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dmmetler

When a friend asks you to be a reference

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But she’s applying for jobs that are a poor fit based on your experiences with her, what do you do? Especially if she really, really needs a job?

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Make a list of the things you think she actually does well, regardless of whether those would be a good fit for the job.  If someone actually did call you to ask questions based on that reference, you wouldn't have to lie.  Just focus on those things she does well.  Try to couch responses in those terms.  And, FWIW, she might surprise you.  

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Usually a reference is commenting on how a person did in the past with job skills (if it is a work reference). So no predictions of how they will do in the future are needed.

 

 

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I had a similar situation come up recently. The questions ended up being vague enough that I could just focus on her positive attributes.

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I would do as the others have suggested.  Think of things that are positive about her, and focus on those.  I can frame all sorts of things positively if necessary!

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She's probably applying for jobs that are a poor fit because she really, really needs a job and can't afford to be picky. By all means, let her know if you have a lead on something more promising, but keep in mind that she may not be able to wait for the 'right' job. 

 

Like the others said, I would write a reference focusing on the skills she does have. I'd also add in positive traits that apply to any job, like being punctual, hard working, and so on. 

 

It's entirely possible that they aren't as poor of a fit as you think they are, but even if they are? She really, really needs a job. Waiting for the right thing is a luxury. People work at jobs that are a poor fit all of the time, because the monthly bills don't care. 

 
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I would do as the others have suggested. Think of things that are positive about her, and focus on those. I can frame all sorts of things positively if necessary!

^^^ita

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I agree with the others. Concentrate on what she does well! Be sure to ask her for her resume, if she hasn’t already provided it. You may be surprised at her experience when you read it.

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Usually a reference is commenting on how a person did in the past with job skills (if it is a work reference). So no predictions of how they will do in the future are needed.

 

This. You aren’t a hiring manager; it’s not your role as a reference to decide what jobs she should or shouldn’t get. You don’t know everything that the jobs she’s applying for will involve anyway. If there’s a job you think she would hate or be terrible at, you might gently ask her about it depending on how close you are, but even that may be overstepping because presumably she knows better than you what she’s willing to do or to learn.

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You also might not know how desperate they are for people. 

 

If I ask you what are someone's technical skills and you tell me, "Anna loves learning. I don't have a lot of experience with her in that capacity, but I know that she is persistent and asks questions when she needs help," then I'm thinking, this person is obviously not the IT wizard of the group, but at least she'll let me know if she's drowning and that's all I can afford right now.

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