Job references are a constantly controversial topic. And of course you on the one hand your full authorization, but nowhere is so much cheating.

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Inflation of good ratings?

There is no doubt that job references help employers and personnel Employees to be better assessed in Spe. This also applies to Executives, like our author Tanja Merkens in her article 6 tips for managers explained. On the other hand, nowhere is there so much cheating as with the job reference. So why not just get rid of them?

A study by the Personal Management Service (PMS) GmbH in Berlin, the 1100 references from employees of all Industries, professional and age groups in an anonymous form shows: Employers now award “very good” ratings three times as often as in 1994, in the same period the number of “satisfactory” ratings has halved. and the proportion of “good ratings” is also clear (by around 12%). “Sufficient” references are also much rarer today.

Better notes, better performance?

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However, this does not necessarily mean that employees are performing better today than they were 15 years ago. The study also examined the credibility of the performance appraisal. In 137 certificates, for example, statements on specialist knowledge, performance aspects or the Behavior or these deviated significantly from the overall assessment. Formal deficiencies or the lack of a thank you formula also made the certificate appear less credible. Only 963 certificates without serious deviations were therefore statistically evaluated at all.

This shows that it is becoming more and more important to read "between the lines" in job references in order to be able to understand the actual performance assessment of a job applicant. However, this is precisely what is becoming increasingly difficult for employers and employees, because many people who are entrusted with creating references do not know the reference code sufficiently. professionals criticize also the pointless waste of time that goes along with the creation and assessment of job references.

Working Articles: A lot of time, high costs!

Finding out enough information is also time-consuming and expensive – but necessary. Because clumsy or ambiguous statements can fast as a Criticism misunderstanding the worker's performance.

Conversely, many employers praise the green clover in references as a precaution - after all, they are in a legal dispute in the mandatory, the bad performances also to prove. Since around 30.000 lawsuits about allegedly untrue or false job references are brought before the German labor courts in Germany every year, this could be expensive.

Neutral job description instead of work certificate!

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Some personnel experts are therefore convinced that if the trend towards better and better references continues, it will ultimately only be a matter of time before these will become meaningful as proof of performance verlieren.

Instead of a work certificate there could be a neutral job description. This is exactly what personnel experts discuss.

Recognizing cheating in the job reference: 10 tips for HR managers

Studies bring to light again and again how often work references are cheated. 10 tips on how HR recognize that.

  1. Lower expense: The creation of job references and possible clarification of disputes is associated with an excessive administrative effort. Many employers want to avoid that. Conversely, carelessly created job references are often a sign of cheating.
  2. Impersonal: Job references are automatically created by EDP in many companies - and are therefore of little significance. Cheating is also common here.
  3. Wrong formulations: It becomes difficult if the job reference contains logically incorrect wording. Then you have to differentiate: Was the administrative act just a nuisance for the company? Did the HR manager not know the certificate code sufficiently so that errors are inevitable? Or did the applicant actually help?
  4. Recognize exaggerated formulations: Many workbooks contain exaggerated praise, because the employer wants to avoid a legal dispute. This makes you worthless for an objective assessment!
  5. Questioning motivation: Getting away well in the job reference is an important motivating factor for many employees! Conversely, one can assume that something is wrong if the applicant appears unmotivated, but the job reference is excellent.
  6. Obtain references: In Germany it is completely unusual to use former employers for assessment. Therefore, the job reference is often the only meaningful document! You should change that and check carefully with previous employers.
  7. Operate additional effort: One of the most important pro-arguments in favor of job references is the additional work that companies without job references would have to undertake in order to be able to assess applicants correctly. There are hardly any serious alternatives to the job reference - at least none that require less effort. But sometimes it is worthwhile to spot rotten eggs.
  8. Acquiring a lack of specialist knowledge: HR professionals should know the certificate code - this is part of their tools! So if you get stuck with one or the other formulation - maybe a corresponding further training will help?

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