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Sabotaging Your Job Search: Lukewarm References | Job Search Radio

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter discusses another way that people sabotage the Job Search – – mediocre references. He also offers a way to get around a mediocre reference at a particular employer.


I worked in recruiting for a long time and I've seen it time and time again. Job hunters sabotaging their search by just making stupid mistakes. I'm continuing on with the series on sabotaging your search and talking with you about some of the ways the people do it.

Here is one that I can't believe happens but it happens all the time -- giving it references the don't just sing your praises, they may not be completely lukewarm but they come across as being disinterested and ambivalent.

When you are giving a reference, this is your opportunity to get across the finish line. Firms are going to decide whether or not to give you that great job offer, they have been thinking about or continue on looking. On occasion, they will make a lukewarm offer and just move on with it. Often, the neutrality of the reference causes them to pause. If the role, this is completely in your control. You are giving out the references. You can choose any 1 of the world to give them some reference you give them this person who gives you a halfhearted disinterested reference.. That is your fault.

Before you give out references, even at the beginning of your job search, as you're trying to get leads from places to go to, as you are trying to get out and about, start talking with the people who you are considering is a reference.. Just simply say, "I would love to give you is a reference. Would you feel comfortable with doing that I would you sing my praises to the rafters and let people know how wonderful it was?"

If you were a mediocre employee, you have to find those people who will support you because those people who will claim that they are only allowed to give out name, rank and serial number, type of references (your dates of employment and whether you are eligible for rehire), those are useless references. It is better to go to a former employer or to someone who is already left the organization who is not handcuffed by the policy (or I have to say, "alleged policy" because everyone finds a way around that if they care). Find someone who used to work with that that employer who will say wonderful things about you.

Again, don't give out lukewarm references. Find exceptional people who give an is will and will later so exceptional reference..

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio,” “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.”

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching or interview coaching from me?  Email me at and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line. offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

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