And do you have any experience in..?

Or how to vet your potential interviewer/s in an extremely short space of time.

While interviews in Gib have been utterly beyond belief, experiences in the UK, have also been worth a smile.

However, I’ll start with the best one in Gib – Do you have any experience in public relations?

I had submitted a CV that was totally based on PR, communications and journalism. Because you tailor your CV to the job you are applying for? Yes?

So I had cited my years in journalism (and quals), my years working for the UK government as a press officer (ie PR), my years working for the UK health service as a communications manager, a PR manager, a public affairs manager, all of which basically are different names for the same thing. You speak to the media and the public and you make everything nice and bright and shiny. I think it’s called putting a spin on it.

I appreciate that prospective employers may well want you to amplify your CV, but they could go about it a little more subtly than asking a question that basically sounds like they haven’t read your submission at all.

That sort of question sends a sinking feeling of gloom right down to the guts. The desire to be sarcastic and say, ‘No, I’ve just spent half my life doing x,y and z’ is paramount. But seeing as that isn’t a good idea, I tend to pause, and say, ‘Yes.’

Hello interviewer, don’t you know not to ask closed questions?

The truth is, when interviewing anyone, you have a few favourites and the others are to make up the numbers or to see if you have missed a potentially good candidate. Usually unlikely.

Classic textbook info on interviewing says that a) we all make up our minds about candidates in the first five minutes b) we base virtually everything on appearances and c) we appoint in our own image.

You know when interviewers are floundering because they start asking chatty soft questions, to pad out the time beyond ten minutes (they don’t do that in Gib!). You know you are in with a chance when they push you and ask harder questions.

‘Are you willing to work out of normal office hours?’

What a stupid fucking question. I’ve worked as a journalist, at night meetings and writing up stories at 11pm in the deserted office, and as an on-call press officer (at nights and weekends) – NO, I want to go home at five o’clock and forget about the office, comes to the tip of the tongue.

And if I wanted that job (I did), would I have said No? Another closed question incidentally.

Other fucking stupid questions tend to be on the lines of, tell me your strengths/weaknesses. Those are so stereotyped they are unbelievable. We all know to present our supposed weakness as a strength eg, ‘I’m so pertinacious (note to interviewers, do have a dictionary under the table) that I like to see everything through to the end’ – ie I’m an incredibly good completer/finisher.

‘Are you a team player?’

‘No. I hate people.’ True in my case, although I managed to get an awful lot of people to work with me, over whom I had no direct authority, through a little persuasion.

I wonder what would happen if I said ‘No’, and then cited examples of people working with me? Giving up time to attend meetings to improve patient services? Changing working practices of a lifetime? Sharing personal data about success rates for operations?

To me, that is team working without giving it a label. Not get ten people in a room and say, ‘Hello, we are now officially the red team, and we will all work together to achieve a, b, and c’.

‘How do you get results?’ is probably a better question. My answer would be pretty simple. I’m qualified to do what I can, and I expect others to do the same. So, as a manager, it’s my job to get people to contribute their expertise and experience. Not my job to tell them what to do, theirs to say what needs to be done.

So that’s easy. Because if herding cats is impossible, you want to try herding consultants in the health service.

In the past I was actually asked the extremely classic ‘Do you have plans to have a family in the near future?’. Ouch. Well, no actually, though even then I would have thought it was none of their business, but hopefully these days, that sort of question doesn’t get asked. Well, it won’t to me at more than 50. Unless they think I look young enough to conceive.

Or, where do you see yourself in x years time? Hopefully like Judith Chalmers. Fucking off to live in the sun.

Did I want to be an editor (of a newspaper)? at one interview. No, I wanted to be a reporter on a national paper like the Observer.

Got a nice letter from that editor saying I had nearly got the job (well that hardly does it). I wrote to him a couple of years later. I got another interview but the rapport had gone. He was older and greyer and I had moved on.

What about job forms? Are you married? What the hell has that got to do with you? Date of birth? Similarly. Dates of qualifications (so we can work out your age although we really don’t discriminate).

References are the best one though. I had a spat with someone over the internet over this.

I spent some time on my MBA studying personnel, or HR, or whatever it may currently be called. The Institute of Personnel Management, which has now changed its name to something else, was very clear in its guidelines.

