Dare we say – chances are that during the time that you have been a manager, you have witnessed several situations in which you have been asked to provide a recommendation letter to one of your employees. The problem rises when you don’t feel comfortable writing that recommendation letter because of poor performance or lack of direct knowledge about the employees’ tasks and achievements.
However, turning your employees down is never a pleasant situation and some of us are really bad at it. But sometimes rejecting a recommendation letter of a person who least deserves it, is far better than recommending the wrong person to another company.
So how do you politely reject a recommendation letter request without offending your employee?
What to Say When You Don’t Know the Person Well
One cannot provide a proper recommendation letter without having supervised their employees directly. You need to consider their performance, achievements, personality and their relationship within the workplace and among their colleagues. Sometimes you may not have any clue about the employee or his performance levels. In that case, it is always better to simply say that you cannot provide a standard recommendation letter due to the above reason.
Recommending a person that you barely know isn’t a smart decision since it has the ability to bring bad reputation to your organization as well. You can even convince your employee by saying, “I wish I could help, but I don’t believe we worked closely enough together for me to write the glowing recommendation that you deserve.” This is a nicer way to decline a recommendation letter without making your colleague feel uncomfortable or offended. It is also an honest response.
What to Say When You Are Not Able to Provide a Good Review
The next worse situation is when you are asked to recommend an employee who has had a poor performance within your organization. Honestly, you wouldn’t want to recommend a bad employee to anyone, especially if you are finding it hard to come up with any positive attribute about this person.
When facing such a situation, consider the following options:
1. Tell them politely that your company restricts you from providing recommendation letters to any employee due to the responsibilities that follow after, especially with regard to situations where companies contact you to verify a candidate’s background.
2. In order to avoid any negative consequence, you can simply say that as a personal policy, you refuse to produce any recommendation letter to any employee.
Here are some of the best ways to respond to any recommendation letter request which you do not feel like providing
1. If you do know your employee properly, you can directly explain it to him or her in a non-offensive manner. This would make him realize that providing a recommendation letter without an accurate knowledge about the person or his abilities or capabilities can cause a negative impact on the employee and the HR manager himself.
2. In case you are less comfortable in providing a recommendation letter to an employee who underperformed during his time working at your organization, you can simply make him understand that due to a personal policy, you don’t provide recommendation letters to any employee.
3. Some Managers may often feel like they are not qualified in providing recommendation letters for a certain department. In such a case, you can directly ask your employee to obtain a recommendation letter from another person that worked closely to him/her.