I was dismissed from my previous job of one year and eleven months because I was supposedly underperfoming. This is not true, but it was the reason given. I didn't have a performance review or anything an employer should do to make me aware of an issue or help me. I even got good feedback on all of my appraisals.

I am afraid that telling employers that I was dismissed will affect my chances of getting a new job. I have tried to get in touch with a company that will call my former employer pretending to be a prospective employer and who can then tell me what my former employer says about me. Then if the reference is very brief (start date, end date and job role). Then I could says that I was made redundant instead of dismissed.

Does anybody know of a company in the UK or even have thoughts on this? I would love to be honest to future employers, but getting a new job is more important to me.

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    Why do you need a company? If you think it's ok for XYZ Inc to pretend they are hiring you, isn't it ok for your friend Joe to pretend he works at ABC Inc and is hiring you? Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 12:50
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    @MarvMills: I think you are misunderstanding what the OP wants. He is looking for someone to call his past employer and find out what they would say about him. He is not looking for someone to impersonate a past employer to a prospective new employer and give a fraudulent reference. MrG: maybe you want to clarify this to avoid more misunderstandings. Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 13:33
  • @StephanKolassa I've edited OP's post accordingly. As you say he's looking to see if his former employer will mention that he was fired or will only confirm dates of employment.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 13:43
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    @blankip But he is clearly not the guy they kept. Redundant is better than dismissed for under performing.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 15:43
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    @blankip The situations is almost never that clear-cut: in an office you'll be hard-pressed to find 2 employees who have the exact same job, history and experience. Being laid off (= made redundant in the UK) is practically routine these days, especially post-2008, and no hiring manager will bat an eye at that.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 15:43

3 Answers 3


I would get in touch with some former co-workers who you used to get along with - it's better if they hold senior positions such as team leader, or manager. Ask them to write you some reference letters, or to generally be your reference contact within the company.

(In Canada we provide a contact for them to call, we do not simply say "contact company X".)

If the company calls them specifically (for example at their extension in the office, so they know it's legitimate), they will be able to put in a good word for you.

If you can't get away with that, then you may have to come clean. Try to spin it in a good light. Saying that the "actual" reason you were fired is because you clashed with management, for example, is not a good idea. Instead I might phrase it like this:

I have to tell you that I was fired from my last place of employment. The official reason is that I was under-performing, however the reality is that the motive was political. I would rather not get into the details, as they are personal, however I can try to lay any fears you may have to rest: as you can see, I have, in the past, been successfully employed at companies X, Y, and Z. Furthermore, former co-workers have agreed to provide me with reference letters as to my qualifications.

You may want to research some more/better points to mention, but that's a pretty decent starting point. I won't lie, you're probably going to have a difficult time.

Good luck!


Past emloyers and references will say what they will say. You would be better advised to invest your time in polishing a good explanation of what happened, I think. See past questions here for examples of how you might spin that.


Let's say there is a company that really offered that service (ask for a reference). That company would get flagged by legitimate companies. If your prior company had them flagged then things could go bad. On the next call they might say yes he was dismissed for under performing and it appears he hired a fake company to find out what we would say for a reference.

If you have a friend that has a real company then maybe.

Your best bet here may be honesty.

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