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VAer1  
#1 Posted : Friday, July 31, 2020 12:18:12 PM(UTC)
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I am already a federal employee, and am looking for another federal employee position, now I will have an interview.

I am asked to provide three professional reference before interview. It has some problems for me, first I don't want to provide anyone from my current agency (I don't want anyone know I am looking for another job). Secondly, I have left previous agency for quite some years, and I don't really have their contact information, most importantly, I have not maintained contact with previous colleagues, it would be strange to ask for reference(given there had not contact during the past few years).

Yes, I am not a social person, and don't really have close friends.

So the question is: how to kindly decline to provide professional references? I have worked for three agencies before, this is the first time being asked to provide professional references.

If I have to choose between interview and providing professional references, I would like not to have the interview. I cannot have no one in mind as professional reference.

Thanks.
hemihem  
#2 Posted : Friday, July 31, 2020 3:50:03 PM(UTC)
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Professional refs can be anyone you work with, formally work with, I'm not seeing the issue here. I'm also not understanding the big secret of looking to better yourself.

VAer1  
#3 Posted : Friday, July 31, 2020 4:00:52 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: hemihem Go to Quoted Post
Professional refs can be anyone you work with, formally work with, I'm not seeing the issue here. I'm also not understanding the big secret of looking to better yourself.



It is not an issue for many people, but it is an issue for me, that is why I am posting the thread.

I usually provide performance evaluation, I think that is enough. I just don't feel comfortable to provide anyone (currently working with), since I don't want anyone know that I am looking for a new job and planning to leave the agency.

For previous colleagues, I have left the previous agency for quite some years. I don't really contact them during the past few years, a lot of them may also left the agency too.

Edited by user Friday, July 31, 2020 4:03:01 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

ex-military  
#4 Posted : Monday, August 3, 2020 3:54:50 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: VAer1 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: hemihem Go to Quoted Post
Professional refs can be anyone you work with, formally work with, I'm not seeing the issue here. I'm also not understanding the big secret of looking to better yourself.



It is not an issue for many people, but it is an issue for me, that is why I am posting the thread.

I usually provide performance evaluation, I think that is enough. I just don't feel comfortable to provide anyone (currently working with), since I don't want anyone know that I am looking for a new job and planning to leave the agency.

For previous colleagues, I have left the previous agency for quite some years. I don't really contact them during the past few years, a lot of them may also left the agency too.


As an introvert myself, I get where you are coming from. As a former supervisor, I can tell you it doesn't matter what YOU "think is enough". If they ask for for three professional references, be prepared to give them, or don't bother applying for any more jobs. You will run into this same issue every time.

In an organization the size of the Federal Government, it is common and expected that people will look to make moves for one reason or another. I don't know what your reason is for not wanting your current agency to know you are looking, but I feel confident saying it's not as big a deal as you are fearing. Anybody you would name as references has probably at one time or another gone through the same process. They get it. They understand. If they don't, then you probably don't want to work there anyway.

Give up three names (or whatever they are asking for), and move on. Or don't, and stay where you are. Your choice.
VAer1  
#5 Posted : Monday, August 3, 2020 4:05:42 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: ex-military Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: VAer1 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: hemihem Go to Quoted Post
Professional refs can be anyone you work with, formally work with, I'm not seeing the issue here. I'm also not understanding the big secret of looking to better yourself.



It is not an issue for many people, but it is an issue for me, that is why I am posting the thread.

I usually provide performance evaluation, I think that is enough. I just don't feel comfortable to provide anyone (currently working with), since I don't want anyone know that I am looking for a new job and planning to leave the agency.

For previous colleagues, I have left the previous agency for quite some years. I don't really contact them during the past few years, a lot of them may also left the agency too.


As an introvert myself, I get where you are coming from. As a former supervisor, I can tell you it doesn't matter what YOU "think is enough". If they ask for for three professional references, be prepared to give them, or don't bother applying for any more jobs. You will run into this same issue every time.

