Concerned about What References Are Saying

Marion writes:
I am job-hunting. I have been to three interviews so far.
However I suspect that at least one of my references (the most recent)
is not speaking favorably of me because I did not hear anything further
from the interviewers. I always send a follow-up response and seem
to be getting ignored. I am very skilled and have always received good
to excellent work reviews in my 20 years of working.
I have been offered two other job interviews which I didn’t decline but
set them for a later date. I am curious and suspicious as to what my
two references are saying about me.
I have decided to enlist a reference-checking service to find out and
make my next decision from there. Is this a good approach? Do you
have any suggestions?

The Career Doctor responds:
It’s always a possibility that a previous employer is saying unflattering things
about you but typically if you provide references the employer starts there
not with your former bosses. So you might want to review who you use as
references and make sure they are all on the same page in what they say about you.
That said I also wonder if your age plays a role in these situations. I don’t
know the type of job you are applying for or in what industry but any time we
start talking about job-seekers in their 40s and older we must consider the
fact that age discrimination can be rearing its ugly head.
The other possibility is that you may be coming across in interviews as someone
who — with your 20+ years of experience — knows everything there needs to know
and is not receptive to new ideas or processes. For a small percentage of older
workers I have found this perception commonplace — even if the job-seeker does
not think that way.
Finally of course you can hire one of the many reference-checking companies.
Some of them do a very good job. On the other hand what’s wrong with picking
up the phone and calling your references and former bosses and chatting with
them about your job search – and asking for their assistance in helping you land
your next job?
And for all you older job-seekers out there be sure to review all the resources
Quintessential Careers offers in its Job
and Career Resources for Mature and Older Job-Seekers — Including the Baby Boomers
800-652-8430 Mon- Fri 8am - 8pm CST
Sat 8am - 5pm CST, Sun 10am - 6pm CST