Asking an employer for a "Zwischenzeugnis"

27 posts in this topic

The company I work for is currently entering self destruct phase. It's sad to watch, but number one comes first, and all that. I've heard that a common thing to do in Germany when a company is under 'uncertain circumstances' is to ask the employer for a Zwischenzeugnis, sort of a statement of achievements to date. However it seems as subtle as wearing a huge sign over your head saying 'I'm pissed off and thinking seriously of leaving', which may or may not be a smart thing to do.

 

Now would be a convenient time to get a good reference from my employer, with a convenient excuse for asking for a reference on hand, but I'm not sure how long it will be before I want to march out of the door taking my toys with me.

 

Have any of you done this and how did the employer take it?

 

Edit: Here's some convenient background to the theory http://www.jobware.de/ra/js/ai/10.html

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Your employer is actually legally obliged to give you a Zwischenzeugnis, no matter what the reasons for your request are.

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Yes, but I'm wondering what signals I'd send out by asking. Now would be a good time for me to get a good review, and as I said a convenient excuse to hide behind has presented itself. However I'm not certain I want to jump ship immediately, it may take ages to find something better. If the employer decides they may as well treat me badly as I'm going anyway then I've not done me any favours in the end. It also seems apparent that references from previous employers are very important when applying for jobs in Germany.

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Not legally obliged to give you a complete zwischenzeugnis. If you change jobs or bosses you can get one, but not just "because".

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Is there any danger that your immediate superior (or the person who will be responsible for your report) is going to jump ship? If so you can use that as justification for asking.

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Yes, there's a lot of movement of new arses onto old seats at the moment, and my boss let something slip about his plans the other day. Good enough reasons. I'm still wondering if asking for a reference is always taken as a statement of intention to jump.

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Not legally obliged to give you a complete zwischenzeugnis. If you change jobs or bosses you can get one, but not just "because".

Sorry to argue, but yes you can ask for a Zwischenzeugnis without giving a reason.

Makes things a bit awkward though, if you don't explain your request.

 

 

Yes, there's a lot of movement of new arses onto old seats at the moment, and my boss let something slip about his plans the other day. Good enough reasons. I'm still wondering if asking for a reference is always taken as a statement of intention to jump.

Nope, don't think anyone would take it as sign that you're going to leave, if you explain your reasons, i.e. a lot of movement in the company and you want to make sure you get a Zwischenzeugnis from people who you've worked in the case they leave etc blah blah.

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You can ask, but do they have to give? My company's policies are normally in pretty strict accordance with the law and a complete full-blown zwischenzeugniss is the exception (when the job changes, boss changes etc.)

But the reasons Helles named are perfect. As a matter of fact, I have a new boss as well, so I am going to ask for one...

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I've asked for one, got one and everything was fine afterwards. At the time I was actually just very interested in finding out how they assessed my value to the company (ok, ok, I admit - I was young and actually still cared at the time). I got a good one and still worked there for a while. A friend of mine was in a similar position to you (company short of bankruptcy) and got one signed by the boss's secretary, who also doubled as personal manager. Didn't even get signed by the boss. He started working at Siemens a couple of months later, no questions asked. He also got a seriously good one, which is a good thing as he ended up having to take his by then ex-employer to court afterwards, because he didn't pay his last two salaries (no money left in the company). This was about 2 years ago.

 

Maybe you should just give them the "ich möchte einschätzen wie Sie meine Arbeit beurteilen"-line. Or just tell them you feel it's time for one regarding your own personal development. As far as I know you are actually entitled to one by law. Good luck!

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If it were me, I'd say I needed the doc for my own self assessment. Just say you normally do a 5 year inventory of your career, plans etc, which is recommended by many career coaches. it usually means, looking back on where you've been/what you've accomplished the last X years and your setting goals for the next X years. Most people genuinely do it every 5 years.

 

If you want to try this route, I'd recommend role playing it through with someone you trust so you're more comfortable answering any questions that he may ask. If all else fails tell him you read about it on the internet and it sounded like a good idea to try. ;)

 

ps: in general...not to helles angel in particular...if you honestly feel like you or you're company are "self destructing" I would recommend doing this in all seriousness. it helps to have a path eh, even if you don't feel like staying on it just now.

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To be honest , a Zeugnis is ,since the telephone was invented a lot of bollocks. Nothing is more simple for a potential employer as to lift the phone and ask the person who employed you up until now why you and him are parting ways

ballygo backwards

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Is it possible to ask for the "Zwischenzeugnis" after 7 months?

I have a one year contract and at the moment I have not recevived any new proposals from my employer.

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To be honest , a Zeugnis is ,since the telephone was invented a lot of bollocks. Nothing is more simple for a potential employer as to lift the phone and ask the person who employed you up until now why you and him are parting ways

ballygo backwards

dunno even if BGB is around, I had to reply to this one. I thought so too till I landed in Germany. When I was applying last year, lot of companies wanted the Zwischenzeugnisas part of my initial application. On place in particular, 6 weeks after I sent my cover letter, CV and all kindsa certificates ( I had to do some serious digging), came back to me thanking me for my 'short' application and wanted my 'detailed' application.

 

valuvataivas, if you are interested in extending the contract, I think you can use it as a good way to start the conversation

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Thanks, Cookie!

I am not really interested in extending my contract, to be honest working there is terrible, plenty of unpaid overtimes, plenty of new projects and I have noticed that all my colleagues (the ones at my same level) have worked there for not longer that 2 years.

One of them is leaving after only one year and a half.

I am already sending out applications and I hope I will find something else, but I really fear they will want to extend my contract and I will have to accept if I don't find anything else :(

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Cool then, just go ask them and give a clear message that you are planning to switch!

 

And you got 5 months, so I guess finding on shouldnt be a problem. Projects, overtime..er, if I get the general drift of your job, try www.XING.com ( if you havent already). I got some decent starting points there.

 

Good luck

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I have recently talked on this subject with a few of my friends here.

Here is what I learned.

 

It’s quite normal to ask for a “Zeugnis” of some kind at various different stages along the working life, without it raising flags about your intentions. They are then collected as part of the mad lebenslauf package thing they do.

You can ask for a Zeugnis:

• With change of department.

• With change of boss or report structure.

• With intention to leave etc (obviously)

• With change of ownership/take over etc.

• With completion of project or something of such magnitude(linked to second point above).

• Yearly reviews (quite a good one)

Basically any change where the person who would be writing the Zeugnis is breaking contact with you as a direct report.

 

And as most of you know, there is some very specific language and phrases used in these letters, that indicate to the potential employer the type of person you are (HR code if you will)….SO BEWARE.

I hear this can be googled, not done it yet my self.

Best bet is to get someone who knows the lingo to take a look, (I’m sure there are lawyers for this sort of thing or even the betriebsrat can help).

Better still if you can, write it yourself (obviously they sign it, - not as uncommon as you think) or get them to do it in English.

HR departments are also quite friendly with one another, so another point to watch out for.

 

I would be interested to know, now that it’s common knowledge about this HR code/practice, how do they now carry this out, what are the new techniques.

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A friend of mine has returned her job after maternity leave and wants to get a Zwischenzeugnis because she is not doing anymore what she did before the maternity leave. She first asked more than 5 months ago. She has asked a few times since then, and each time they tell her that they will do it eventually.

 

How long do employers have to write a Zwischenzeugnis? It would be helpful if you know where I could find this regulation online because she would like to show it to her boss. I had look but couldn't find anything myself and neither could my friend, which is why she asked me.

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