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Should I write a letter of recommendation for an ex-employee or not?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by in stitches, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    Here is the story. An employee recently quit. He was probably going to be fired anyway and he knew that, so Friday afternoon two weeks ago he just walked out the door without any notice (he is a diva as you will see). He now wants a letter of recommendation.

    This is why I am on the fence about what to do. On the one hand he was a very good salesman, great with customers and was for the most part an alright guy. He would stay late whenever needed without any problem. As a person I liked him a lot.

    The flip side is he was a real diva, got into loud fights with other employees (sometimes in front of customers) and complained about certain tasks that he didn't want to do. I'm not talking about taking out the trash or cleaning toilets, I'm talking about writing his sales invoices correctly, an so on. Without a doubt the highest maintenance employee I have ever had. He was also often late. His trustworthiness is also suspect.

    I know these things will unlikely change, and to leave them out of the letter is a disservice to any future employer. To put them in and the letter is worthless. What say you SF?
     
  2. FtRoyalty

    FtRoyalty Senior member

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    Would you rehire him? If not, then you probably have your answer.
     
  3. Valor

    Valor Senior member

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    He quit without giving notice, you don't have to write shit. Beware, if he uses you as a reference I think it's illegal to say anything negative about him other than the fact that he worked for you during the period he claims.
     
  4. jumpinjeffd

    jumpinjeffd Well-Known Member

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    It seems like all you are left with is a generic letter stating that the guy worked for you, did his job most of the time, and was a good person. Not a glowing recommendation at all...so I would not provide it. The justification is easy.....if the guy was like any good employee you would not ask this question/poll as it would be a no-brainer to provide one. Walking out the door with no notice is reason enough not to provide a reference.
     
  5. meph

    meph Active Member

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    Tell him that you're unwilling to write a dishonest letter of recommendation, and that it's probably better, for his sake, that you don't write the letter. He should get the clue, especially if he knew he was going to be fired.

    He sounds like a prick... don't encourage him.
     
  6. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    It seems like all you are left with is a generic letter stating that the guy worked for you, did his job most of the time, and was a good person. Not a glowing recommendation at all...so I would not provide it. The justification is easy.....if the guy was like any good employee you would not ask this question/poll as it would be a no-brainer to provide one. Walking out the door with no notice is reason enough not to provide a reference.

    i thought about doin a poll but i want to hear opinions on this, i think polls prevent convo sometimes. for example your post was more helpful and insighful than a simple no.
     
  7. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    Here is the story. An employee recently quit. He was probably going to be fired anyway and he knew that, so Friday afternoon two weeks ago he just walked out the door without any notice (he is a diva as you will see). He now wants a letter of recommendation.

    This is why I am on the fence about what to do. On the one hand he was a very good salesman, great with customers and was for the most part an alright guy. He would stay late whenever needed without any problem. As a person I liked him a lot.

    The flip side is he was a real diva, got into loud fights with other employees (sometimes in front of customers) and complained about certain tasks that he didn't want to do. I'm not talking about taking out the trash or cleaning toilets, I'm talking about writing his sales invoices correctly, an so on. Without a doubt the highest maintenance employee I have ever had. He was also often late. His trustworthiness is also suspect.

    I know these things will unlikely change, and to leave them out of the letter is a disservice to any future employer. To put them in and the letter is worthless. What say you SF?


    No. He left on bad terms (by definition, if he walked out with no notice). By writing a letter of recommendation you acknowledge to your remaining team that this is acceptable behavior.

    It's an easy out - if he asks - you can just say that given the circumstances of his departure, you can't offer a recommendation.
     
  8. marg

    marg Senior member

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    you only have 2 options, and both involve not writing a recommendation. you can base the decision on the terms of his departure (not helpful for him) or you could tell him the true reasons for not writing the letter. depends on the relationship you may still have with this person.
     
  9. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    No.

    Never, for anyone, no matter how good of an employee.
     
  10. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    No.

    Never, for anyone, no matter how good of an employee.


    never for anyone who left/was fired under any set of circumstances. period?
     
  11. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    I would NOT write a letter of recommendation.

    I know these things will unlikely change, and to leave them out of the letter is a disservice to any future employer. To put them in and the letter is worthless. What say you SF?
    To put them in a letter could get you/your business sued. The truth matters not.
     
