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Using a coworker instead of your supervisor as a reference

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Using a coworker instead of your supervisor as a reference

Postby James Tyler » Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:33 pm

As I said in a previous thread, I have been working at my current position since February 2014. It is a contract position (I got the position through a recruiter). My contract has been extended twice so far (it is a 6 month contract each time) and my current contract will be over in July. I’m not sure if I’ll get an extension, so I have been searching for jobs and I’ve also been working with recruiters. I have a BS degree and my previous positions have been research associate positions, and I am currently looking for research associate type of positions.

I passed a phone screen I had recently (I got the interview through a recruiter). The interviewer told me that it would be nice to have a reference from my current workplace. He emphasized the fact that references would be important. A few months ago, a coworker mentioned that I could use him as a reference in the future and he said he has provided references for people in the past. I have directly worked with this coworker and I have helped him out on his project before and he gave me positive feedback about my performance when I asked him for his feedback.

What do interviewers think of coworker references instead of using your direct supervisor as a reference? Is it okay to just provide a coworker as a reference? I’d prefer not to provide my supervisor as a reference because I don’t want to burn any bridges, but more importantly, if I end up not getting an offer for the new position, it would be very awkward with my supervisor.

Also, since I still work there currently, how should I go about asking my coworker if I can use him as a reference? Should I call him up outside of work or talk to him at work? Would it be best to use his cell phone number instead of his work number for a reference number?
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Re: Using a coworker instead of your supervisor as a reference

Postby Ana » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:26 pm

Hi James,

To answer your many questions:

- You have a contract the expires in July. It is normal to look for a job. If your manager was ever aware of your job search s/he has no right to feel there is something wrong on that.

- It is perfectly fine to use a coworker and you can explain the recruiter that you prefer to do that as you are currently still employed. That’s also fair.

- I think you could talk to your colleague during working hours. Just go for a coffee and tell him him you are starting your job search and have this interview lined up and if he’s willing to be your reference If he had already offered that to you in the past he’d most likely say yes.

- Your colleague should use his personal phone and time for providing that reference.
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Re: Using a coworker instead of your supervisor as a reference

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:52 pm

James Tyler wrote:As I said in a previous thread, I have been working at my current position since February 2014. It is a contract position (I got the position through a recruiter). My contract has been extended twice so far (it is a 6 month contract each time) and my current contract will be over in July. I’m not sure if I’ll get an extension, so I have been searching for jobs and I’ve also been working with recruiters. I have a BS degree and my previous positions have been research associate positions, and I am currently looking for research associate type of positions.

I passed a phone screen I had recently (I got the interview through a recruiter). The interviewer told me that it would be nice to have a reference from my current workplace. He emphasized the fact that references would be important. A few months ago, a coworker mentioned that I could use him as a reference in the future and he said he has provided references for people in the past. I have directly worked with this coworker and I have helped him out on his project before and he gave me positive feedback about my performance when I asked him for his feedback.

What do interviewers think of coworker references instead of using your direct supervisor as a reference? Is it okay to just provide a coworker as a reference? I’d prefer not to provide my supervisor as a reference because I don’t want to burn any bridges, but more importantly, if I end up not getting an offer for the new position, it would be very awkward with my supervisor.

Also, since I still work there currently, how should I go about asking my coworker if I can use him as a reference? Should I call him up outside of work or talk to him at work? Would it be best to use his cell phone number instead of his work number for a reference number?


I ask for co-worker references all the time. The best mix of references is two subordinates, two co-workers, and two bosses. But if you can't manage that, having that Co-worker on your side for a reference is still a good plan.

Good luck! Let us know how you do,

Dave
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
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Re: Using a coworker instead of your supervisor as a reference

Postby RGM » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:57 am

I've asked for co-worker references. In my case I explained the use of a co-worker as opposed to my direct manager, because co-worker worked with me more and thus was more familiar with my work and personality.
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Re: Using a coworker instead of your supervisor as a reference

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:30 pm

RGM wrote:I've asked for co-worker references. In my case I explained the use of a co-worker as opposed to my direct manager, because co-worker worked with me more and thus was more familiar with my work and personality.


That's fine. Just expect that the caller is going to ask, "So, tell me why Fred is not using his boss as a reference?"

Dave
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Re: Using a coworker instead of your supervisor as a reference

Postby RGM » Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:35 pm

Dave Jensen wrote:
RGM wrote:I've asked for co-worker references. In my case I explained the use of a co-worker as opposed to my direct manager, because co-worker worked with me more and thus was more familiar with my work and personality.


That's fine. Just expect that the caller is going to ask, "So, tell me why Fred is not using his boss as a reference?"

Dave


Hey Dave! I anticipated that when I spoke to the coworker. I was hired.
"Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say why not"
"If you think research is expensive, try disease." - Mary Lasker
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Re: Using a coworker instead of your supervisor as a reference

Postby Dave Jensen » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:15 am

RGM wrote:
Dave Jensen wrote:
RGM wrote:I've asked for co-worker references. In my case I explained the use of a co-worker as opposed to my direct manager, because co-worker worked with me more and thus was more familiar with my work and personality.


That's fine. Just expect that the caller is going to ask, "So, tell me why Fred is not using his boss as a reference?"

Dave


Hey Dave! I anticipated that when I spoke to the coworker. I was hired.


That's the best possible result . . . Good news!
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