How much truth is there in Quora

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At first glance, job references usually appear positive - but criticism is hidden behind many of the formulations. HR professionals use this secret code because the legislature requires a benevolent testimony.

Why is there a secret language for job references?

A testimony must be true, benevolent, and complete. To do all of this at the same time
is not easy. That is why bosses use formulations that they use to help with the
Remain the truth without sounding negative. The wording usually gives the employee a positive impression, especially when it comes to performance appraisals. The experienced certificate reader leave the
But formulations convey a hidden message.

Those who are certified as having "not insignificant successes" actually have no success at all, and those who "successfully delegate" avoid the work. Even if "nothing to complain about", that is by no means
a positive statement. On the contrary: Unfortunately there is nothing to report that could be particularly emphasized or praised.

The HR secret code

She always showed understanding for her work
She was lazy and did nothing

He solved all tasks for his own benefit and in the company's interest
He committed theft and / or other serious mistakes

She dutifully and properly performed all of the tasks
However, she lacked initiative

His behavior towards colleagues and superiors was always exemplary
He had problems with his superiors. These are therefore only named after their colleagues

She was very capable and knew how to sell
She was an impertinent pompous woman

He had the opportunity to acquire the necessary specialist knowledge
However, he did not take advantage of this opportunity

Through her sociability she contributed to the improvement of the working atmosphere
She is prone to excessive alcohol consumption

He approached his tasks with diligence, honesty and punctuality
He lacked the professional qualifications

She was always an understanding superior to her employees
She was not assertive and had no authority

He worked with the greatest accuracy 

He was a slow and inflexible bean counter


What encryption techniques are there?

You don't become a professional overnight, but with a critical look at your own testimony, you can unmask some of the lazy eulogies yourself.

The following encryption techniques are available:

  • Important statements and evaluations are missing. For example, if an accountant fails to assess his reliability and honesty
  • What is unimportant and self-evident is emphasized over what is important. The boss praises the commercial artist for his economical use of resources, but not for his creative way of working
  • A double negative means a devaluation: "The behavior of Mr. Mustermann gave no cause for complaint"
  • If testimony statements are contradicting, this cancels out the positive impression. If, for example, very good performance is certified, but neither thanked for nor regretted the departure. This contradiction can be the result of renegotiation
  • Passive statements indicate a lack of initiative: "He carried out tasks that were assigned to him with determination"
  • Limiting statements indicate a lack of interest in other areas: "In the professional association XY you value your skills"
When can I request a job reference?

If the employment relationship is terminated, the employer must give the employee a certificate. He is legally obliged to do so. The duration of the employment relationship is irrelevant. On the other hand, the employee is only entitled to an interim reference if he can prove a legitimate interest. This can be the case though

  • the manager changes
  • significant changes are pending within the company
  • the company is sold
  • personal changes are pending for the employee
Tip: You can also ask your boss for an interim reference. If your final report turns out bad, you can use it to prove your good performance later.