You don’t ask for references before you offer someone a job. That means, you don’t ask for them to be submitted as part of a job application (I’ve been asked for that in Gib), you don’t ask for them prior to interview, you only ask for them when you want to make a job offer. A reference should not be part of the job application interview process. You consider someone on their own merit and a reference is to support that candidate should you decide to offer them a job.

Apart from anything else, if I apply for ten jobs a week, how pissed off are my referees going to be, writing or printing off the same old shit for no purpose. I value my referees and don’t want them to waste their time.

But these days, I’m not sure what are the right questions or the right answers.

Q: Why do you want this job?
A: (stupid question) I want the money.

Q: What can you bring to this job?
A: Shitloads. (Cite boring experience and haven’t you read the CV?) That’s why I want lots of money.

Q: What do you want from us?
A: Lots of money, but apart from that, an interesting job that doesn’t bore the socks off me.

I had one interview scheduled back in the UK, and the train was cancelled. I rang up to ask if it was worth my while turning up because I would be late. They said it was. I got the job. Which just goes to show that everything is premeditated.

Probably the worst question I was ever asked was about some proposed legislation regarding mental health patients. I just didn’t have a clue. I didn’t get that job.

Although it was probably equalled by a civil service question about whether or not the queen (EII) should visit Russia, given that her distant rellies had been killed in the revolution. I said yes, and didn’t get the job. Seven years later she visited Russia.

How about psychometric testing? I seriously think it is a load of bollocks. To put it politely.

Whenever I have done it, I’ve usually come out pretty well on it. But what is the added value?

I completed one of those barrage of tests and was told that my communication skills were excellent. Um thanks. What do you think I have been doing for the last xx years?

At another interview, (a police authority post), I was asked if I was leaching my employers because I changed jobs every two or three years. As an ambitious young woman I thought that was a particularly crass statement. I give what I can, and when I can’t get any more, I move on. What’s wrong with that?

But some years later, at a different interview, it seemed I had spent too many years working for the same organisation – you can’t win.

Whether you get a job or not is usually determined by your CV. Unless the job is stitched up anyway for someone else. Or for you.

Don’t waste people’s time.

About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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39 Responses to And do you have any experience in..?

  1. mpwilson says:

    Brilliant post.. It made me chuckle, since I’m currently looking for work and have had some of those questions at recent interviews. Sometimes I feel like just looking them straight in the eye and saying ‘Want to know if I can do the job? Hire me and watch me do it.’ lol I’m horrible in interviews personally.. can never seem to get across what I want to say without talking my face off hahaha


    • Thank you. It’s quite discouraging to go for an interview and find the interviewers ie your potential bosses asking banal and low-level questions.

      My partner is luckier than me. Working in construction, he often gets just that. A start for a few hours, a day or a week. He’s had three interviews (sort of!) in Gib and been given the jobs on the spot. But with 40 years experience in the same trade, a time-served apprenticeship and industry qualification, he should be able to do it by now!


  2. EllaDee says:

    It’s been about 13 years since I had a proper job interview and I feel barely qualified to respond to a post you’ve obviously put a lot of thought and feeling into. You gave me many laughs as I could relate to your answers πŸ™‚ Being more skilled than your interviewer would be awkward I imagine…
    That last interview was to sign on with a recruitment agency, and they offered me a job with them. Not good memories as the owner was a lying piece of sh!t who said it was a permanent role. 11 and half months later after I’d reinvented their marketing, training and communications infrastructure she ‘restructured’ and offered me an admin coordinator role in the satellite office way out west. I made her life and mine miserable for a month then quit. After that I signed on with another agency, rolled from a temp role to a contract and then to where I am now via a for the sake of form interview.
    I do remember the in the old days having to send off written references with an application, state my age, sex and marital status, and in interviews my career goals… that would be a pay packet as much as possible please, and of course seeing as I was obviously female and would be keen to fulfil my biological obligations to society was I planning to have children?
    Once if you spent extended period of times in roles you were stable, now you’re staid. I need to move on… and out.
    Referees have always been problematic. Only in particular circumstances eg redundancy, would you want your current employer to know you were going for other jobs. I had wonderful references many of which I drafted & typed myself. I think the current state of play is much more effective. No written references, simply a verbal check over the phone necessary. Not that it’s wise to say too much one way or another these days.


    • Thanks for your nice words ED, but to be honest I rattled it off after a comment by Andrew about interviews over on roughseas. I’ve obviously mentioned some of the Gib experiences before, but I thought it would be interesting to look back over the years at some of the others as well.

