CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


By Shannon Jackson
Special to The Toronto Sun

Q:I worked for the same company for several years, and then got laid off. I just found out that they will not provide references because of a company policy. How do I get another job when everyone wants references?

A:Because of the exposure to liability that a company can face by providing references, many organizations are reluctant to do so, even when an employee was a strong performer.

Although a company may be resistant to providing a performance reference, their HR department will usually confirm dates of employment, position and whether or not they would re-hire. Providing that confirmation is better than nothing.
Send your job-related questions to Diane Janes at, or mail to Career Connections, The Toronto Sun, 333 King St. E., 4th Floor, Toronto, Ont., M5A 3X5

I would speak directly to your supervisor, and see if they are willing to provide a personal reference on your behalf.

Sometimes supervisors and line managers will go outside of the corporate policy, prefacing references with the statement that they are commenting personally, and not on behalf of the organization.

Be honest with the person who interviews you about the situation. It is not unique, and is occurring at more and more companies. The hiring manager may be able to be flexible, and accept a personal reference in addition to a human resource confirmation of employment. And don't be too sensitive about the situation; it won't be the first time they've heard it!

(Shannon Jackson is the national recruitment manager for Manpower Services Inc.

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