A not-so-senior colleague of mine was recently selected to a Japanese MNC after several rounds of tests and interviews. After successfully clearing the same she had to submit details of previous employers as part of the pre employment reference check. Imagine her surprise and horror when the new employer withdrew their employment offer, because her previous manager gave her a really poor rating in the referral. This gal is known to me and I remember her as one of those people who are mostly seen hard at work with very short tea/coffee breaks.
So what was her fault for getting such a bad reference from her previous manager? That she dared to look for a change after four years in the same company, a better pay packet and a promotion to manager!
Recently a very senior colleague of mine, who had joined a small company so that she could take a break from a hectic job that involved 75% travel and concentrate on her daughter's studies, got the shock of her life when she resigned. Her H.R Manager, after failing to convince her to stay back accused her of giving false employment details (without proof) and humiliated this woman with an enviable track record, before letting her go.
These are not isolated incidents. I hear of such incidents on a weekly basis. Managers and employers getting back at employees who leave, by giving them bad referrals to their new employers. I know of several people who have not joined their new jobs because they are afraid of losing the offer when their background verification report comes in with insidious remarks from previous manager/employer. It doesn’t matter how well you work, if you leave, they screw up your career!
Today millions of employees across India are being held hostage by superiors who have the power to make or break their careers. This creates for a work culture where sycophancy and obsequiousness is the only way you can ensure that you have a trouble free transitions from one job to another.
I think it is time that we had more reasonable employment process, where a company does not have to rely on the word of a prospective employee’s previous employers to hire him or her. It is time companies developed a hiring process that satisfies their queries about the suitability of a prospective employee in a fairer manner.