Listing the right references on a job application can be perplexing but need not be overly so.
QI'm fresh out of college and spent a short time at an internship directly related to my chosen field a year ago. I did not get along with the boss and quit. I'd still like to include the position on my resume because it points to my experience in the field in which I hope to find a job, but I don't want future employers to call up my old boss. I certainly would not use her as a reference, and I have had other jobs and references in the field, but if I include the position on my resume without contact information, is there a chance they would still look up the phone number and call?
APalmer Suk, president of Snelling Personnel Services, a Vienna recruiter, said that hiring companies often call only the people listed on a resume "because they're in a hurry."
But he said many companies ask applicants to sign waivers allowing them to check with anyone they want to, and "some people will want to go further" than just the names listed by a job seeker.
So, yes, he said, this applicant's would-be employer might call the former one, even without knowing a name to call. "I would personally want to talk to the person who worked with an applicant," he said.
Suk said he thinks this applicant, despite fears, should ask the ex-boss for a recommendation unless the parting was particularly heated.
As a practical matter, most former employers "aren't going to give a negative recommendation. They'll just say nothing."
Moreover, he said, many companies, in the face or fear of lawsuits, have dictated that executives not give out any information beyond the dates of employment, positions held and perhaps verification of a final salary, if asked.
Suk said that by calling the former boss, this applicant will know where she stands. "I've found that a lot of times the fear is unfounded." And if the former boss seems unwilling, the applicant ought to ask that she just give the bare-bones information.
-- Kenneth Bredemeier
E-mail your workplace questions to Kenneth Bredemeier at firstname.lastname@example.org. Discuss workplace issues with him at 11 a.m. Wednesday at www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.