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I have a job offer and they want to check a reference which I don't want to give. Should I refuse to give it? I told them at the beginning that I could though. How would someone typically handle a situation like this?

closed as off-topic by paparazzo, IDrinkandIKnowThings, gnat, Jim G., mcknz Jun 29 '16 at 15:21

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    How is it that you told them initially that they could check the reference but now you are thinking about preventing them from checking it? Unless there is a lot of additional information, that sounds pretty shady. It's also not clear whether you want to prevent them from doing a reference check at all or whether you just want them not to contact a specific person/ employer. – Justin Cave Jun 28 '16 at 15:54
  • When you say "after contract" do you mean you've already signed the contract, and only then do they want to check references? That's very strange. If they don't like your reference then presumably they'd have to pay you your notice to not hire you after all. – Rup Jun 28 '16 at 16:07
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    Then be prepared for the offer to be withdrawn. – paparazzo Jun 28 '16 at 16:15
  • Don't ask "Should I refuse to give it?" in your question. If you provide more background as suggested it will also be a better question. – Brandin Jun 28 '16 at 17:18
  • @Rup - the contract may be "subject to successful references /background check", quite common in some places like the UK, they can just drop you like a stone if you don't pass. – The Wandering Dev Manager Jun 28 '16 at 19:56
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You're in a tough spot that I don't know how you can get yourself out of. You broke the cardinal rule of job hunting. You lied. It's one thing to lead someone to draw conclusions that aren't entirely accurate. It's one thing to accentuate the positive while minimizing the negative. But that's not what you did. You told them that you could do something when you actually can't or rather had no real intention of doing. You basically gambled and lost.

So the real question is "How do I get myself out of this mess?" and I really don't know that you can. If you want the job, you have to give them what you told them you would. To not do so raises not red flags, but flaming signal towers.

Pretty much all you can do (that I can see) is contact this reference you don't want to give and see if there's any way you can get them to give you a good reference, or at least find out what kind of reference they would actually give.

Now, if you don't want to give the reference because it simply doesn't exist or because you told the company something about the reference something that simply isn't true, I don't see you having a way out.

We can help you with answers here, but unfortunately, sometimes the answers aren't the ones you would want, I'm sorry.

  • I didn't lie. I just don't want to involve any colleague or manager in this process. I will tell them so. And will alternatively offer them performance reviews. What do you think ? I understand that reference checks are part of the negociations and that I can give them even personal references. – TheEnglishMe Jun 28 '16 at 16:40
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    I wouldn't have high hopes for that working. My first thought would be "what's he trying to hide?" and end it right there. I would wonder if you'd committed a crime, sexually harassed someone or worse. It's just not worth the risk. – Chris E Jun 28 '16 at 16:54
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    +1 and I agree with Christopher, @JhonyDoe. If you came to me with a line like that, I would assume you are lying or hiding something, I would then move to the next candidate. There is literally no way you can back out without essentially screaming "DON'T HIRE ME!!!" – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jun 28 '16 at 17:22
  • Tx for the insights! But I'm quite confident ;) I'll let you know how it ends. – TheEnglishMe Jun 28 '16 at 19:34
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I have an offer in Switzerland and they want to check a reference which I don't want to give. Should I refuse to give it?

If you really don't want to authorize the reference check, then don't. It will likely be at the expense of the job.

I told them at the beginning that I could though.

That's odd. You told them you could but now you won't. Something must have caused you to change your mind. Hopefully that was important.

How would someone typically handle a situation like this?

I typically know beforehand if I will authorize a background check or not.

I don't know if it is typical with others, but I can't imagine a scenario where I would change my mind in the middle of the interview process.

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    Passive aggressive much? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 28 '16 at 16:32
  • @Chad - no idea what you mean by that. – WorkerDrone Jun 28 '16 at 16:37
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    @Chad I think he's taking a more active role – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jun 28 '16 at 17:15
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    The tone or your answer is very very very Passive Aggressive. I suggest you reword it to be more constructive. Or keep getting dv's piled on. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 28 '16 at 20:27
  • As well as reports. – d0nut Jun 28 '16 at 21:13

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