Good afternoon,

I am in Calgary and have my first ever interview with an Oil&Gas Co.

I've been asked for a "copy of two professional references". This raised a flag for me after the call ended. I'm reading that as saying they want two reference LETTERS. Is this right?

I have never been asked for reference letters before, and didn't think anyone did that anymore (and I work in HR!)

Am I reading this correctly?

Also, can I assume they will followup with a phone call to said references, and perhaps ask for phone numbers of additional references? I was always taught to never believe what I read on paper, and that was why those reference letters were useless.


jhack's picture

You could ask the requestor for clarification.


ashdenver's picture

Every country is different, of course, however, I haven't been offered nor have I offered "letters of reference" in close-to-ten-years simply because, in Human Resources, it's much better to get the names and phone numbers to [i]speak [/i]with these folks one-on-one! As an HR person, I can get soooooooooooooo much more out of someone over the phone than I could [i]ever [/i]learn from a frickin' letter! LOL

To me, personally, I would interpret that request (here in the USA) as a list of names, with business address and telephone number. If they choose to send in a form "Verification of Employment" so be it. If they choose to "drill" that reference on my character, business practices, etc., even better!

Honestly tough, the last "letter of recommendation" I bothered to get or give was in like 1995 ... !

(Surely, now, at this point, someone here will tell me not only how lax I was in securing my own letters of recommendation but also what a slacker I was in offering the same to DR's. Heh.)

Take my two-American-cents for whatever it's worth to ya ....

asteriskrntt1's picture

John is right. Ask for clarification.

Reference checks are usually one of the last stages of the offer process.

chaser's picture

I am wondering how it went, did you get the job?

HMac's picture

[quote="ashdenver"]I would interpret that request (here in the USA) as a list of names, with business address and telephone number.[/quote]



PaulM's picture

I brought a list of names and numbers, but it did not matter. I did not get the job.

thaGUma's picture

OK, but you did get interview experience and I'll bet your next interview is 100% better. Review your performance at the interview. Don't be embarrassed about asking outright where they felt you did not meet expectations. See if you need to change or describe things differently. If you do contact the comapny don't forget to thanks them for the chance and wish them well with thier new employee - you never know there may be another opening or the new guy may turn out to be a false positive.

Look forward. History teaches us many things - inculding not to dwell on things you cannot change.


PaulM's picture

Thanks for the good word. I have done well in my last two interviews, and interviewers have commented on my interviewing skills, however when I get to the final stage, where they ask me to fill out the forms for ID, employment verification, references, etc. my references haven't been called. My previous employers need a verification code, provided by me, before they give out any information, so I know that I've been in consideration, but then the references don't get called and I haven't got the jobs. My interviewers, who I have had good relationships with frequent communication with suddenly grow quiet and don't share information, and I don't get the job.

Can anyone explain what I'm doing wrong?

HMac's picture

[quote="PaulM"]Can anyone explain what I'm doing wrong?[/quote]

I can only provide uniformed conjecture. So instead of that, here's an idea:

Call the interviewers with whom you had good relationships and frequent communications. If you're lucky, one out of five or one out of seven might give you some [i]facts[/i].

Here's my advice on how to do it:

1. Send a thank you note acknowledging that you didn't get it, thanking them for their consideration, and wishing them well in the future.

2. Wait until you're pretty sure they've gotten the notes, and call. The purpose of your call is NOT to ask about their decision (they'll NEVER take that call!), but to ask if they might provide you some pointers on how to improve your presentation, interviewing, resume. You value their opinion as professionals, and after all, you were in the running, but didn't quite come in first.

3. Don't depend on them to call you back. Try calling them a few times when you think they're likely to be there.

4. After a couple of tries (maybe leaving one, or at the most, two messages), give up.

Look: the odds aren't in your favor. But you might be lucky enough to have one or two conversations. Approach it as a learning opportunity.


thaGUma's picture

Hugh - you are my wings. Ditto


PaulM's picture

Many thanks Hugh.

I'll send out more thank you notes and see if they'll tell me anything.

I do have an update on one.

