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Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by peter12171, Dec 27, 2019.

  1. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    I’m thinking about looking for a new challenge, and therefore looking for a new post. I’ve been chatting with my brother, who has friends who are quite high up in HR.

    I have always thought that a referee should be asked if they are prepared to be a referee prior to making applications. I am now being advised, through these chats, that - as current employers are always asked for references - this isn’t necessary; in fact it could be detrimental in my current role as it advertises the fact that I am looking elsewhere.

    Any opinions?
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    There is nothing I hate more than receiving a reference request out of the blue, it just seems bad manners to me! I can understand ( somewhat) if the reference is for someone who no longer works for me but if it is a current employee I would expect to be told first. After all, you don't want a grumpy Head writing a reference!
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I'll guess your brother's friends in HR don't work in schools.

    Different conventions in different employment sectors. Partly because the head's reference in education is much more detailed than the 'I confirm he worked for us from x to y dates' and that's it that's common elsewhere.

    So although in schools a reference from your current head is pretty much obligatory it's also the convention that you ask them before offering them as a referee.

    That's assu8ming you are currently working in a school.
  4. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    Agreed. It’s different in schools. In industry, people often apply for new jobs in secret, take days off to go to interviews etc. It can also be weeks before you find out if you have been successful, as recruitment is a rolling process. Depending on the industry, they can ask you to leave (taking owed holiday time) or move you to a different area to work your notice, particularly if they are concerned that you may take clients / information with you.
    Teaching is different. You are expected to let the HT know you are applying. This is partly because they will be asked for a reference (this is now compulsory, but it was expected that you tell them even when it used to just be advisable). Even if you know your academy policy is just to give a factual reference, you are still expected to tell them. There are set notice periods. You need to ask for the day off (unless you are part time and it falls on one of your non working days) and they will (usually, but not always) pay you for the day. You find out (nearly always) on the day.
    So I’m sorry but your HR brother is wrong about teaching, and please don’t approach your job search in this way.
  5. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    Thanks for the replies. I was certain that I was right, but it’s good to see people confirming it. I did say that education was different, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears. If the conversation comes up again ai can say that I have checked.

    (I think it does show that my brother’s friends - not him btw - are working outside education).
  6. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Each time I have considered moving on, I have asked to meet my HT for advice on my job search. I've been able to discuss applications with them, ask them to act as referees, and also mention points that I would like them to emphasise in the reference. It's been very positive each time.
    Staff handbook has always made it clear that the courtesy of approaching the HT first is an expectation.
  7. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Same. I've worked with staff on the reference, ensuring that essential criteria for the post are highlighted where required. Many of the staff have worked at the school for far longer than I have and , with the best will in the world, I'm not always aware of roles and responsibilities covered in the past. So I'm more than happy to listen to what staff would like me to include in a reference-as long as they can back it up!
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Good gracious yes, the posters above are spot on here!

    Applications for teaching posts at all levels should *not* be approached as though you were working in BP and applying to Shell!

    So please do not not not accept any advice from a HR specialist outside education.

    Try looking on Amazon for a cheap downloadable book about Applying for a teaching job.

    Do a search and identify a few possibles, check that they are not US based, then look at the reviews. One with a good number of 5 star reviews will have been useful for colleagues.

    But please don't take advice from commerce or industry, for applications or interviews. Some of the worst applications I've seen, especially for senior posts, have done just that.

    Still, that type of application does give us a good laugh when we sit round to short-list...

    Best wishes


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