Use this messaging if you find yourself in a position where someone you don’t like/respect is asking you to give them a recommendation. You can also use this guide if someone asks you about someone you don’t like. Here’s how to navigate those tricky scenarios.
YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO GIVE ANYONE A RECOMMENDATION
- It’s okay to say no.
⚠️ There are laws to protect people that make it challenging for employers to give negative reviews to former employees. For that reason, be careful how you give a negative reference so a former or current employee doesn't have legal grounds to sue you or your company. Even if your comments are valid and you might even win in a lawsuit, it’s rarely worth your time or emotional investment.
- Keep your tone as professional/unemotional as possible
- Start with something nice (everyone has at least one or two things good about them)
- Be honest – it is perfectly legal to give a negative reference as long as it is honest and accurate (but that doesn’t mean you still won’t get dragged into court)
- Discuss problem areas with tact and provide concrete examples.
- Try to mitigate the negatives.