It makes me very happy when other people do my work for me, as a reader named Ayan just did, with the comment she left on an earlier post I did on references. She writes:
We recently interviewed a woman who wanted to leave the university system and work in the private sector (for us). Since she was teaching in another state, we asked when she planned to move; she said she was contracted to teach through the current semester and would move to our state at the end of the month.
She did great in the interview so we began the reference-checking process. Interestingly, she had *not* given a reference for the job previous to her current one. But since that institution was listed on the job application, we called and spoke to that former department chair. He gave a good reference - until we asked how she had left the job. It turns out her version of "two weeks notice" was to call and leave a message on the department head's machine over the Christmas break. This was technically two weeks, but since it was the vacation period between semesters, no one got the message; they had to scramble to find a substitute teacher when class started.
Following a hunch, we looked up the online class schedule at her present university - and sure enough, she was enrolled to teach a class for the upcoming semester. If we'd hired her, she would again be walking out on a fully scheduled course one week before it was due to start.
That seemed to indicate both a certain "rules lawyering" mentality and a willingness to drop a job without regard to their need for her. We didn't hire her. She was FURIOUS that we'd called the supervisor who was not provided as a "reference," but the form she signed clearly stated that we could and would contact *any* organization she listed in her job history.
So the lessons to take away here are: 1. Carefully read the forms a potential employer has you sign; chances are you're giving them the right to contact anyone on your history, not just your stated references. 2. Give an ethical period of notice, if at all possible. 3. If you've screwed over a boss in the past, you're likely to be viewed as a risky hire - unless you own up to your past behavior and present a compelling justification for it.
I have not a thing to add.
Okay, yes I do. I like other people doing my work for me, but I still need to put in my two cents, whether it's needed or not. (Side story: My father was a newspaper editor and one his reporters once referred to him as "a dog who has to pee on every tree." That's me too. It's genetic.)
So here's my addition to Ayan's three brilliant points: Even if you don't sign a form consenting to have any of your former employers contacted, reference-checkers may still call any of the companies listed on your resume. In fact, a smart reference-checker will often specifically hunt down additional references beyond the ones you provide -- because the list you hand over is of course the people likely to present you in the best light. Really, the only thing off-limits in reference-checking is your current employer, so assume everything else is all fair game.
Thank you, Ayan!