How Recommendations From Previous Jobs Affect Career


Many employers ask recommendations from previous workplaces of a candidate. Our certified professional resume writer service will tell you how they affect candidate’s career in general in this post on previous jobs recommendations. There are three types of recommendations: good, neutral and bad. However, not always they have the influence we want.

How employers get recommendations

Employers usually use two ways:

a) they ask candidates to provide recommendation letters from previous jobs, and then they selectively verify their authenticity contacting the person mentioned as a recommender;

b) they contact previous employer or colleagues of a candidate for a vacancy, of course, a candidate is not aware of it. In many spheres of activity, for example, in banking sector, employers are acquainted with each other and thus they can easily find the information they are interested in about former workers. Live oral comments are obviously much more valuable than written recommendation letters.

Why employers need recommendations

1. To check the information from several sources

An approach is similar to the journalistic approach. Comments from previous jobs help to learn several opinions about a candidate’s personality, his competence and professional knowledge. That is why it is important that there are several recommendations.

2. To pay attention to the candidate’s features

For example, a recommender notices that a person has some difficulties with an adaptation to new people, so an employer will pay attention to this while the period of adaptation of a newcomer to the team.

3. To get an unequivocal answer to the question about the achievements

It happens that a candidate becomes confused and worried passing the interview, because it is hard for him to talk about his achievements. A recruiter may start doubting about whether a person will cope with the set tasks, so in this case comments from employers of the previous workplaces may help greatly.

Or vise versa, if a candidate tells about his achievements at previous job too much brightly, an employer will have certain doubts, which he will want to dispel. Checking the recommendations employers wittingly do not want to find a catch, but if the information they have heard at the interview radically differs from a couple of comments, a candidate will have to explained what wrong he has done to his former employer or why he has told a lie.

How recommendations influence the decision about employment

Well, they have different influence. The one thing is certain: comments are not treated absolutely literally, because more often recommendations are subjective since they are given by people. For example, a candidate may be characterized as the one who is afraid of risks and skeptic – at the first sight this is not the most pleasant comment. However, taking into consideration the team structure, such a person can be indispensable if all the workers there are generators of ideas.

“We try to talk to a colleague, to figure out why he has such an opinion about a candidate. Anyway decision about hiring a person for work on recommendation can not be made without a standard evaluation procedure” – notices Felix Kugel, vice president and managing director for CIS of personnel Corporation ManpowerGroup.

At the same time such recommendations as “I could not rely on him / her” or “it was not comfortable to work with him / her” are not absolutely trusted, because suchlike characteristics of a candidate depend on personal features of a man who talks about them.

“Positive and constructive recommendations have a real impact on the choice of a candidate. They will hardly be the most important factor in this case, but they will definitely help to make decision” – Elena Evstyukhina, the head of advisers group on the personnel selection of a holding “Ancor”, admits.

However, candidates should not rely on excellent recommendations, because it comes to the recommendations only at the final stage, and the interview and possible test tasks precede them. Also a job seeker should realize that even after a bad recommendation the situation can be fixed in general. However, to avoid or to exclude the public indignation of former employers, it is good to know what you need to do before leaving the company to get good recommendation some time later. Read post on what you should know if you need to quit your job on our resume service website.

Bad recommendation: how to fix the situation

Employer is not satisfied with your work experience? Probably it is about bad recommendation given by your former employer. However, it does not mean that all doors are closed for you now.

As ill luck would have it, an HR manager will check your recommendations after the interview. And there is no guarantee that he will not discover something bad. You might have left your previous job on not very good terms and it was not your fault. Probably there were mistakes on your side, which you have already coped with. However, now it will be hard to exonerate yourself.

Is silence gold?

It is natural desire not to tell about possible negative comments about you.  However, this is not the best option. Sooner or later such a recommendation may appear and the consequences may be even worse. If you are sure that it is impossible to avoid a negative comment, our experts advise you to tell about it to your potential employer at once. Explain what the essence of the problem is and what its reasons are. This is much better than a situation when recruiter hears about it by himself, and in this case your candidacy will be rejected at once.

What is the way out?

Of course, it will not be enough just to warn about possible negative recommendation. You need to disprove it. The most important thing is not to give up and not to wait for the inevitable. It can be hard to explain the situation when your former employer gives quite objective evaluation of your activity, your attitude to work, describe the situation when you failed to implement the plan and so on. However, you can always find several ways out:

1) Make sure in advance that you have positive recommendations which can block the effect of the negative recommendation.

2) You can make a small trick and try to reduce your role in the processes that has influenced the final result. It is well know that not in each case an employee can directly influence the situation. This is what you need to explain to a potential employer. It should be a confident and clear explanation of the situation.

3) You can give bright examples of how you have successfully coped with suchlike situations earlier.

4) Suggest to test you. If there is such an opportunity, you should not reject it. Any worker can be described in a bad way. The reason for this can be disagreements with employer. These are quite subjective comments, so they are easier to be disproved. You need to prove the assessment bias, having collected positive comments from other sources.

5) Collect the recommendations from your colleagues, subordinates, HR employees. A couple of positive recommendations from other workplaces will help you to nullify the effect of a negative recommendation if they are proved with the facts. You can collect the recommendations of your clients and partner you used to work with. It will most accurately characterize you as a good employee.

Remember that it is better to get recommendations in written forms with a recommender’s signature. It is advisable to use the official letterhead of the company with its contacts and logo. If recommendation have been sent by email, then there should be corporate and not your personal address.

Negative recommendation can create additional difficulties for employment. However, if you make enough efforts, you will manage to cancel its negative and harmful influence.