Don’t Let a Bad Former Employer Sabotage Your Quest for a New Job

A bad boss can be unpleasant to work for – for a variety of reasons- but they tend to be easily recognizable by some common characteristics, which include:

* An aggressive (or abusive) communication style. Bad bosses tend to be abrupt or unfriendly and then fault employees for miscommunications.

* They don’t plan well or make no contingencies for when things don’t go according to plan.

* They often take credit for employees’ good work, while placing blame on others for an unsatisfactory result.

* An arrogant or elitist attitude; bad bosses treat employees as “second-class” citizens. They also tend to motivate employees through threats about the security of their jobs.

Many people find that working for a bad boss eventually becomes intolerable and wind up leaving their job. But employees beware: the same characteristics that make someone a bad boss also tend to make them a bad former employer. “Bad bosses” frequently offer bad or negative references to sabotage a former employee’s efforts to find new employment.

If you suspect your former employer is thwarting your attempts to gain new employment, your first step should be to conduct a reference check. If you do, in fact, confirm that they are providing unflattering information to potential employers, you have the following options:

  1. You can try to keep them off a potential employer’s “radar” by not offering up their name when filling out employment paperwork. Try providing an alternate contact at the company as your reference.
  2. You can attempt to preempt a former employer’s negative feedback by explaining your challenges with them in the interview process, framing the difficulties in your own words. (Be warned, this can be a tricky proposition. If you are not careful to finesse your comments, you may come off as a complainer to a new employer.)
  3. You can have a Cease & Desist letter issued by an attorney. These letters are typically sent to the senior management, alerting them of the negative reference’s identity and actions. In the interest of their company, management will generally counsel the reference not to provide further commentary on your employment. This technique has been proven very effective; in fact, JobReferences finds that the success rate of such letters approaches 100%.

A negative reference will usually continue offering the same potentially damaging input about you to every prospective employer unless you take steps to stop it. Don’t let a bad boss sabotage your job-hunting efforts- take steps to ensure that a poor reference won’t cost you future employment opportunities.

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About Allison

Allison & Taylor Inc. and its principals have been in the business of checking references for individuals and corporate accounts since 1984. We have successfully built our brand and corporate recognition and have been recommended by industry specialists such as The New York Times award-winning author Martin Yate (“Knock ‘Em Dead Résumés”). Numerous articles have been published about our business in newspapers and magazines including The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, New Woman, Worth, National Business Employment Weekly, The Detroit News, and The St. Petersburg Times.