One company called me today, which was the day they'd say they'd get back to me. First, they had a couple of questions regarging my background. The guy told me that they interviewed 5 people and I was far and away the best candidate. However, they had a latecoming internal who showed interest. She was good apparently. They want this position to be in Calgary. She thought they'd make an exception for her, as she's in Vancouver. Today they made an offer to her. She said she needed the weekend to decide. They figure she's less than 50/50 on a move and said that if she declines, they will offer it to me on Monday.

So, great news, right?

I told him I appreciated him being truthful with me, thanked him very much, and followed that up with an email (I had to send him transcripts) and mentioned this in the email as well.

So, I'm crossing my fingers, toes, knees, shoulders and eyes this weekend.

I still get an odd feeling about it though.

jhack's picture

We're all pulling for you on this. Unfortunately, until you got something, you got nothing. Fortunately, you're still in the game.

You can't win if you don't play. Keep at it!


PaulM's picture

[quote="jhack"]We're all pulling for you on this. Unfortunately, until you got something, you got nothing. Fortunately, you're still in the game.

You can't win if you don't play. Keep at it!


Boy are you (and Mark and Mike) ever right, John. I am sure learning this lesson the hard way.

All day today I was waiting for a call; there was none.

Until just now, at quarter to seven. I was out buying groceries and didn't hear my phone ring. The voicemail said that the girl decided NOT to make the move to Calgary for the job and that they would like to present an offer to me.

There is a chance that might not happen, though. They made a proposal to the VP with a "salary that meets with my range" and are waiting for approval. Once they have approval, they will make an offer to me, which should be in the next day or two.

So again, some relatively good news. But I still got nothing because I don't have something. Talk about a nailbiter. As the day went on, I was feeling better and better about this, as it would take longer to make up a new offer and go through an offer process with an external.

Now, a question about the "salary that meets with my range" part. Lets assume they don't get approval. Should I then come back stating my flexibility on salary, etc? and how should this point be presented?

Thank you, everyone. Your input during this search has been very reassuring.

jhack's picture

It's likely they know you're willing to be flexible. If they don't get approval, it'll likely mean the position is not going to be filled. Most companies will make an offer even if they think it's below your range.

If they tell you they couldn't make it work, ask for details, and see if you can make it work. You'll have nothing to lose, and when you end graciously (no matter what) they'll know you're a professional.

Good luck, again, and keep us posted.


PaulM's picture

Alright, seeing as I picked up a bug and have been sick all day, tried to go to sleep too early and now am wide awake at 2:30am... here's some more background:

So last week they asked for my references, and apparently everything was fine. They told me Friday that I was still their chosen candidate... This is good news. They said that Monday they'd call and be presenting me an offer.

On Monday evening he called again, they still don't have VP approval to go ahead. They should know more NEXT Monday.

He's been great with his communications, meeting all the times he's said he'd get back to me and is very open with everything that's going on. I really appreciate that.

The guy I've been dealing with is the Associate Director. I was also interviewed by the Director, who likely has more daily access to the VP.

I suppose my question, in addition to "how do I proceed going forward?" is: will there be any value in sending an email to the Director, thanking him again (already sent the thank you note weeks ago), and perhaps noting my appreciation for the transparency of the communications I've been getting from his Associate? and if so, how should I close such a note?

Thank you for putting up with my early morning ramblings.


PaulM's picture


Offer made and accepted!!!!

Thank you Mark and Mike @ Manager Tools and all forumers that helped along the way.

The interview series helped me out tremendously and was EASILY worth 3x it's cost. Just like any of the manager tools casts it provides straightforward advice and actionable items that you can execute on TODAY.

In the end, the compensation was in-line with my range of expectations and the benefits were well above my expectations. I start soon and have the opportunity to take the week of Christmas off.

Thank you once again.


jhack's picture

Congratulations, and kudos go to the player on the field.

Please let us know how things go in the situation.

Happy New Year....


mauzenne's picture
Admin Role Badge


Awesome! Congratulations ... sounds like the holidays are starting off well. :-)

Best Regards,