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Professional references I introduced to the HR manager don't respond?

Interviews General Queries
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Garry Buttler


( 7 months ago )


I am at the end of my PhD and searching for my next professional opportunity.

I recently had a job interview for a research engineer position. I had two different interviews:

  1. with the scientific/technical managers
  2. with the HR manager.

Both went very well. According to the latest news I have from them, I am their top candidate (under the condition of internal validation of the company), and they said I just need to wait for their final answer. Here is where the problem rises:

The scientific/technical didn't ask for any recommendations from my PhD supervisors, and the HR manager simply asked for a reference, and I naively gave the name and email address of my supervisors considering that they would give a positive feedback! Apparently they still haven't responded to the email from the HR manager, and I feel they are not going to answer (I just found out by asking her).

So my question is: would it be OK if I tell the HR manager that I would provide her with another reference, for instance saying that my supervisors are not happy that I am looking for a job when I have to concentrate on preparing my defense (sounds like a lame excuse but I can't come up with something more plausible), or is it not a good idea at all?

Moreover, what if my supervisors don't respond at all? What would the company do? Would they ask me for new reference or flat out go on with their next candidate?

Dilpreet Kaur


( 7 months ago )

Moreover, what if my supervisors don't respond at all? What would the company do? Would they ask me for new reference or they flat out go on with their next candidate?

The exact procedure depends on the company(s) you applied, so we can't know for sure, but usually they will ask you for other references.

However, it is not usual for references not to respond. As a basic principle, you should reach out to your references first, and ask them if they are willing and able to function as such. that way they can be aware that they are to be expecting an email or whatever. I strongly suggest you have this in mind for the next time.

What I suggest you do now is to speak with your references (if you haven't) and politely ask them to reply. If some of them won't or can't, reach out to the company ASAP and tell them some of your references are no longer able to respond, and provide them with alternative contacts that you reached out and agreed on being references to you.

Again, it's really important that you call your references beforehand next time.

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