copy works, it could be obtained relatively easily/quickly. Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 15:42
  • As a part of the first step in the application they asked to provide just referee details. Now since I am at the later stage of the application they wanted the referees to fill out the document hence my dilemma.
    – user217
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 15:53
  • They asked for two references, will they worry which two? Or did they really as for the two “most recent” and you did not do that...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 21:06

1 Answer 1


You could say what you just told us - that you don't want that employer to know that you're looking at other companies because you want to keep your options open.

An analogous situation would be looking for another job whilst currently employed. A prospective employer contacting your current employer could give your current employer a heads up that you're looking.

If the company you're interviewing at is, in any way, a reasonable company to work for, they should be understanding.

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