Letter of recommendation from employer very poor

49 posts in this topic

There has already been a lot of good advice and insight here, which I might be able to add a little to.

 

I recently got my first German style recommendation letter too and I get the overall impression, especially after speaking with a coordinator, that they are meant to be as bland and factual and not actually discuss in great detail the nature of the employees' work ethic, personality or even job duties. Mine is perhaps the most boring read ever and actually starts out as "Name" born in "place" in "year." I guess the one cool thing is I get to explain the concept of Native American reservations and Montana to the reader. Germans have some strange impressions of both of those ;)

 

It was also explained to me that the letter should not (at any point) be negative in nature. I am not sure if it there are legal mandates to this but it seems like a good work practice even if working relationships were strained to either understate or not state at all. I would definitely be asking for a revision.

 

About employer referee calling practices: I was told that this is not common in Germany and would take most former bosses or colleagues by surprise. An International School I recently interviewed for demanded this and I provided my former supervisor's number...no I didn't get the job so I learned the hard way.

 

All the best OP, I am sure you have a better letter coming or at least something that says less instead of more :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At one company I worked for, we had a number (maybe 20 in 3 years) of employees who stole/cheated/bludged and were terminated. As part of the process of the lawyers settlement when many sued us (because it didn't cost them anything), We sometimes paid them a bit extra because it was cheaper than €250/hour for our lawyer but they always got a good zeugnis as part of the deal. Fighting the zeugnis was not worth the trouble, so there are plenty out there who have references that are meaningless. We received many applications for jobs but the zeugnis was the least believable part of it. I think your CV and your performance in the interview are more important than the wording in a zeugnis. I suggest trying to get one from a different person or writing it yourself and getting someone in HR to approve it if possible. If you have been a half decent employee, the HR people will know their obligations under the law and you will end up with a decent reference.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello TT People,

 

What would you suggest in this situation?

 

A friend work in the university for 2-3 years. She got a very bad zeugnis, which is rated a 5, but her boss says he has give her a 4. My friend undertook some other extra duties, which were unpaid. He gave an unofficial Arbeitszeugnis with other extra duties to her, which she undertook during her working period. But the employer deceived my friend that he has provided her with a very good Zeugnis. She waited to received the official Arbeitszeugnis and found out that it was a 5, with the extra duties deleted.

 

After several exchange of emails and having had his job applications rejected for 1 year +, the employer agreed to change the Zeugnis to 3, but again he wrote a Zeugnis which is rated as a 4. This has now become a war and he insist that he would not change it  anymore to tally with a 3.

 

He suggests my friend could take him to court. In this situation, what should one do:

 

“Insgesamt erledigte Herr XXX seine Aufgaben zu meiner Zu­frie­denheit”  = 5 but employer says 4

 

Changed to : “Herr XXX  erledigte seine Aufgaben zu meiner Zu­frie­denheit”.  =4 but employer says 3.

Many thanks

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi papak,

your post is a bit older, but maybe my answer is also helpful for someone else.

 

Regarding those two sentence,

On 1.8.2017, 07:51:29, papak said:

“Insgesamt erledigte Herr XXX seine Aufgaben zu meiner Zu­frie­denheit”  = 5 but employer says 4

 

Changed to : “Herr XXX  erledigte seine Aufgaben zu meiner Zu­frie­denheit”.  =4 but employer says 3.

 

 

the first one is definitely grade 5, and the second one grade 4. The second one becomes grade 3 by adding "stets, immer, jederzeit" which means always. Even so, grade 5, 4 can be considered as very bad. So the discussion may going in a wrong direction. The employer has to demonstrate that an employee's performance was lower than grade 3. Especially those two sentences are judicial proven as lower than 3. unfortunately, when the boss acts like this, you can only take a lawyer for getting a better reference letter.

 

Decoding german reference letters is also very difficult, almost impossible for Germans, who are not experienced in reading and writting those letters. For foreigners it seems to be a mission impossible. An automatic decoding machine might be an answer for that. On zeugnisprofi.com it's possible to upload the letters as a scanned pdf or image. the results are grades from 1 (very good) to 5 (very bad).

 

I guess the whole thing about german reference letters must sound crazy & stupid for Non-Germans, based on the fact that even Germans think its kind of stupid :D

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before you bother to fight a letter of recommendation for its faint praise, think long and hard if you were really as good as you thought you were and why you are leaving. I had some really dysfunctional colleagues down the line and am sure they thought they were marvellous at their job, which was part of the problem actually.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the other hand, its in your personal interests to get a good zeugniss whatever the quality of your work.  The reality is that even dreadful employees should fight for a good zeugniss because they are likely to get at least some improvement.  Even if its not justified. 

 

Now as an employer, I wish zeugnisse were reliable and that bad people did indeed always get bad references.  But thats not good advice to the person in question.

 

Note: How we define fight is open to interpretation.  It may not be worth going to court over it, but it certainly is worth asking/demanding improvements.

 

Note2: I have no idea if any of the zeugnisse discussed in this thread are fair.  I dont know if the people were good employees or not, but my advice holds regardless of that.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the telephone was invented a Zeugnis is no longer important. If an employment lawyer can acheive anything depends upon the reason you were given a "befristet" contract at the beginning of the employment. For example if it was to cover for someone who went on leave because she became a mother then you cannot fight it. Also the Arbeitsförderungsgesetz (AFG ) makes it difficult for to go against such a contract

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, onemark said:

You need to get an employment lawyer fast!

You mean faster than a year and three months, which was the age of the last post on this thread before a link spammer decided to come necropost to promote his business?

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now