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What to do when former employers give bad referencesTUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2013 09:20 AM

What to do when former employers give bad references The results of an aptitude test can provide job seekers with a sense of what type of employee they will be, but not the kind of boss they will have. This is unfortunate, as not every manager people have will be a shining example of true leadership. In some cases, the bosses workers have can take actions that will sabotage their chances of achieving career success, such as giving a bad reference to potential employers.

While the negativity shared in a bad reference can hurt job seekers' chances of landing a good position, there are ways to move past a former manager's grudge and focus on what really matters. Here are a few tips that may prove helpful:

Get help from a lawyer
Searching for jobs is stressful enough as is, which is why people may hesitate to make the process even more complicated by bringing in a lawyer. However, if a former boss keeps saying horrible things, seeking legal action may be the only option.

Lawyers can send a cease-and-desist letter to employers who seem to have nothing but bad things to say, according to the Houston Chronicle. Taking this action could be enough to get the reference in question to ratchet down their attacks and focus on the basics. Unfortunately, further legal work is sometimes required. Ultimately, it's important for job seekers to remember that this process can be expensive, which can become troublesome if they are unemployed and money is dwindling.

Talk through it
If job seekers are good with words, Scripps Howard News Service suggests they try and preempt a bad reference. If candidates have a good idea of what their previous employer will say about them, they can explain the challenges they faced in their own words. However, the news source warns that job seekers' words could seem like complaints if they are not careful.

Be honest
Sometimes, just being honest is the best approach. If job seekers are informed of the details of a negative reference during an interview, they can address them and then make the conversation more positive. Individuals can say that they and a former boss did not get along, but not dwell on it. The interview should focus on what they have to offer a company and not the past.


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