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As part of the offer process, I am being asked to provide reference check as part of the background screening. I am only allowed to give Managers and not coworkers/peers.

I have disclosed that I was terminated from a past job on the form, but for references, I don't have references pertaining to this particular job I held as I was terminated from that job.

I don't think it's appropriate to contact the manager since i did not leave on good terms? Wouldn't manager just give a bad reference and i am screwed

What do I do? The background check company requires at least 1 reference for each job I held in the past. I have many other references for my other jobs though

  • No co-worker you can use? – Matthew Gaiser Feb 22 at 18:51
  • I am only allowed to give Managers and not coworkers/peers – omega Feb 22 at 18:58
  • @omega, Just email the manager in question. I'm doing a background check. I already told them you guys fired me, but they're still insisting on a reference check. If you don't tell him in advance, he'll be afraid of what he can say and may never respond to HireRight. – Stephan Branczyk Feb 22 at 19:05
  • I dont think its it's appropriate to contact the manager since i did not leave on good terms ? Wouldnt manager just give a bad reference and i am screwed – omega Feb 22 at 19:05
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    Give them the contact for HR. Legally in most countries they can only say you worked there for the period of time. – Simon O'Doherty Feb 22 at 19:51
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Part of the purpose of the background check to to make sure that they know of all the jobs you have held. If you lie about the dates you had job x, so that you don't have to disclose job y where you were fired; then it will be flagged when job x provides the real dates of employment.

When checking job dates they will usually get that information from either the company HR, or a third party company. That only provide names, dates and title. They give no opinion on your work performance. They might disclose the reason for the employment ending but they usually won't go into details.

References are provided by you to be able to describe how ell your work. They know these people will give a positive reference. But they can still get an idea of how knowledgeable you are based on how they describe your strengths.

If you tell them you worked for company Y, and that company Y fired you, then there is nothing to fear. If they were overly concerned about the fact you were fired, they would never get to the point that they had to do the background check. These checks are done after all the other screenings and interviews.

Now if you lie, so that they call a person who will claim to be your manager, and they discover that you did this, they will have to assume that the truth is much worse than you described. Getting caught omitting key information, or getting caught in a lie, is far worse than providing the truth.

Contact the old manager. Let him know that they are checking employment dates, and tell him that they know about being fired.

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"Reference check" often means "confirm that you worked there" not give any more information than that. See this question for more details but YMMV wildly.

Email the manager in question:

I'm doing a background check. I already told them you fired me, but they're still insisting on a reference check.

If you don't tell them in advance, they'll be afraid of what they can say and may never respond to HireRight.

(copy-pasted from comments by Stephan Branczyk)

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People leave jobs, so consider what it means to have a manager reference for every single job you've had. Does that mean "the person who was your manager, and if they left you're out of luck and never get a job again?" No.

Reference requests from places you were fired from are common enough and yes, asking is professional.

Some of the confusion is there's two different meanings for "reference." One is "someone who is going to avidly vouch for you" - which you have a couple of and provide on request - or "someone in each company who's going to say you existed." You have to use context clues to decide which they mean - but in this case it's clearly the latter.

Firstly, you can give the information of anyone in management, in other words, it doesn't just have to be your direct manager. Were there any other managers you were on good terms with?

Secondly, in the case of being terminated (or, indeed, in the case of your manager not being there any more), you can provide them with the company HR contact info instead. Putting the name of your manager is fine, if there's a good reason for HR to connect them through they will.

Thirdly, you are letting a form psych you out. I worked for a company that went out of business. There's not even a HR contact to give. New employers cope with the realities of the world.

So if you had anyone above you that you were on good terms with put them. If it's just your past manager, put them or them with HR's phone number. All either is going to do is confirm the facts of your story; going into "why you sucked" is lawsuit bait and everyone in management gets warned "don't do that, just say date started date ended and whether they're eligible for rehire."

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