Bad Reference?


======= Date Modified 30 04 2009 15:04:23 =======
I'm a little confused about my application situation. Last year, I was getting lots of interview offers but messed them up because of my nerves. Now I'm much better at preparing for them, I feel a lot better in interview situations, the person who conducted my last job interview (just a job to get me by!) said I didn't even seem nervous at all! Now I have a different problem, I have been applying for positions I am more than suitable for, I have even been told that my background and experience is "more than appropriate" for PhD study, however even if the supervisors seem interested, a few times now they have at the last minute said they don't want to interview me. Does this mean that on paper, I am a good candidate but one of my references is bad? I asked permission from all three (yes, three!) and they agreed, surely if someone agrees to write one it will be pretty good? Surely if they would give a bad reference, they would just refuse out right seeing as its their words on the line?

OR: I'm not sure if academia is reacting to the recession in the same way as the job market? As in, they are being really anal over who they choose seeing as funding is short and there are more applicants?


don't blame your references - with the recession going on, more and more people seriously consider doing a PhD, often those that are really good and would have otherwise gone straight into industry to earn heaps of money.

Why don't you just write a polite email, asking the supervisors why they rejected you? Much better than continue guessing about if one of your references makes you look bad! I am sure, the supervisors don't mind to give an honest answer.


I thought that references normally wouldn't be contacted until AFTER the interview stage? I agree with the earlier poster, you could ask why you weren't brought for interview, what have you got to lose? Also you could take the references off your CV until after the interview - I just say 'references available on request' which is fair enough because you don't want them ringing your current boss until you know you have a new job!