Writing a job reference: which wording corresponds to which evaluation?

After a job has been terminated – whether by the employer or the employee – or when an employment contract has simply expired, the completion of a Employment reference to. But the language in this one is quite different from the normal German language! Whether with Job reference formulation evaluation The possible qualifications and applications depend on the codes used in them.

Requirements for the job reference

If with the Job reference formulation evaluation and new application should be possible, the reference must of course be good. For this, according to the trade regulations, there is even a requirement that the employer’s reference must be benevolent. That is, it must not deliberately harm or badmouth the employee. But it must still be true. Open criticism must not be included, but hidden criticism must be.

For this reason, a real reference language has developed, with which employers can communicate to each other exactly how well or poorly an employee has done his job. Mostly it sounds very nice, but an apparently good reference does not have to be really great.

The formulations can even mean the complete opposite of what they say at first glance. A new application can have itself thus completely fast settled, if the personnel manager from the reference reads out that the applicant is not at all industrious or in the situation to fulfill assigned tasks to him.

Every employee has the right to a reference: Only entscheident is how good or even how bad is the Zeugniss actually

Every employee has the right to a reference: Only entscheident is like good or even like bad is the Zeugniss actually (#01)

Job reference formulation evaluation and requirements

If with der job reference formulation evaluation If it is to be possible to evaluate and assess the employee, the reference must first meet certain requirements. That is, personnel officers pay attention to the following criteria first:

  1. Was the job reference printed on company paper?
  2. Are the addresses complete?
  3. Has the reference been signed?
  4. Are the requirements confirmed in the reference, which must be fulfilled for the new position?
  5. Are the times in the curriculum vitae identical with those in the job reference??

Then follows the exact look behind the scenes:

  1. What does the old employer reveal about the applicant?
  2. What hidden messages are transmitted?
  3. Has the performance improved in comparison to previous references (if several references are enclosed)?

Apparently a great job reference, but unfortunately you can hide so many negative things there

Apparently a great reference, but unfortunately you can hide some negative things (#02)

With the job reference formulation evaluation and evaluation affect

Many employers try to tell a potential new boss of their former employee about certain Formulations to communicate that this is a failure or at least someone who does not necessarily perform the tasks perfectly. Many employees do not even notice, they read that Job reference and think that they would probably have a very good standing with their boss.

But missing! The secret messages usually do not mean anything good and satisfaction with the boss looks different. Pay attention therefore to it, which formulations are ambiguous and take you in each case the more negative one. If something good is to be said, this is also not formulated ambiguously!
Classic examples are:

"She has a good technical knowledge and healthy self-confidence."
-> conceited, arrogant and arrogant
"She was quickly popular with customers."
-> No negotiating skills whatsoever
"She made an effort to meet the requirements."
-> The attempt remained unsuccessful.

This is only a small excerpt from the usual formulations, which sound so great at first reading, but are basically not at all. However, if you don’t know anything about the codes in a reference, you won’t be able to see through them and you won’t know what poor performance you are actually being told about.

If you are not satisfied with the Job reference formulation evaluation If you want your application to turn out positively, you need to take a close look at your Employee testimonial throw and it if necessary complain.

Sometimes it is really advisable to have only a simple report card with facts, figures and tasks

Sometimes it is really advisable, only a simple Zeugniss with facts, numbers and tasks to be issued (#03)

Go with the simple or the qualified reference?

If you are Job reference formulation evaluation If you want to have a positive influence on your performance and attitude and have doubts about your evaluation, it is better to ask for a simple reference. In this only factual and verifiable facts are contained. Your tasks as an employee are mentioned, it is about the duration of your work and about possible additional work.

In a qualified Job reference the tasks and activities of the employee are also mentioned, but there are also assessments with regard to the services rendered and social behavior.
The reason why you leave the company is mentioned after the assessment. Then follow the closing formula as well as the wishes for the future.

If these are not well formulated resp. If they are left out completely, the new boss can infer that your former company is glad to be rid of you and that it does not care about your future at all. Satisfaction with an employee is not expressed in such a way in any case.

A job reference formulation evaluation make

You have a Testimonial of the employer and would now like to make a job reference formulation evaluation. But you must know the codes well! Even cloistered school grades have now been adopted in the evaluation system, the words "to the full" or "always" speak for the use of these school grades. If you read somewhere "endeavored" as evaluation, you can of one Job reference go out, which is anything but good. The school grades stagger themselves thereby as follows:

"You fulfilled your duties ..

1 – always to the fullest ..
2 – to the fullest ..
3 – to the fullest ..
4 – to the ..
5 – on the whole to our …… satisfaction.

The grade 6 is expressed with "She made an effort to …".

Every employee has of course the right to take legal action

Every employee has of course the right to take legal action (#04)

What does the labor law say to the job reference formulation evaluation?

Again and again it comes to legal disputes, because employees with their Testimonials are not in agreement. Each year, the labor courts deal with more than 10.000 lawsuits based on coded testimonials. Such negative references are prohibited by law, but are issued again and again. An exception is misconduct on the part of the employee.