  12. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    never for anyone who left/was fired under any set of circumstances. period?

    Never, for anyone, no matter how good of an employee.

    Never, even if they donated a kidney for you.

    Never, even if they saved your life in a robbery.

    Never, even if you had sex with them.

    Never.
     
  13. DerekS

    DerekS Senior member

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    I wouldnt. Unless you guys are close friends. His ability to sell is gonna be far outshadowed by his attitude. The only way I send letters of recommendation for old employees is if they are eligible for rehire in my company. Quitting without notice would not allow him to be rehired in most of the places ive worked, so that wouldbe one less letter id have to ink my john hancock on.
     
  14. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    I would NOT write a letter of recommendation.

    To put them in a letter could get you/your business sued. The truth matters not.


    TA-RUTH! thanks for pointing that out

    I wouldnt. Unless you guys are close friends. His ability to sell is gonna be far outshadowed by his attitude. The only way I send letters of recommendation for old employees is if they are eligible for rehire in my company. Quitting without notice would not allow him to be rehired in most of the places ive worked, so that wouldbe one less letter id have to ink my john hancock on.

    we are def not good friends.

    i think the letter will not happen. hopefully he just wont ask again. i dont want to get shot g-d forbid. this is baltimore you know.
     
  15. CouttsClient

    CouttsClient Senior member

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    Never, for anyone, no matter how good of an employee.

    Never, even if they donated a kidney for you.

    Never, even if they saved your life in a robbery.

    Never, even if you had sex with them.

    Never.

    +1
     
  16. mordecai

    mordecai Senior member

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    Never, for anyone, no matter how good of an employee.

    Never, even if they donated a kidney for you.

    Never, even if they saved your life in a robbery.

    Never, even if you had sex with them.

    Never.


    why?
     
  17. Master-Classter

    Master-Classter Senior member

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    tell him that you'll gladly speak to anyone who wants a reference, and can confirm the dates of employment, role description, and some of the projects he worked on but won't comment on anything related to quality of performance or recomendations. ask HR if you can blame it on HR, so it's like a company policy and it gives him an 'out' with the next employer.
     
  18. Mr. Lee

    Mr. Lee Senior member

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    Where I am now, idn't it?
    The answer from a legal perspective is "no" BUT neither should you disparage him in any way if he puts you as a reference and you are contacted by a potential new employer. All you do is say he worked for you--confirm it--and decline to elaborate. It's sad but true that crummy employees have managed to flip things this way but this is standard protocal in any personnel office these days. I am sure you will get many similar replies. Good luck.
     
  19. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    why?

    yes. do tell.

    tell him that you'll gladly speak to anyone who wants a reference, and can confirm the dates of employment, role description, and some of the projects he worked on but won't comment on anything related to quality of performance or recomendations.


    ask HR if you can blame it on HR, so it's like a company policy and it gives him an 'out' with the next employer.


    thanks. not a bad idea, i may try that. except he is very "street" shall will say and will pick up on whats going on, be insulted and likely get heated. considering the job is already gone that could be dangerous. once again this is b-more.

    also i am all the HR we got. the only blame to pass would be onto the owners, my bosses. i have already employed that tactic, its very helpful.
     
  20. NameBack

    NameBack Senior member

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    Tell him that you're unwilling to write a dishonest letter of recommendation, and that it's probably better, for his sake, that you don't write the letter. He should get the clue, especially if he knew he was going to be fired.

    This is the best option, I think.

    Just tell him honestly that you don't think you would be comfortable writing an entirely positive letter of rec -- you would have good things to say, but would feel compelled to include unflattering facts, and he might be better off without a letter of rec.

    This happened to me with a professor once -- I had a good rapport with him and he was one of my favorite profs, but I had a bad habit of dropping/flunking his classes. I asked him if he would be willing to write me a letter of rec, since I felt he knew me best of the faculty and knew the extent of my intellectual abilities. He said he would be happy to, but would be obligated to include reference to my flakiness and poor work ethic, and that it might be more harmful than helpful.

    I felt that was a fair response, and got a rec from someone whose classes I had aced instead, even though I didn't know them particularly well.
     

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