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Reference Issue With Future Employer

 
#1 Reference Issue With Future Employer
26/06/2009 17:32

Confused

Hi all,

I am a bit confused about my reference issue.

I have resigned a year ago from a reputable organisation to establish my own Ltd company with my partner. Somehow it didn’t work out so we are about to declare it as a dormant company and I am going to begin applying for jobs. I would like to mention on my CV that I was an employer of that XYZ company rather than the owner of the company.

Obviously the future employer would ask for reference from the XYZ company. Now my concerns are-

-Would that be ethical to use my partner as a referee?

-If they find out in future that I was the owner of the company but I didn’t mention it on my CV also the referee was my partner, how would they react?

Any advice would be highly appreciated.

Thanks

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#2 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
26/06/2009 18:04

Chris to Confused (#1)

I cannot say if it's ethical or not, but I wouldn't recommend this approach: What sounds better in a job interview: Having tried to start up your own company? Or telling them that you were employed by a company that they have never heard of and answering questions related to that company?

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#3 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
26/06/2009 19:05

anon to Confused (#1)

Yes, it just sounds bizarre to pretend to be an employee when you were the owner. I don't see the benefit, but there's an obvious downside if the prospective employer found out (they think you're dishonest, or worse, they think you're a weirdo).

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#4 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
26/06/2009 19:12

Anon to anon (#3)

Where you genuinely an employee of the Ltd company? If so, it's not lying to say so! If the employer wants further detail, it's up to them to ask.

I bet THEY won't tell you the low-down on the company you are about to join, warts and all. I bet they won't tell you "yeah the advert says a bonus of 10-20% but we'll probably come up with some excuse so that bonuses end up cancelled next year", for instance.

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#5 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
27/06/2009 09:57

The real Anon to Anon (#4)

By the same warped reasoning, I'm sure you'd justify claiming to have been an astronaut, Chief Executive of Google, and the world record holder for the 100m on your CV.

If you have a genuine mental illness, I hope you get well soon. If you're just plain dishonest, please convey my sympathies to your parents - I empathise with their disappointment in you.

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#6 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
27/06/2009 10:31

Confused to The real Anon (#5)

@ The Real Anon

I think you are missing a point. I am not boosting my CV, actually I am downgrading myself to become more employable (i.e not raising any suspicion to the employer that I am here to steal some of his clients, he will leave again to work for himself etc).

Technically I was an employee there as it was a Ltd company. So I am not lying on my CV. Just I am not declaring some extra info by avoiding flowery designation from the past.

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#7 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
27/06/2009 21:42

KRS1 to Confused (#1)

I think everyone's missing the big issue here. If you state you were an employee, your partner would be the only person who could be a referee. However, having your partner as a referee is a massive no-no. If you state you were an employee and can't provide a reference, you won't get the job. The only way forward is to list your role accurately as owner of the company, which then gives you leeway to give a client reference.

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#8 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
30/06/2009 15:56

Mars A Day to Confused (#1)

Confused, why are you so reluctant to tell potential future employers that you were one of the founders/owners of the now dormant company? If you ask your partner to provide a reference which is misleading you could leave them open to legal action from your future employer, and yourself open to dismissal on the same grounds. Being entrepreneurial enough to start and run your own company is a strength - and one recognised by most employers for the depth of exposure you get, and the decision to shelve the company - if explained positively - shows maturity and judgement. As for not working out, in the US they EXPECT an entrepreneur to fail several times before being successful, it's part of the learning curve; we tend to be a little less forgiving in the UK, but most MCs are international in outlook, recognise that start ups are vulnerable, and more broadly we are starting to adopt a more US perspective on these things.

Fair play to you for going out in a start up - it shows cahonas. Now go sell that to your future employers as such.

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#9 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
06/07/2009 10:03

Confused (Not anymore) to Mars A Day (#8)

Thanks Mars A Day. It is a great piece of advice indeed.

But I am wondering if I were a graduate with the same situation (founding own unsuccessful business/no client at all) would you advise me the same?

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#10 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
06/07/2009 10:45

Mars A Day to Confused (Not anymore) (#9)

Yes I would: it takes nerve, imagination and determination to start a business, even an unsuccessful one - there are so many factors which are beyond the control of the entrepreneur that the failiure of a business (especially a first attempt) is probably as useful as a learning experience as launching one successfully. If a graduate told me they had launched a business which failed I would still be very interested to know what they learned, what they might do differently, and of course why they think it failed - a good time to demonstrate some analysis and commercial acumen.

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#11 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
06/07/2009 15:02

anon to Mars A Day (#10)

Yes you would still be very interested to know what they learned, what they might do differently, and of course why they think it failed, but if you were an SME owner you wouldn't employ a potential future competitor.

would you?

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#12 RE: Reference Issue With Future Employer
06/07/2009 15:20

Mars A Day to anon (#11)

If a business is robust enough to survive, let alone hire, it can bear some potential competition. I cannot think of a single private sector organisation which has no competition.

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