I did all interviews and was asked to provide references which I did. References couldn't be reached thought (vacations probably) for more that a month and the process is still on.

I'm going to send a challenging email to HR to ask them to move forward without a reference check if they are interested, because I've a second written job offer from the competitor.

What do you think?

  • 4
    I think that they will withdraw the offer.
    – HLGEM
    Aug 22, 2016 at 14:41
  • There is no actual offer - I feel that they are really interested but nothing more
    – Oussama L.
    Aug 22, 2016 at 14:43
  • 3
    "References couldn't be reached thought (vacations probably) for more that a month and the process is still on." - Instead of challenging HR, whatever that means, why couldn't you first figure out what is wrong with your references then ask HR if they can reconsider the offer because references were out but will be back at X date?
    – Dan
    Aug 22, 2016 at 14:53
  • 1
    => "There is no actual offer"
    – Oussama L.
    Aug 22, 2016 at 15:01
  • So you don't have any actual job offers anywhere, including at this company you want to send a challenge email to. On top of that none of your references are responding or replying because you presume they are on vacation. Is this a correct assessment of your current situation?
    – Dan
    Aug 22, 2016 at 15:04

4 Answers 4


Pissing off HR never ends well. Ever. Bear that in mind when you send your challenge.

Were it me, I'd email your hiring manager and/or recruiter in addition to the HR department but just let them know that you have a job offer and that you have to give them an answer by a certain date. Actually "challenging" them probably won't end in your favor.

Don't ask them to move forward without a reference check. It can serve no positive purpose. Either they can or they can't. In most cases, they can't. Believe me, they know that you want them to do so. But policies such as these are usually immutable, especially if the company is large.

When I got contracted to a Fortune 15 company, they needed a 10 year background check. It took a month and toward the end they were preparing me to accept that I wouldn't get to start. Everyone apologized, but you're not going to make an HR department ignore what they're told to do.

Unfortunately, you're just one person and in the eyes of an HR department, you can be replaced easily. The only person who has even a prayer of getting a policy bypassed would be someone inside the company. Even then, it's unlikely.

  • Eh, that's a little extreme: I can't see a company withdraw an offer just because they can't reach one reference, they'd likely ask for someone else. Unfortunately it's more likely that there's another, larger problem holding things up... Aug 31, 2016 at 12:41
  • It doesn't matter whether you can see it happening or not. It did happen. And this wasn't just some little dinky company either, it's one of the largest in the world with over a quarter million employees. And no, there wasn't anything else holding it up. It was literally that one person. And we eventually tracked him down and I'm working at this job today. You can guess what you think is or is not likely. I was there and this is what happened and there is no ambiguity. Just because you don't see something happening doesn't change what actually did and why.
    – Chris E
    Aug 31, 2016 at 14:35

Challenging email ? It sounds kinda harsh in my opinion but again I am not sure what you mean by challenging. So, if you are planning to write letter with threatening words like "if you don't hire me right now, this will be your last chance" etc. will not bode well in the long run for you.

On the other hand, a letter or an email written tactfully, may increase your chances if this employer is on the fence about hiring you or letting you go.

If I were you I would word my letter to HR, something like this:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have been offered a position at --company name here without mentioning them as competitor-- with a proposed start date of --date here--.

I know you are waiting for my references to validate my past experience, but considering this is summer months and lot of people take long vacations, the process might get a little longer than usual.

I am confident that, all my references will come true in the next few weeks, but unfortunately, I am unable to wait that long. If you also agree wit this, I would like to start working for your organization, starting on --date here-- with the contingency of my references validating my statements.

I'd appreciate if you could let me know how I should proceed. If you are unable to make me an contingent offer, I will need to go with the offer from --other company name here--.

Thank you for your kind concern and timely answer in advance

Name, Title ... etc

  • What does "contingency" mean. Is it that they can check references later after I start working with them? Do you think this is an option that I can suggest to them?
    – Oussama L.
    Aug 22, 2016 at 15:16
  • Yes it exactly means that. By saying that, you are letting them anull the contract if your references say things in contrary to what you are saying. Let's say you say you worked as a senior programmer, but you reference says you were junior programmer, the employer may let you go because you did not tell the truth on your background. And you can suggest anything that is reasonable. And this is quite reasonable in my opinion. But to each his own.
    – MelBurslan
    Aug 22, 2016 at 15:25

Sending a challenging email to people who are doing everything by the books is a bad idea. How would you expect them to hire you without referrals? Would you do the same? In fact, it may even not be their decision too.

You may kindly ask them to have their mind because you waited too long though. And add some legal evidence of the company of the referral which you have been worked with, so at least they will have some papers of you being employed there and that might at least grease the wheels.

You might add the information about you got an offer from someone else if you like, but "very" politely. If it was me, I rather just set an end date, that is enough for them to understand that "The guy has another offer in his hand due to that date".

Bear in mind that, them cannot reach your referrals is your fault. (Well, it's technically not, but you should provide reachable referrals.)


The other answers already offer solid advice on why sending such a "challenging email" would be a bad idea, but here's another angle:

The best possible outcome is that they get in contact with the references and hire you. So do what you can to facilitate them to get in contact with the proper references.

For example try calling the reference(s) yourself; if the reference is a busy person, then a known person (i.e. you) will probably have a greater chance of actually talking to this person (rather than a secretary), and you can explain your predicament and would really appreciate this favour.

You could also ask if there is someone else who can provide a reference. If a certain person isn't available, then perhaps someone else is available? Or you could perhaps ask when the reference is available, so you at least know what to expect.

Be active, rather than passively just wait for other people.

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