      It’s easy enough to be keen and try hard at an interview when you are relatively inexperienced, but once you have carried out plenty of interviews yourself, it’s much harder to put yourself in the right frame of mind, and not spend most of your time mentally criticising the interviewers.

      Agencies are odd aren’t they? That reminds me, there is one here that I need to register with. I didn’t even know it existed but it was a tip from a Gibbo, so must be all right! We used an agency for secretarial/admin staff at one point and got an excellent (Aussie) woman. Fast, accurate, keen, sunny personality. When our organisation restructured, I went elsewhere and took her with me. Don’t think she even had an interview, just got slotted in. I’d had a – fixed – interview though. Didn’t stop me being nervous however.

      I did spend ten years in the health service, in different organisations, and in different roles. The real trouble was, I liked where we lived, and I wasn’t that keen to up sticks again and move to the other end of the country. Other people seemed to get promoted within their organisation so I figured I’d have a go at it.

      The last Gib interview I had wanted references, so I contacted a former boss and explained the job. He asked me to draft it for him. It was one of those, please submit your references with your job ap, so sticking to my principles I didn’t. I never got asked for it in the end. I wonder if it would have made a difference if I had. Doubt it as the ad was very strangely worded requiring specific experience that few people would have had.

      A ‘phone check eh? I’ve got a different tale about that one, I’ll make it another post when I remember. I do think you should take candidates on face value. I’d be tempted to check on certs if I wasn’t quite sure about someone, but otherwise, you have to on what they say and how they perform at interview. Mind you, I did set tests when I wanted to recruit PR officers to make sure they could write!


  3. Andrew says:

    I only had 3 jobs in over 30 years and I don’t remember any truly daft questions. To a large extent when interviewing I assume technical competence and try to understand the person’s fit for the organisation. I always told very senior hires just what the organisation was from an insider’s perspective. One woman asked me the question: where are all the black females in this company? Actually quite a crass question as we have in our group 13 African countries stuffed full of talented females, including a few CEOs. What she really meant was Afro-Caribbean female employees. Answer – in the USA, not Asia!! But I hired her anyway (I was one of 10 interviewers over a month or so). After 12 months she came to me and said I was the only one who had told her the truth about what it was like to work for the company.

    Psychopathic tests are fun. I did them for my last job and when I asked what they showed the guy said “no black holes”. We also did Gallup interviews and got a bi-annual 360 feedback. I loathed the HR team with a passion. They were form over substance. Box tickers. I rarely saw any real interest in the individual. The coaching I do now is often rebuilding confidence when someone has had the crap knocked out of them. But the biggest issue is helping people transition from technical competence to managerial / leadership roles. Not many people interview around these areas and even fewer people properly prepare up and coming colleagues for the switch over. Understanding that you may well have people working under you that know more than you in certain areas is quite an eye-opener for some. I tend to ask how they have become comfortable with making major decisions and accepting accountability. Give me examples of how you have reacted to failure and disappointment.

    I don’t mind the strengths and weaknesses question. Self-awareness is important. Probably better to frame it differently but you don’t want to hire people who don’t know how to compensate for their development needs (nobody calls them weaknesses any more). After I retired I wrote a piece called Retrospective or “Things my father never taught me”. My learnings from 30 odd years of work. My old employer now uses that as part of their training programme. I have had some wonderfully kind e mails from people about it. Perhaps I should publish it πŸ™‚


    • Well, to start with, they wouldn’t ask you if you were planning to get pregnant would they? Nor would they be interested in whether or not you were married (for the same reason).

      Presumably when you get to the interview stage, you or someone else has sifted through the hundreds of dross job aps. I put a local ad out for a PR officer (I didn’t bother with national, saving that in reserve in case I didn’t get any decent local applicants) and nearly drowned under the number of PR wannabees. A fire officer who had spoken to the media on the ‘phone a couple of times – and I knew exactly how little that involved. People who liked chatting to people. People who had done English O level. The list was endless. Shame I didn’t write them down for posterity. I had very few reasonable candidates and basically appointed the two who I’d favoured from their CVs anyway

      I also set a test because I just didn’t want to have people joining the department who couldn’t write. So there was an easy (to me) press release exercise using a fictitious board paper and a broader general management type paper where I asked people to choose priorities for funding and why. Health is such a political environment and I wanted people who displayed even a tiny bit of lateral thinking. There were no right answers, I just wanted to see the thought process. I’d discussed it with a decent HR manager and she thought it was good enough to use in future interviews/training. Bet I never got the credit for it!! She was actually an OK HR person, but I think HR has deteriorated over the years.

