You’ve been asked to provide a job reference – but the circumstances may not always pan out in a positive way. You may not feel comfortable vouching for someone, or your reference wouldn’t be a positive one. So is it offensive to decline a reference? Today we’re sharing all the different possibilities, positive and negative, and how to go about them, below!

Questions You Should be Prepared to Answer as a Job Reference

You’re asked if you’ll provide a reference for someone and they advise that you’ll have some time before you’re contacted, which allows you time to prepare. What are some topics you should assess beforehand? Find out here.

How to Give a Reference (When You’re Least Expecting It)

You’re contacted by a company to provide a reference before the person has actually asked you. However, you’d like to attempt to give a good reference – regardless of not knowing the company, position, what their goals are, etc. But you also don’t want to give a negative impression on the person who is applying for the job for not being prepared. So, here are some tips on how to give a very spur of the moment, job reference.

You Probably Don’t Know Modern Job Reference Etiquette

Olson says that including “‘References available upon request’ on your resume is outdated and unnecessary. ‘The assumption is that, if we ask, you will be able to provide three references if you haven’t already,’” Surprising? Maybe. Understandable? Yes. Find out more modern job reference advice, here.

My Employee Asked Me to Be a Job Reference

You may be asked to give a reference to an employee who is currently still employed at your company. And if that’s the case, it’s your duty as a manager to “handle it professionally, including giving them a good reference if they’re a good employee”. Here are some other tips when you’re asked to give an employee reference.

What to Do When a Bad Employee Asks for a Reference

When you’re asked to be a reference for a current or past employee, you may feel honored knowing they thought of you to vouch for them. However, when the person who is asking, wasn’t the best employee – how do you approach the situation? Do you try to give a neutral reference? Try to talk about all the positives and explain that you don’t want to answer other questions? Can you choose to decline a reference? Find out here.

Tips for Turning Down a Reference Request

Let’s say a not-so-great employee or someone that you feel doesn’t have relevant skills, doesn’t work well with others, is not reliable, etc – asks you to be a reference and you’d like to decline. How do you say no without making it uncomfortable? Here’s what to say.


[Have you been asked to be a job reference before? What was your experience like?]