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View Full Version : Reference Check =/= Sales Call


HawaiianShirts
01-25-2014, 04:26 PM
Overheard at work yesterday...

I work for a state government agency. I'm in a big office building that houses several different divisions of the agency. I'm at the corner of the section of cubicles for my division. Just across an aisle from me is another division that consists primarily of phone support. So, I can sometimes overhear the call-center-like conversations. The employee closest to me happens to be a manager, and she happens to be trying to find a new staff member at the moment.

Manager of Other Division (on the phone): Yes, this is [Manager]. I'm calling from [State Agency, Division]. [Applicant] has applied for a job with us, and he listed you as a reference. Do you have a few minutes that you could give me some reference information about [Applicant]?
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No, I'm calling about [Applicant]. He said he works for you and listed you as a reference on his application.
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Does [Applicant] work for you?
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Good. So, do you have a few minutes to answer some reference questions about him?
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I'm not selling anything.
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No, I'm not trying to sell you anything.
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No, I'm [Manager] from [State Agency, Division].
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I didn't say anything about selling you [Car Insurance*]. I'm asking about--
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No, I don't need to speak with [Applicant]. I need to speak with you about [Applicant].
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I don't want to sell him anything, either. I'm not selling. I'm calling to do a reference check for a potential employ--
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Who said anything about that?
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Are you listening to what I'm saying?
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I don't want to sell you anything! I want to ask you questions about [Applicant] to see if he'd be a good employee if I were to interview and hire him to work for me!
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No, I won't hold for your accounting department!
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Did she just put me on hold? I don't have time for this.

I hear [Manager] put the phone down. She grumbles to herself for a while and shuffles some papers around. Then she picks up the phone again.

Hello, is this [Applicant]?
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Hi, this is [Manager] from [State Agency, Division]. You applied for [Position] with us, and we're trying to do some reference checks.
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I've been better. I just talked to [Reference] that you listed on your application so I could get some information about you before we invite you to interview. She seemed convinced that I was a salesperson trying to get her to buy [Car Insurance].
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Yeah. I don't get it, either. Is she usually that dense?
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I see. Well, we still like your application. You're one of eight we're doing reference checks on, and we'll probably invite you for an interview. Do you have another person I could contact as a reference? I don't think this lady is going to be much help.

At that point, I got a phone call, so I couldn't catch the details of the rest [Manager]'s conversation. I heard some good-natured laughing, though, so I think it went well. Here's to hoping that [Applicant] has a better reference and can get a fair chance at the job!

*Not really what she thought [Manager] was trying to sell, but it was just as absurd in concept. You don't expect a state agency to sell car insurance just like you don't expect a car insurance company to enforce building regulations.

Lachrymose
01-25-2014, 05:37 PM
I suppose we see why he wants to leave, now!

eltf177
01-25-2014, 09:12 PM
I suppose we see why he wants to leave, now!

Me too! Hopefully there's somebody there who can vouch for him who isn't as brain dead! To lose a job over something this crappy...:cry:

XCashier
01-26-2014, 02:07 PM
I suppose we see why he wants to leave, now!
No kidding. Working for an idiot is no fun. I hope he gets the better job, too. :)

Geek King
01-27-2014, 07:22 PM
I suppose we see why he wants to leave, now!

Ha! That was my first thought, too.

KitterCat
01-27-2014, 10:19 PM
State farm insurance. Dum dee dum dump dee dum. :p

Only thing I can think of with any connection with the state.

Shalom
01-28-2014, 03:16 AM
Wonder if [Reference] was being deliberately dense, because she didn't want this employee to quit and go elsewhere. Obviously she didn't want it enough to improve working conditions to the point where her employee would want to stay.

It makes me wonder sometimes. My boss (who can only afford to give me part-time hours at this point) has no problem giving references to prospective other jobs, because he knows I need the work, but what if you're employed somewhere fulltime and you don't want them to know you're looking?

HawaiianShirts
01-28-2014, 04:19 AM
Wonder if [Reference] was being deliberately dense, because she didn't want this employee to quit and go elsewhere.

I suppose that's a possibility. Once, when I was looking for a better-paying full time job (even though I had a low-paying job that I liked), I overheard my supervisor responding to a reference check a potential employer was doing for me. I heard: "Hire him again? Man, I was thinking of lying to you and telling you that he's a terrible employee just so I can keep him here working for me!"

I got the job.

Jay 2K Winger
01-28-2014, 06:06 PM
Wonder if [Reference] was being deliberately dense, because she didn't want this employee to quit and go elsewhere. Obviously she didn't want it enough to improve working conditions to the point where her employee would want to stay.

Never ascribe to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity.

prjkt
01-28-2014, 07:11 PM
You'd be surprised at how vindictive and petty some people can be at a perceived slight... "How dare an employee think there's a better job that this!"