Have an old colleague that volunteered me as a reference without asking ahead of time and lied about the way we interacted. She said I was her direct report which is a massive lie. This person then proceeded to try to derail my day by asking me to hop on an urgent call to fabricate the reference I’m supposed to give them. I’m angry but it’s also hard times. Someone pls be the voice of reason and tell me how you’d react?

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I hope that person is reading this b/c it’s terrible that they did this to you.

I’m close to those I use as references and yet I still make it a point to give them a heads-up and ask their permission before doing so.

Hard times or not, this person is clearly selfish and you don’t owe them anything. Especially since they dragged you into their lie.

If you don’t want to do it (which you don’t) or confront them about it, than simply don’t respond to either their message to you or the employer’s inquiry. It’ll force him/ her to find someone else.



I made the mistake of answering the person because they messaged me on Instagram asking if I had 5 minutes for a quick call instead of telling me what it was about and I politely declined. I’m trying to calm down enough to tell them politely and kindly that this is wildly inappropriate and not an ok situation to put someone in.


Oh wait I just read through - that is all insane. “When you see crazy coming, cross the street”!


This person was also fired from the company we worked together at. The projects we worked together on were because they were overwhelmed and I came in to relieve them. They disappeared and never checked in after they handed them off to me.

They messaged me ON INSTAGRAM to ask for my phone number for the reference. I am blown away that this story is real rn.

I ALWAYS communicate with my references first and I never coerce them. I always ask if they feel comfortable and give them a few days notice.

This feels insane? Basically looking to calm down before I return the recruiters call and to see if I’m not completely evil if I tell the truth.


You’re not evil for telling the truth. It’s your call, but the reason they don’t get this job is not *you* it’s *them.*

You might be one of many people they are trying this with. Totally not okay!


If I was going to give someone the benefit of the doubt, your person in your situation would have exhausted that benefit. Do the hiring manager a favor and politely return their call/inquiry, and tell them you can’t confirm what you’re being asked. If they press, don’t lie. Telll the truth.

Times are tough but this is definitely a case of having to lie in the bed you make.


The company has already called, left a voicemail and texted me for a reference within an hour of the potential employees “pls get on this call with me” request this morning.

Avoidance or bribery

Let them know you’ll only confirm dates of employment, you can blame HR for not wanting to breach any HR policies.

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