References: What to Do When Your Former Boss Dislikes You
by David Crays, TheCareerKing
It would be rare if an employer “didn’t” check references before they hire you. It is a time honored tradition that nearly all managers will respond to questions regarding a former employee’s references.
It is very unlikely that the future employer will walk away without being more impressed and convinced about you and your qualifications. But what about a boss you didn’t get along with?
No worries. Here are some ways of getting past this final hurdle to a new job:
1) Don’t use her as a reference – this may work if you have enough other references that you aren’t worried about. However, if she works for your most recent company, you may not be able to get away with this, unless you are still employed there.
If you are still employed there, it is easy to prevent contact because it could cost you your job. If you aren’t employed there anymore and it was the most recent job then you have to be creative.
a) Ask the former boss for permission to list her as one of your references. She will be impressed you consider her opinion important despite disliking you.
b) If you can’t do that then just list her as one of your references and hope for the best; it is unlikely she will trash you for these key reasons:
i) HR policy may prevent it due to potential litigation from you
ii) HR policy at many companies will only confirm you were employed there and the dates. They won’t disclose anything else
iii) She may prefer helping you over your future employer. She may recognize she was culpable in why you didn’t get along or even be devious enough to wish you on someone else.
c) If you are certain it could get ugly, be up front about it with the new employer. Be very diplomatic about it, state you didn’t get along, be prepared to give an example and take ownership of it and what you learned from it.
It would be unusual for the former boss to continue to trash you, but if you find out that they are doing so, consult an attorney. Once call from them will usually fix that problem.