      You could probably categorise me as technical to manager, ie writer/PR person to running a department. When I joined the health service I was the only person who had both journalistic and public sector PR experience. The head was a scientific writer (?), his deputy had been a journalist all her life and thought we should run the dept like a newsroom (PR doesn’t work like that, I know because I thought the same when I first started), she was an appalling manager too, a dog biscuit salesman, a couple of former admin staff, a nurse, and someone who had worked for a charity. It wasn’t really surprising that I got a promotion within a few months of starting. But basically, there was no training/help/coaching at all regarding managing people. My advantage was, that I did know more than the people I was ‘managing’.

      By the time I had moved organisations and was working increasingly with clinicians, I’d done the MBA, and learned that life isn’t always simple in the office.
      More on management:

      I’d struggle with your failures and disappointment question though. In terms of office work, I just can’t remember any, unless I go back more than 30 years. Personal life? probably getting ditched by a boyfriend at 15 – moped around for days, mainly due to hurt pride. Business? Not getting a big decorating contract that was well priced and with a superb specification (that the bastards later used to give to someone else). But everything comes to her who waits, and I got my revenge later. They are probably not the right answers.

      I am afraid my retrospective about work would be very succinct. Don’t trust anyone.


      • Andrew says:

        How sad! Seriously. Don’t trust anyone? I couldn’t work like that. I’d end up doing everything myself and would probably collapse in a blubbering, gibbering heap PDQ. Have you mellowed with age? I have. I no longer bite the heads of chickens or colleagues (senior as well as junior if incompetent). I just bite aircrew nowadays. And Canon Service Centre chaps. Oh and Audi repair chaps. Other than that I rarely savage anybody. Please tell the contract revenge story. It might cheer me up.


        • Been stabbed in the back too many times. That’s a) journalism and b) public sector work for you.

          It’s not about trusting them to do the work, it’s about trusting them in relationships. Different.

          Of course. I am very mellow. That’s probably why no-one will employ me as I gaze at them across the table at interview with my bored mellow expression.

          I didn’t do mellow with HP bots when I had a printing problem. HP, used to be good. Total shite now. Canon, hm. Photos or printy stuff? I bought a pretty good laserjet which functions with Hal (Mac) for printing but not for scanning. Don’t they realise intelligent computer users buy Hals? Why do they not provide the drivers for Macs?

          The contract revenge story is short and sweet, but not for publication.


          • Andrew says:

            Canon Cameras. Shutter been pressed 1100 times – ****ed. Over 12 months old so Canon say out of warranty – pay up. A camera shutter unit should NEVER fail after 1100 activations. Maybe 100,000 but come on Canon – don’t hide behind a warranty.


          • 1100 is nothing though!! You’re not a photographer at all! That’s only 21 shots a week. Come on, even I can beat that!


          • pendantry says:

            It’s called ‘designed obsolesence’, a concept which is now mandatory in the pursuit of ‘growth’ and ‘progress’. In the case you cite it would appear that the product was designed by ‘experts’, since it failed just outside — not inside — the warranty period.

            Arguing as you (and I!) do that your product should last longer than it did risks the employment prospects of those who rely upon the continual increase in growth of stuff.

            It’s an increasingly barmy bloody world.


          • Tell me, at a much more simplistic level, how many coffee machines fail one day outside their one year guarantee? And washing machines? And water heaters? And our nearly 40-year-old Land Rover functions perfectly well. Technological improvements are great aren’t they? Build in a guaranteed failure and make people spend more. Very clever.


          • pendantry says:

            Your 40 year-old Land Rover would have been designed in an earlier era, when quality was valued more than repeat sales.


          • Absolutely. That’s why I have always refused to get rid of it. And why they changed the design to be able to sell more new vehicles. But we can still buy most genuine original part equipment. Don’t start me on this topic! I may have written about it, I’ll see if I have.


          • pendantry says:

            May I ever so ‘umbly offer you one or two of my own thoughts on the concept.