In an organization the size of the Federal Government, it is common and expected that people will look to make moves for one reason or another. I don't know what your reason is for not wanting your current agency to know you are looking, but I feel confident saying it's not as big a deal as you are fearing. Anybody you would name as references has probably at one time or another gone through the same process. They get it. They understand. If they don't, then you probably don't want to work there anyway.

Give up three names (or whatever they are asking for), and move on. Or don't, and stay where you are. Your choice.


Yes, I am very introvert too, could hardly open mouth for help(in general, any issues).

Maybe I will not bother this vacancy, why I "don't bother applying for more jobs"? Not all people asks for references.

In my opinion, in general, employee should keep it(looking for a job from another employer) private, until a firm job offer is given. That is the reason I don't want my current boss/colleagues to know I don't like working there anymore. I am not fearing, I just don't feel comfortable to let them know.

Edited by user Monday, August 3, 2020 4:09:30 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

frankgonzalez  
#6 Posted : Monday, August 3, 2020 4:57:05 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: VAer1 Go to Quoted Post
I am already a federal employee, and am looking for another federal employee position, now I will have an interview.

I am asked to provide three professional reference before interview. It has some problems for me, first I don't want to provide anyone from my current agency (I don't want anyone know I am looking for another job). Secondly, I have left previous agency for quite some years, and I don't really have their contact information, most importantly, I have not maintained contact with previous colleagues, it would be strange to ask for reference(given there had not contact during the past few years).

Yes, I am not a social person, and don't really have close friends.

So the question is: how to kindly decline to provide professional references? I have worked for three agencies before, this is the first time being asked to provide professional references.

If I have to choose between interview and providing professional references, I would like not to have the interview. I cannot have no one in mind as professional reference.

Thanks.
Having sat on quite a few hiring panels, and having called references for EVERY selection made, if you cannot come up with a single reference for your professional work, you will likely never be hired to another position (or rather...a position you would want to be in! Any position that doesn't check references is likely to be one that has a hard time keeping people for some reason. Same for any position that simply offers the job without an interview and you know no-one there).

And if you don't provide a reference, then they will call the supervisor to get some idea of your work, etc. The Performance Appraisal can be misleading...you can do the work extremely well and get a decent appraisal while also being a drain on the resources by having lots of conduct issues. Conduct and performance are two distinct issues.

I've had some people whose resume was great, interviewed well, great appraisal...and when we spoke to the references (or supervisors), the one question I found useful was "Would you hire them again?" Anything less than "Yes" would require some thinking or deeper discussion or even some more references from the applicant (in case it was just a personality conflict with that one supervisor).

I'm not a social animal, and don't socialize with co-workers after work. That said, I know I can reach out to several people at or above my grade who can provide a reference (and this is just at my current agency). I can go back to my old mentor who has retired and ask him, along with a former coworker in another agency. Find people who can speak to your performance AND (more importantly) the value you bring to an office.
You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
smithandjones  
#7 Posted : Monday, August 3, 2020 5:01:44 AM(UTC)

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Truth is they are unlikely to contact references unless they are serious. But you do have to play the game. Give them your best references and try to smile and say hi to people once a week or so. You may discover half your coworkers and bosses are looking also or at least happy to help you find what is best for you.

Trust me, I’ve got similar issues and I’m an attorney where every job is based on happy hour connections and security clearances are even more stressful if you don’t talk to your neighbors lol. Life is rough for introverts no matter how much management claims to value all types. Hang in there!
FrankJr  
#8 Posted : Monday, August 3, 2020 5:41:33 AM(UTC)
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For future situations pursue professional references. A professional reference for an experienced worker is typically a former employer, a colleague, a client, a vendor, a supervisor, or someone else who can recommend you for employment. A professional reference need not be the current supervisor or the current coworker. Collateral duty experience provides excellent opportunities to pursue professional references. Volunteer at a nonprofit for both the experience and the opportunity for a professional reference not associated with the current employer.

Do not hesitate to proceed with the interview, professional references or not. The hiring manager may or may not inquire as to the professional references. No issues with a short statement to highlight the confidential nature of the job search. The private sector ceased professional references decades ago. I have yet to meet a federal employee that isn't actively pursuing another federal job.
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