How to handle being a job reference for someone not sure I'd recommend?
February 16, 2013 4:49 PM Subscribe
Briefly worked with someone in a galaxy far, far away. They want me to recommend them. I'm not convinced this person is the droid the job is looking for.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (25 answers total)
I was contacted out of the blue by someone I worked with a couple of years ago and told that s/he has used me as a reference in their application to a rather prestigious organization. We have not been in touch at all since we worked together, and we did not work together very long--less than a year. I don't remember much about this person other than there were a few basic issues (think on the level of punctuality), but given the intervening years, it's quite possible that these things are no longer an issue. I really don't feel comfortable speaking to the core competencies that this organization will probably ask about because I haven't seen this person's work in the meantime.
Had this person asked, I would have found a gentle way to suggest they ask someone else. What to do now? I don't know what job they're applying for specifically and I couldn't find job postings on the org website or via Google. This person doesn't have a LinkedIn profile for me to do a little subtle recognizance on what they've been up to since we worked together, either. If I'm very lucky, the org won't contact me, but I need a game plan. I work in this field, and it's not a huge one. I don't want to give a false recommendation lest it come back to bite me down the line.
So what to do? Do I respond with a vague note to this person and then be equally vague if/when the org contacts me? Do I ask for a portfolio of recent work & a resume (which feels a little presumptuous) so I can make a more substantive reference? Maybe there's a middle ground? Hope me, hive mind!