          • Read and commented πŸ˜‰


  4. Vicky says:

    I’ve only had seven jobs in my whole working life, Five of those seven were very basic informal interviews, after being recommended by a friend. Of the other two, one was my very first interview and the other, I’d like to think my qualifications helped.

    I will add though, all my jobs have been in a totally different league to your high flying ones.
    I do think the married/pregnancy questions (which would have annoyed me totally) are probably thrown more to high flyers because of the importance/type of job, employees of that standard are harder to replace……, well there are ten other folk waiting in the line who were just as able.


    • I’ve had five serious ones, but a load of others that were casual or temporary eg working in Aus in distribution centres or cafes, bars, restaurants, canteens. Cleaning out the ovens at the kitchen for a brewery and getting rid of the cockroaches was an illuminating experience. Cutting and making sandwiches was preferable.

      I wouldn’t say I flew that high V. I would have liked to have gone further, but quite honestly, I got absolutely sick of it.

      The pregnancy/marriage question is totally discriminatory. And I was actually asked it for pretty low level jobs, not the higher ones. It was just idiots interviewing me, to put it bluntly. And, I had a colleague who successfully took her employer to an industrial tribunal when she got down-graded during her pregnancy. These people (men) were utterly stupid. She’d had the same experience during her first pregnancy. They don’t keep up with legislation. Downgrading a woman on maternity leave is just absolutely tonto. And discriminatory. No wonder I left!


  5. Sometimes you can hear the writers voice–I mean that in the physical sense–when you read a piece. Since I have never actually heard you speak I invented a nice lilting Welsh (hey today is St. David’s day) one for you. It worked, especially when I got to paragraph 13 when you reached maximum strength.
    Synchronycity again–on my own blog I’m currently drafting the next post which is about building an elearning team. While I don’t go right into the details of the job interviews (hey I want people to actually read it) many of the very issues you brought up came suddenly rushing back in…
    By the way, my most favourite question IS that one about why you feel you are best suited to the job in question. Me–I look for the responses that suggest the candidate is comfortable working with others. Really–the rest has a habit of sorting itself out once you have that one thing :>)


    • Forget the Welsh accent, apparently I don’t do it very well, according to Welsh Partner. You need to substitute it for Posh Yorkshire.

      I’ll tell him about St DD when I remember. No leeks available though.

      Need to catch up on your elearning series, really impressive so long ago.

      Ah, that will explain why I don’t always get jobs. My first answer, is always, I can do this job. (Technical beats managerial – which is silly).

      I posted a link in my reply to Andrew about a meeting with medics,
      I should probably do well to consider that as sage advice. Not that I like working with others, but I do like getting them to do what I want πŸ˜‰


  6. I was interviewed when starting out in law….it should have been O.K. as father knew the head of chambers but it was way back in the days when women having a career was regarded as a bit odd, so instead of just giving me the nod as happened with the chaps they decided to interview me.

    The main concern seemed to be the implications for the social make up of chambers if I used the same loo as the typists.
    I asked them what happened when female clients needed to use the loo and there was a sort of huddle which resulted in the conclusion that if it was O.K. for some of the well heeled would be divorcees than it would be all right for me as I, no more than the divorcees, would wish to hobnob with the typists.

    I was accepted, they kept their illusions and I hobnobbed with the typists.


    • I nearly nearly did law. I found the boringness of it quite attractive. Although daddy didn’t know anyone in chambers.

      Have to confess though, that with the exception of one of my secretaries I didn’t hobnob with any of them. But I didn’t hobnob with work colleagues anyway, so there probably wasn’t any deliberate discrimination there, it was across the board.


  7. I am sure that I have said this before – it is the recruitment consultants that I despise. They add very little if anything to the process but have managed to convince organisations (especially in the public sector) that they are essential.
    Over the years I interviewed hundreds of people without their ‘help’ and I didn’t make many mistakes.I will confess however that I usually made my mind up about a candidate very quickly!


    • I’m not sure if you have, but either way, I’ve forgotten! Actually any consultants are usually a pain. One of my smart-arsed colleagues came out with some comment about asking them the time, and they tell you to buy a watch. You don’t get an answer, basically. Or maybe you do. But either way, you don’t need to employ someone to tell you it is ten to ten, or to buy a watch. I’ve never used HR ones.

