I filed a complaint against my supervsiors and the university issued an official apology letter for my poor experience as a PhD student and for the wrong comments my supervisors made.
When I am trying to apply to some jobs they request the name of my supervisor. I do not want to put any of them but how can I got out of not putting any of their names?
Some would say I should ask the head of department, he is one of my supervisors who got involved in the complaint because I exposed lots of corruption within the institution. He was so annoyed of me that he banned me from using the computer lab, so yes I would not trust him as a reference too.
Any other ideas please. Thanks in advance
What sort of job asked specifically for your supervisors name?
Is their a head of grad students in your department, head of your research group or any academic you have worked for? A would try to get some form of written reference and offer that. You could also contact HR and they might get you a terse bare bones reference,
It's not illegal to give a bad reference - that's a myth. References have to be factually accurate. I would imagine someone will be willing to confirm dates of study and the award of a PhD but given the complaints, I suspect HR advice would be not to go beyond that.
I understand the difficult situation. You need references. I have been (and still) in the same boat. I hate this referral system. I would put a postdoc or a senior researcher like tru said. If you put supervisors as referee they might simply not reply to any reference request from any employer you are applying at. This even happens when you have a good reletionship with them. Moreover, these reference letters (good or bad) you will never read.
It is not ideal that you are unable to get reference letters from supervisors but it is not the end of the world. They are not God. Ask one or two researchers to be your referees. If you worked before, ask also ex employer. Also ask your undergraduate lecturers/supervisors. I wish all the best.
A prospective employer wants to know what you are like to work with; ask someone who worked with you and had a positive experience of doing so to be a referee. Don't assume, though, that because they nodded and made sympathetic noises whenever you let off steam that they felt the same way.
Unless you also worked for the university, then I doubt if HR would be involved at all. As a student, any request for a formal reference would go through the Admissions, Registrar, Senate House, or "Student Records" department. If one of the supervisors asked someone in HR for advice then, as is implied above, they would probably tell them to say the bare bones and nothing else. If they say anything bad and can't substantiate it then they are theoretically laying themselves open to an accusation of defamation.
I'm sure that you thought all this through before you made your complaints and demanded an apology letter.
If I was a PI and considering offering a role to a recent PhD then regardless of the names on the application form, I would check who their supervisor(s) were and pick up the telephone and have a chat with them. It is a way of networking and building relationships across the field - your former supervisor might be asked to vet one of my grant applications, or review a draft publication, after all. There's not a lot that you can do to prevent informal conversations between peers from happening.
Similarly, if I was a supervisor and a former student said that they were going to apply for a particular job, I might well give the future PI a call to "touch base" and say how excited I was to hear that my former student was going to be applying and that I will be delighted to give them a glowing reference when the time comes. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of places [when doesn't it?] then who are the ones that are going to get short listed?
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