I live in Ireland and until recently worked as a technical lead for a multinational software company.
Then recently the company began a voluntary redundancy program which I applied for and was accepted.
For the last year in the company I was managed remotely by a manager in Germany for HR aspects and a local program/project manager for day to day delivery work.
I asked my manager in Germany is it possible for him to be one of my references for my future job applications. He replied that because references are so completely different between UK&I and Germany, he's not sure if it is a good idea, and also because in the 12 months we worked together he didn't really get to know me well enough to provide a good reference.
Although he was the manager I reported to, he suggested I should ask the other manager I worked more directly with on a day to day basis for a reference instead.
I am asking the other manager anyway but my challenge is, I think I may need 2 references.
I am not aware of any issues there might be with my work, I feel I have worked extremely hard and that my manager is aware of this.
So I can't help feeling a little let down by his declining my request. He is managing what I think is an awful lot of people, something like 35+ direct reports across 4 countries, so maybe it is a challenge to get to know that many people well in a year.
What I would like to know is:
Firstly, what is different about how references work between Germany and UK&Ireland? I am not clear what he means?
Secondly, at this point, is there anything else I could say now that might change his mind?
Any other suggestions about how to proceed? The only other option I can think of is to make the references request to my previous "HR" manager as well, but I don't want to bypass any other steps I could take with this manager.
an excuse. He doesn't want to give you a reference. While the differences may be real, he simply doesn't want to give you a reference and is using that as an excuse. You'll need to look elsewhere for a reference.
he didn't really get to know me well enough to provide a good reference, rather than any differences in how references work. He's telling you he doesn't feel he can provide a meaningful or 'good' reference - the rest may be excuse or
fluff(technical term) although I'd doubt that as from what I know of the culture in Germany, people are normally quite direct whereas in the UK people are more likely to be polite but indirect. Maybe he thinks there are big differences - either way, he feels he can't give you a reference.