      I’ve not interviewed hundreds, but I have read through hundreds of ghastly job apps. I felt obliged to read through them all, even the total no-hopers, in the interests of fairness, even though there was no point. The only mistake I made was hiring someone who was recommended very highly by a colleague. God she was terrible. We had an evening meeting where she was supposed to take minutes, and she just didn’t turn up. No apology, nothing. And attitude? She made me look like sugar and spice.

      Don’t you think we all have pre-conceived ideas about candidates and/or make our minds up in those first few moments? The rest of an interview is just reinforcing our prejudicejudgement.


  8. bluonthemove says:

    I think a lot depends on who is interviewing you. I used to hate it, it wasn’t something I was any good at. Interviewing was not something I ever did outside of the recruitment process. I was good at asking open questions though, that was something I did on a daily basis. Fortunately I’ve mainly worked for relatively stable organisations with low staff turnover, so I ended up interviewing maybe once a year at most. As Chair of Governors at the local high school I used to interview candidates at Head and Deputy Head level, didn’t enjoy that much either.

    From the other side of the desk, one thing I hated was interviewers lying to me. I can usually tell when someone thinks I’m the best candidate and try and bring the thing to a verbal job offer there and then. They’ll say something like ‘I need to discuss this with x, y or z’ but then go on and say how much they look forward to working with me etc. etc.

    On two occasions the lying little toerags had actually resigned and were working their notice. I put great store in using the interview to assess whether they are the kind of boss I want to work for and in both cases if I’d been interviewed by their replacements I wouldn’t have taken the job, indeed I probably wouldn’;t have been offered it either. Both jobs I left within a year.


    • There always seemed to be a Mr/Ms Nice and a Mr/Ms Nasty. And a bland personnel/HR one. I didn’t particularly like interviewing for secretaries, but interviewing for PR managers was OK, and the panel usually did a fair bit of prep work beforehand so that we all agreed to cover different question areas, and I felt they went as well as they could.

      At my last place, the chief exec who was first there used to involve assistant directors in interviews for director posts, figuring that it was important we were happy with the choice. Same procedure, we’d be paired up (by the chief exec) and then it was up to us to agree how to manage it. We set groups of questions for each pair, and within the pair, split them again. Nothing worse for a candidate than four or five informal meetings for 20-30 minutes being asked the same tedious questions. I’m not sure how much attention he paid to our views, but at least he got the buy-in to the process.

      I’ve been on the other end of the meet the senior members ‘for an informal chat’ too. Some do it well, and some are appalling.

      People would never say anything that sounded like approval (or disapproval) in any of the interviews I had. I found some of the harder ones were the ones I got, and when I was interviewing we tended to be really nice to the no-hopers. The only thing I could ever work out was when people were def not interested!

      One of our directors accepted the job with us (obviously) and by the time he came to start we’d reshaped the organisation, and he had a totally different title, remit and new staff (including me). He was pretty racked off with that, unsurprisingly, but shrugged his shoulders and got on with the job. I enjoyed working for/with him. A new chief exec came in, and all but one of the directors and asst directors left.


  9. angryricky says:

    In the US, it’s standard practice to ask for references with the application/CV/etc. They don’t call them until after the interview, though. However, it’s illegal for past employers to say bad things about you and thus prejudice future employers against you. When hiring, you have to learn to read the silences.


    • In the UK they wanted the names and contact details before interview, and by default they would ask for them if you were interviewed, unless you stipulated otherwise, which I always did. They aren’t going to offer one job to eight or ten people so why ask for sixteen or eighteen unnecessary references? That’s just wasting peoples’ time and is basing an assessment of a candidate on someone else’s view.
      It wasn’t illegal to say bad things about people – one of my employer’s did and cost me a job, which didn’t matter in the end as I got a better one. And I managed to find out who it was, so didn’t make that mistake again. When I was working for a Director of Nursing Services (this is nearly 30 years ago), he was extremely careful what he wrote, so he didn’t get sued for defamation. But yes, read between the lines. I don’t know if people are doing ‘phone call references in the UK these days. One of the classic questions used to be ‘Would you employ this person again?’ I probably wouldn’t but that was nothing to do with their ability or competence, rather that I don’t think you should revisit past employers/employees – everyone needs to change and move (on). I usually wriggled out of that by saying not in their current capacity as I thought they a more challenging role etc etc.


  10. pendantry says:

    Pertinacious’. Good word, thanks for that.

    *wanders off making a note to investigate synonyms for all the other negative traits he has — starting (naturally) with ‘procrastinaton’…*


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