This particular problem may be peculiar to Australia and public sector roles, but I have just been caught by a fairly unpleasant double bind as far as my referees are concerned. l lost out on a role because the policy of the prospective employer is to only accept references from current supervisors, and a company that will not provide references for past employees.
I applied for a general role at a university, was interviewed and appeared to be successful, in that they asked if I would consider taking it and if so could they check my references (which had been provided as part of the application process).
They duly checked the references then came back and told me that University policy was that they only accept references from the current and previous supervisor. This minor fact was not on any of the documentation about the role, was not mentioned in the interview and was not mentioned when they asked to contact my referees.
My problem is that my former employer (I was retrenched) has a policy of not providing references. Asking around, this is actually very common as organisations are covering themselves in case of litigation.
So I had a prospective employer who will not accept the references I gave and a previous employer who will not provide a reference other than a statement that I worked there. I was at that firm for 8.5 years, so a reference from the employer before that would be virtually irrelevent, and as that company went out of business soon after I left I don't know how I could track anyone down.
Given that I could not get my previous supervisor to provide even a personal reference, let alone a work reference, the offer was withdrawn as the application did not meet University policy. And I feel completely dudded by a circumstance out of my control.
The university HR people were nice enough about it and recognised that I hadn't been given correct information up front, but that didn't change the decison.
However I am stunned at a policy that requires applicants to advise their current employers that they have applied for a new job. In the private sector, if an employer gets wind of staff looking for other roles they can use that as grounds for discipline or dismissal.
I've learnt my lesson the hard way, but would be interested to know if anyone else out there - particularly the Australians on the forum - have encountered a similar situation?