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Job Offer Revoked After Reference!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by TheDrunkenShrew, May 16, 2019.

  1. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    When I was working it was normal for schools to request references before shortlisting for interview - that was annoying in some circumstances BUT would avoid this very sad situation.
  2. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I am a but cynical about this. As @FrankWolley said, in teaching references are taken up before interview, so for the new school to 'suddenly discover' that your reference is not up to scratch sounds iffy. Perhaps someone's relative needed a job.
  3. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Only for a disciplinary meeting, which I don't think this is. I doubt if the Head would allow somebody else to attend, as I suspect this might be "off the record". But the OP could ask.

    I doubt it. From other threads, it seems that the practice of taking references prior to interview is not universal. If a reference as described by the OP were to have been seen by the new school before interview, then the interview would not have taken place. If the reference was not as described by the new school, then that would be a different matter.
  4. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Maybe not - but I did say 'when I was working ' (FYI 32 years up to 2013). I obtained more than a dozen posts, and references were always taken up beforehand (and for more than a score of unsuccessful interviews).
  5. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    Some schools are now including in their adverts that they reserve the right to interview and appoint before the application deadline. Possibly a ploy to rush people into applying, more though, I think, a sign of the times and reflective of teacher shortages and competition for candidates.
    In these cases schools may be interviewing before they have taken up references.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    True, but given that schools can respond electronically with a reference already on file, the whole system should run more swiftly than when it relied on postal communications. :D
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Back when I'd just starting teaching, I remember someone at another school telling me that at her interview, they seemed very disorganised and hadn't yet taken up any references. Since I knew that I'd been invited to that interview at least a week before her (and had subsequently got a job and pulled out), I suspect they were onto their second shortlist, and just hadn't had time.
    ridleyrumpus and agathamorse like this.
  8. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    Hold on a moment, references should have been taken up before the OP was shortlisted for interview. Why did this not happen?
  9. FrauRussell

    FrauRussell New commenter

    This will not help the OP and I am not suggesting that it applies to them, but it may be useful to pass on to other job seekers. Over the course of my career I have had occasion to speak to many employers, both in and out of teaching. For all of them, the message is very clear: if an employee wants a reference they should let the employer (or HR, depending on the organisation) know, in advance. This gives the opportunity to discuss why they want to leave, whether there are any problems with providing a reference etc that could be sorted out in advance. It is a matter of professional courtesy and most (not all, I accept) will do what they can to either help employees find another job, or try to keep them if they don't want them to leave, with sweeteners rather than bad references.. HTs in particular don't like references arriving unexpectedly (we should remember a) we may be applying for more than one job and b) it could be several other colleagues are doing the same in very large schools). In teaching, where schools have to give their regular staff paid time off for interviews, there is not much to hide. If we want the best from HTs, then we have to give them the chance to give it. A former HT confided unexpectedly that he was just weary of trying to guess why people wanted to leave when he was asked to fill this in on references, when they hadn't spoken to him, and he did feel, perhaps not unreasonably, that he shouldn't have to seek everyone out, rather than them coming to him. He did say some of the people had had very recent conversations with him and not mentioned they were looking for another job. Even email would have kept him happy.
  10. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    That's a good point made above - references are usually made available before interview these days
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    I have seen references which begin: I was surprised by the request for a reference for X, because he/she has not had the courtesy to ask me about it.
    They are not great at supporting a candidate!
    Flanks and agathamorse like this.
  12. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    And I would not be impressed by a manager who thought it appropriate to include information like that slight to their pride or not.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You are not entitled to see the reference.

    You have reason to believe it mentions a lack of commitment and failure to meet deadlines. You could ask the "new" school if they'll give you a copy. They're unlikely to do so.

    I strongly suggest you go to the offered meeting. Ask politely if your union rep may accompany you. As it stands, you've lost one job and are unlikely to get another if the HT sticks to her/his guns. Go. Listen. Say little or nothing. Go away and digest what you learn. The fact they've offered a meeting is fairly encouraging. They could just have scuppered your chances AND let you go without a word.

    You have no negotiate a better reference but you don't really have much ammunition except the threat of a tribunal if you can show the reference is unfair/inaccurate. I shan't pretend I think this is going to be easy so get the union in on the act and be advised by them.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If your HT, or another member of SLT, has seen the post you made in November, it could be why s/he doubts your dedication and commitment. Or indeed if these feelings have influenced anything about your work or demeanour.
    Flanks and IanG like this.
  15. celago22

    celago22 Occasional commenter

    You can see the reference. You need to contact the receiving school for it.
  16. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Yes, I am sure that was the case, and I don't know why it has changed in some cases. In my own, limited experience of such things, references were taken before interview. My point was that if the reference was as bad as it seems, the school would not have offered the job in the first place and if it wasn't, the school would not have been able to use the reference as a chance to change their minds about the appointment.
  17. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I think this has now changed. It used to be the case that you could insist on seeing the reference if the new school had kept it, which they didn't have to, But I think GDPR has changed things. It seems strange to me that something designed to protect individuals actually seems to act against them. https://www.vwv.co.uk/news-and-events/blog/employment-law-brief/gdpr-references-exemption-disclosure
    Flanks and grumpydogwoman like this.
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    @Piranha is correct. Neither the employer that wrote, nor the employer who receives the reference should disclose it. There is an exemption that covers both parties.

    It may seem strange to think that the subject of the reference may not have access to it but that is the law post-GDPR.
  19. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    A couple of things...

    You can apply to see a copy of your reference.

    Resolving problems with references

    In the event that a job applicant is unhappy with a reference provided about them they can request, usually in writing, a copy of any reference sent to a new employer. The request would be made to the author of the reference.

    For further information go to GDPR - The General Data Protection Regulation

    If an external job applicant believes a reference provided for them was inappropriate they may be able to claim damages in a court, but the job applicant must be able to show that the information was misleading or inaccurate and that they have suffered a loss such as withdrawal of a job offer.


    Also, for straightforward teacher appointments, many schools do not routinely take-up references until after interviews have been conducted.
  20. celago22

    celago22 Occasional commenter

    I managed to get a copy of my reference from the receiving school so it is definitely allowed.
    Pomza likes this.

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