After three interviews and the 4th being planified I didn't get the job because of bad reference, that I gave earlier in the process. They contacted the manager who said he wouldn't recommend me for a job with those requirements.

What do you suggest? Should I confront the hiring manager and give another reference or should I just let it go? Or just send a post rejection thank you letter hoping they'll get back to me when a position is open?

  • 5
    Let it go, there's no point confronting anyone. Complaining isn't going to change anything. Move on.
    – Jane S
    Apr 11, 2016 at 13:31
  • 11
    (and do not use that person again as a reference)
    – Ed Heal
    Apr 11, 2016 at 13:40
  • 2
    From a constructive-criticism point of view it might be worth talking to the manager who gave you a bad reference to understand why he did, and why he couldn't recommend you for those job requirements. After all you're stuck working for him again for the time being so even if you never use him as a reference again you need to try and fix your working relationship.
    – Rup
    Apr 11, 2016 at 13:48
  • 2
    @Rup The OP doesn't state the bad reference is from their current boss.
    – Jane S
    Apr 11, 2016 at 13:51
  • 4
    Always call your references before a potential employer calls them. You need to know what they will say. Apr 11, 2016 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


If the company got a bad reference they are not likely to change their mind so just write a thank you letter.

Hopefully you asked the person in advance if they would be a reference. If a person cannot be a positive reference they would typically decline. I would talk to the reference and ask why he could not recommend you for the job. If you do not think you could get a positive reference from this person in the future then don't use them.

  • @JhonyDoe No reason for that language
    – paparazzo
    Apr 12, 2016 at 16:47

I believe it may be worth contacting the manager who provided a bad reference and asking for why they believe you were a bad fit for the position.

You may find that:

  • They did not understand the job description and its requirements fully. If you truly believe you're a good fit, it's a possibility, and you can incorporate that somehow into your question. Sometimes this happens. I myself found the lines blurred between frontend/backend software development on a few different openings prior to looking into it more.
  • They have some constructive criticism and explanations that will benefit you personally.
  • It is possible (though this should be treated with the utmost care and due diligence) that the bad reference was a malicious act. You must absolutely be certain that this is the case. A bad reference rooted in maliciousness and falsehood is illegal. Understand, though, that opinions are protected, and are not necessarily malicious.

This is up to you, but moving forward in the future, you should not use them as a reference again. If I were you, I'd contact my references ahead of time in the future.

Definitely be courteous and polite, and send a thank you letter as you would normally.

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