Use person vacating the post as a ref for my app for same?
October 31, 2012 9:33 AM   Subscribe

I am applying for a job, and of course references are requested. One of my best potential references, who I have worked with fairly extensively, is also the person vacating the position I am applying for, and for all I know could be interviewing me. Is it weird to use him as a reference?

I am inclining towards "it is weird, don't do it", but would love to be told otherwise in a convincing way.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Typically, you would ask your reference to be a reference.

I see no problem in asking him if he is able/willing to act as a reference for you, and if he feels he cannot, then I am sure he will tell you.
posted by zizzle at 9:34 AM on October 31, 2012 [5 favorites]

This happens all the time, where a person is leaving or moving up and they have a good idea of existing staff who would be a good fit in their place. A conversation with this person is a good idea, both to ask for a reference and also to ask questions about aspects of the position you're not as familiar with.
posted by headnsouth at 9:43 AM on October 31, 2012

Best answer: Call him and ask him. As a general rule, don't use anyone as a reference without talking to them first.
posted by murfed13 at 9:44 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yup, ask him. If there's some internal politics reason why he can't or shouldn't, he'll likely know and will let you know.
posted by rtha at 9:46 AM on October 31, 2012

I would go further—I would ask him and also ask him if he thinks it would be a good idea.
posted by grouse at 9:53 AM on October 31, 2012

Mrs. Alms just received a job application from someone who worked for her in a previous organization. The applicant listed Mrs. Alms as one of her references. No problem at all.
posted by alms at 9:54 AM on October 31, 2012

Assuming this is a guy you use as a reference for other job apps, I would say:

"Tom and I have worked together extensively and he actually generally serves as one of my primary professional references. I'm sure he can offer insight into how I would fit in this role. Here are two other external references you can contact as well: (provide two external references)."

You want to make sure they explicitly ask them for his thoughts on you, but the whole point of references is to give them more context that they couldn't get otherwise.
posted by amaire at 9:56 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Assuming this person knows you are applying for the job and agrees to be a reference: yes yes yes. It is absolutely who you know; approval from the person vacating the position is like a big stack of gold bars.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:58 AM on October 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, folks. Called and spoke--all good. I am so phone-averse that it didn't occur to me.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:05 AM on October 31, 2012

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