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Re: Letters of Reference Deborah Curry 05 Mar 2004 18:31 UTC

We're going through the process of a search now and
so this thread has been quite interesting.

I think the candidate should have explained what the situation was,
offered another credible reference and let the library take whatever
action it saw fit.  I don't think the Director should have contacted
the previous institution.  I do think that unethical. However, there is
wrong with telling a candidate that this needs to happen.  At that point
the candidate can expound on the situation or withdraw the application.

 I would hope that when a candidate becomes a finalist, Directors would
say that they need some verification of quality from former
 supervisors. I really don't think that's asking too much.

 Unfortunately, there are people out there who are not good at what they
do and are able, by some means, to go from job to job.  The previous
employer could have said quite a bit, by just saying that the candidate
worked at this institution for this time period and that any other
information had to come from Human Resources, or as I've been told, from
the institution's lawyers.  Frankly, that says quite a bit.
 And unfortunately, there are folks who write references that glow in
the dark for folks that turn out to be quite inept.  Sometimes we find
we just take chances.

Deborah Curry
Coordinator, Technical Services
Oswego State University, SUNY
Oswego, NY  13126

On Thu, 26 Feb 2004, Garry Church wrote:

> What about a library director who on interviewing a prospective librarian asked about a previous position? The candidate explained that it was an awkward situation that she was glad to be away from, and let it go at that. She did not list that place as a reference or give any contact numbers for that place.
> The library director, after the candidate left, without telling the candidate, went on the web, sought out contact numbers for staff at that library, and asked about the candidate. Of course he was not given positive information by that library, and the candidate had no opportunity to respond, and the job offer was rescinded.
> The point is, is this unethical, and is contacting  a prior employer against the interviewee's wishes legal?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Diane M Lewis [mailto:dilewis@USGS.GOV]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 12:43 PM
> Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Letters of Reference
> Under a repressive regime in a library which shall remain nameless, many of
> my colleagues who moved on had to rely on peers left behind for references.
> In several instances, this strategy worked and our friends found new
> employment.
> Diane M. Lewis, Serial Records Librarian
> U.S. Geological Survey Library--MS950
> Reston, Virginia  20192  USA
> Tel. 703-648-4399
> Fax 703-648-6376
> "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on
> the next seven generations."--from The Great Laws of the Iroquois
> Confederacy
> "We can constantly make new things.  But we can't make a new
> world."--Kentaro Matsuura