How do I politely tell someone I will not be their reference for a job?

How do I politely tell someone I will not be their reference for a job?

8 Answers

  • John P
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Depending on how you know that person, the prospective employer might not value your reference highly anyway. If you were the boss of that person then the reference would have value, but if you simply know that person as a neighbour or because you know his parents than your opinion would have far smaller value.

  • 1 month ago

    just say you won't be their reference

  • 1 month ago

    You simply tell them "I'm sorry, I'm not willing to be a reference."  If they ask why, then you have two options--either tell them why, or don't. But that is all you can do. If they put your name and contact information down anyway, tell anyone who calls you are not giving any references. Beyond that, there isn't anything else TO do.

  • 1 month ago

    You haven't given much detail.

    Who is this 'someone'? And why would you want to refuse to give a reference?

    If it's a work colleague then it's fairly easy to say that you are unable to give personal references as such and it would need to go through HR.

    if it's a friend then it's harder to come up with a reason why you want to refuse? After all why would you want to block their attempts at getting work?

    If it's someone you feel you couldn't give a positive reference about,  then again you will have to come up with a reason without causing too much offence.

    But without know the who and the why, it's difficult to be more specific in what to say to them.

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  • fcas80
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Just tell them you were privately advised by the Human Resources department not to be someone's reference.  No one will verify that.

  • 1 month ago

    Say, "Excuse me my very great chum, but I have a frightful headache today, Hope you don't mind, but cannot do that job reference. Jolly good luck anyway, ta ta for now and toodle pip".

  • 1 month ago

    It depends on why.

    If you are a professional co-worker - your company may have a policy against anyone giving references except for the Human Resources department. "I'm so sorry, Zill, the HR department says no one can give a reference except them."

    If you are their boss, and you really hated the way they worked, you can just tell them it is against company policy to confirm more than the dates worked and the pay level earned.

    If it is a friend, you cannot give other than a 'friend ' reference .."Yes, I have known Zill for 15 years...since senior year in high-school, but I've never worked with Zill, so I cannot say anything about how  Zill can do a job."

    And there is always: "I don't know what you do. You need someone who is actually more familiar with your work and job requirements than I am."

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    You don't.  

    If they want to put you down as a reference, that's their choice and there isn't anything you can do about it.  

    It's none of their business whether you give them a reference and what you say.   Discussions between you and another person are confidential. 

    This is why it's 100% silly to ask someone if they will be your reference.   You don't owe them any explanation or guarantees about what you will or won't say about them or even if you will take the call.

    If you truly want to tell them that you won't be their reference (why you would want to do this, I have no clue), you could just tell them that it's your policy to verify dates of employment and rate of pay, but that your attorney has advised you not to give subjective opinions. 

    If I knew what your relationship to this person is, I would tweak my answer.   You didn't reveal if you are an employer, supervisor, coworker, teacher, coach, etc.

    When someone asks me if I will be a reference, I just smile and say "Sure".   But I do not report back to them about whether I gave a reference and what I said because it's none of their business.


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