If this is dismissed for theft or embezzlement resp. this behavior in the Job reference is mentioned, this is legal. The boss may describe the facts as they are here – embellishments do not have to be found in. The reason: The new boss could sue the old one for damages if the latter deliberately conceals or glosses over such misconduct on the part of the employee.
In the past, case law has ruled as follows:

  1. Job references must conclude with at least a "satisfactory" rating. Worse testimonies must be justified.
  2. Self-evident facts do not have to be mentioned in the reference, because this creates a bad impression.
  3. Hidden references are not permissible, including the offer to be available for queries regarding the employee’s performance as a former boss.

New codes on the way

Many bosses are desperate to get one over on their former employees – even if they are not officially allowed to do so in the form of an employer’s reference. They still find a way and now use new codes and encrypted messages. However, there is not always bad will behind it, some personnel managers are simply not familiar enough with the language of references and write something that they did not actually want to say.

For example, people like to point out unimportant things in particular. The more unimportant details appear in the reference, the worse it turns out – the careful and economical use of office resources, with everyday PC programs and polite circumference forms are natural. By an overemphasis at this place it is actually only said that more was also not.

If, on the other hand, the important evaluation is missing, this means nothing other than that the decisive qualification was not present. A negative paraphrase with "not" or "none" may appear positive at first glance, but it is not usually so. If there was no reason for complaints, this fact does not have to be mentioned, otherwise there were probably such occasions.

Of course it is nice to say goodbye to an employee with more than just a handshake, but you do not have the right to have a 'All the best for the future' written in your reference

Of course, it is nice when an employee is not only seen off with a handshake, but one does not have the right to have a "All the best for the future" written in the reference (#05)

Which closing formulas are important?

Whether the best always comes at the end? That is at least in the Employment reference This is not always the case, because the one or two sentences at the end can ruin everything. In some cases, more can be read out here than in the entire text of the reference beforehand. The reason is on the one hand that the last read simply remains longer in the memory. On the other hand, everything that has been said before can be undone and turned into the complete opposite with just a few words.

Important: The closing formulation is not predetermined, it can be mentioned voluntarily. In labor court, no one can insist that the good wishes appear at the end of the text, so there is no legal recourse here. No one as a personnel manager has to wish a departing employee good luck for the future.

Closing formulas follow a certain structure:

1. Reasons for leaving the company

Here, it is mentioned who caused the separation or who is responsible for it. The employee is thanked for the termination of employment, whether it was at the employee’s own request or whether the employee was terminated. The latter is then often indicated with "by mutual agreement".

2. Thank for the cooperation

As a rule, the company thanks the employee for the opportunity to work with them. Also the achievements are worth a "thank you. It is considered negative if this thank you is completely missing – there is probably no reason to thank for performance and cooperation, because they were simply not present.

3. Regret the separation

Similarly as for the thanking also for the regretting of the separation applies that both do not have to be present. If the appropriate formula is missing, however, that is a clear sign for the next boss that this employee went probably rightly finally and that one can be apparently glad to be rid of it. Companies do not like to let a good employee go and they mention this fact in the final wording as well.

4. Include wishes for the future

The personnel manager or boss wishes the departing employee all the best at the end – hopefully, because otherwise it is bad for the application in the new company. If nothing good is wished to the employee, he has probably also not deserved that. And who would want to hire someone like that?

The small things with employer’s references

The devil is also in Employment references in detail and many companies use linguistic subtleties to convey hidden messages to the employee’s potential new boss. For example, the emphasis is placed on a few words, but they have a tremendous impact. They are crucial for the assessment of the Testimonials as a good or satisfactory specimen. The companies resp. those who have the Job reference The different ways of writing a reference work with different intensities of language and allow individual words to be the deciding factor in the evaluation.

Partly, it is based on positive sentences that sound really great at first glance. At second glance, they may still sound great, but they have a certain negative connotation. However, many positive phrases are meant as a negative hint, and wishing good luck to an outgoing employee is far from being nice. Rather, it means that the person in question will probably not be successful without a portion of luck – because it is not possible to speak of ability in the case of the performance shown. Mean, but everyday in writing job references.

Get advice, let them rather check exactly how good or bad your testimony actually is

Let them consult, let them rather exactly check like good or bad their Zeugniss actually is (#06)

Last but not least, the sentence order is important. Because one and the same word can stand within a sentence in different places and already express something different. Who writes: "We wish further much success", wishes something different, than if he formulates: "Further we wish much success."In the latter sentence it is stated that success has not been achieved so far, in the former it is assumed that success in the current company will probably continue in the future.

Such complicated language cannot be understood by a layman. Anyone who is therefore unsure should go to an attorney for employment law or use the new apps that analyze testimonials via smartphone.

Image credits:© Fotolia cover image: dessauer-#01: fotodo-#02:adam121-#03: Marco2811-#04: Zerbor-#05:_yurolaitsalbert-#06:Anton Gvozdikov

About the author

Marius Beilhammer, born in 1969, studied journalism in Bamberg, Germany. He has been writing for technical magazines for many years, and is also a freelance writer on a wide range of market and business topics. As a Franconian cheerful nature, he always finds the balance in his work between lightness and comprehensive know-how through his pronounced affinity for technology.

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