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Spin off - references

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#1 Mitis angelam

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:05 PM

In another thread, lots of posters are saying that it is common, when asking for a reference, to write it yourself and then just get the referee to sign it.

I'm gobsmacked and rather horrified; it seems almost fraudulent.  If the whole point of a reference is to get another person's opinion of me, of what value is it, to get my opinion above someone else's signature?

Is it really that common?  Have you given a reference this way, or asked for one this way?  Does the etiquette change depending on the field or context (I'm pretty sure if I suggested this to the person I asked for one, she'd be as horrified as I am)?

Am I just being hopelessly naive?

#2 Mamabug

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:08 PM

I've done this with a personal reference once... ph34r.gif

#3 kpingitquiet

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:08 PM

I've given a reference that was like that, once. It was because the person told me to, a la "You were a great employee! Just write whatever you need and I'll sign off on it."

#4 Imaginary friend

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:09 PM

I have not heard of this - however, written references aren't used much any more anyway - in jobs I have applied for and people who have asked me to be refereee for them - its usually give the phone numbers of the referee and the employer rings and talks to them directly.

#5 Mitis angelam

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:12 PM

I agree for employment it's unusual now, but this is to get into a particular clinical unit for my diploma.  They've specifically asked for references "to be written and for you to have sighted and forwarded to us."

#6 Katie_bella

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:13 PM

Yeah um, no, i wouldn't do this.

If someone asks me for a written reference, i write it. If someone wrote it for me and asked me to sign it, I don't think i could. Especially as it's often followed up by a phone call, i'd probably forget what was in the letter if I hadn't written it. huh.gif

#7 Bluenomi

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:27 PM

It's pretty common which is why my department no longer takes written references but requests a phone number so the panel can ring them instead.

#8 Bobbypoppa

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:33 PM

It is common practice in a few industries, including mine when receiving yearly performance assessments.

I questioned why as well and was told it is a method of assessing how the employee views their own performance.

Its a tool for the employee to express their own personal opinions of their skills, ethics, integrity, short falls etc.

However in my field the assessor of your work performance can mark you either up or down as long as they provide evidence and reason for the change.

I'm assuming it would be the same with a letter of reference, where as, the referee can change the letter / wording prior to signing off?

#9 Apageintime

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:34 PM

I have had references done for me like this and done refernces for my staff like this.

I do check what the staff say and have offered suggestions if necessary.

#10 Mozzie1

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:39 PM

Yes, it's common - in fact I've never heard of a written reference that wasn't written by the candidate themselves! I would never expect someone else to take the time to write one for me.

That said, they are pretty much defunct in my industry now - only verbal references are accepted. I'm in finance.

#11 JRA

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:44 PM

I'm gobsmacked and rather horrified; it seems almost fraudulent. If the whole point of a reference is to get another person's opinion of me, of what value is it, to get my opinion above someone else's signature?

Most references are about getting a job, not about improving one self. Improving one self is normally a review or a development review or whatever.

I am also surprised many places take a written reference now

#12 Mitis angelam

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:49 PM

JRA, are you suggesting that the only value of getting someone else's opinion is to improve oneself?  Perhaps that's the value to me, but surely the value to the person who requires the reference, is getting an outside perspective on me?

#13 Z-girls rock

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:56 PM

I just think of it as a time saving device. You are asking someone for a favour - so make it easy for them to help you out.

if what is required is along the lines of;

blah blah work here/ studied here between (date) and (Date). and we found them to be punctual, friendly and consciencious etc etc

then why not??

Obviously you give the person the soft copy of the doccument so they can read it and either add or delete things as they see fit.
But it is just helping them to do you a favour by taking the tedious elements out of the task.

#14 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:59 PM

we had to provide two references to go with an application form to get DS onto a wait list for a high school.....DH works with a guy who is an "old boy" of the school - so I asked him, he said, yeah - write it and Ill sign it! so I did...I guess if he didnt agree with what I wrote he wouldnt have signed it....

#15 Z-girls rock

Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:05 PM

yes. just wanted to add. I dont think I would have thought of it myself if not for the time I asked someone for a reference and they said "sure no problem - write it and I will sign it!"
at first I was huh.gif but then I thought. whatever, it is me who wants the favour!

#16 JRA

Posted 14 February 2013 - 02:13 PM

QUOTE (Ange Vert @ 14/02/2013, 01:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
JRA, are you suggesting that the only value of getting someone else's opinion is to improve oneself?  Perhaps that's the value to me, but surely the value to the person who requires the reference, is getting an outside perspective on me?

Obviously what I wrote came out wrong.

To me a "reference" is something that someone wants when employing someone. That nowadays I would have thought is rarely  written. In the past it was. The aim was to have it targetted at getting the job, not about the prospective employer learning the good and the bad about the person. I suppose that is exactly why a written reference is so rarely wanted..

#17 Mitis angelam

Posted 14 February 2013 - 03:02 PM

Yeah, I guess it's very different when it's not about employment.

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