If you’ve been let go from a job, I think it’s really key to understand why. In today’s market there’s a lot of companies that have merged, gone out of business, sometimes a company relocates its accounting department, some people get downsized due to the economic aspects of the company, or some people get let go due to cause or their work product or performance. So I think it’s really important to understand why you got let go for purposes of references as well, and understand what your company may or may not say about you. A lot of times I find that people are afraid to ask their employer “What will you say about me if I go into the job market?” and when I go to ask them what kind of references would you get, especially if they have been at a job for a really long period of time, which happens a lot, and I have seen it happening more frequently than not, you know it’s hard to—you don’t want to go back to an employer 20 years ago that somebody worked for, most likely they don’t even know how to get in touch with that person.
So I suggest people contact either their HR department or the managing partner or somebody at the firm, the high up, and find out exactly what they will or will not say. But regardless of the reason, understanding why and being able to disclose that during the interview process will help things move along, because if you are asked to fill out a background form or ask for references on an application for employment and you don’t have anybody to put down, that could be a red flag right there, and/or if you happen to know that your company only verifies dates and titles, then you need to disclose that when you fill out that person’s information as a contact for reference and tell the hiring professional that my prior employer only gives out these type of references so what other type of reference can I try to provide for you to make sure you get what you need during the interview process. Don’t run away from it. Don’t be afraid. At the end of the day the sooner you confront the situation and understand what you’re up against, the easier it will be to go through the interview process and land that next job.