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Sample Report 6:  Software Engineer:  Bad Recommendation

Transcript of conversation:

Employer:  Hello?

Interviewer:  Mr. [name of reference], my name is [name deleted] and I'm a recruiter with [name of company].  I'm pre-screening potential hires for a client.  I have the resume of a former employee of yours in front of me and I would like to take a few minutes to discuss his employment with your company if I could.
Employer:  Yes.

Interviewer:  His name is [name of client].  I hope I'm pronouncing it right.
Employer:  Yes.

Interviewer:  You were his supervisor?
Employer:  Yes.

Interviewer:  And his official job title was software engineer?
Employer:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  And his dates of employment were from March of 2001 to April 2002?
Employer:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Were you happy with his overall job performance?
Employer:  (long pause) Uh, his work was satisfactory.

Interviewer:  Just satisfactory?  Could you expand on that?
Employer:  It was satisfactory.  Do you mean the quality of his work?

Interviewer:  Yes.
Employer:  It was satisfactory.

Interviewer:  Could you expand on that?
Employer:  I would rather not.

Interviewer:  Alright then.  How about this -- on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate his performance or the quality of his work?
Employer:  Oh, I don't know.  Somewhere in the middle there.  A four or a five.

Interviewer:  That's not a good rating.  I'm getting the impression you weren't happy with is work, is this correct?
Employer:  I don't want to comment about that.

Interviewer:  Okay.  Well, do you think he accomplished anything good for your company while employed there?
Employer:  He developed some software, some video, video processing sub-routines for us.  That was his primary project.

Interviewer:  What do you consider to be his major strengths?
Employer:  He's fairly innovative . . . he, he, uh, he was able to uh work with code that he wasn't familiar with before, learn new routines, device drivers, libraries.  Those were probably the things that he did most for us.

Interviewer:  And what were his major weaknesses?
Employer:  He had plenty of weaknesses, but I don't think I can speak to that, I'm sorry.

Interviewer:  Okay.  Was he a self-starter?
Employer:  Uh, I don't know if I can say yes or know.

Interviewer:  How did he handle stress and stressful situations such as deadlines?
Employer:  Uh, we never really pressed him on a deadline.

Interviewer:  And did he have good communication skills?
Employer:  Satisfactory. 

Interviewer:   Did he get along well with management, co-workers, and others?
Employer:  I can't speak to that.

Interviewer:  Well, then, is he a team player, does he work well with others?
Employer:  That is a problem for him.

Interviewer:  So, it was a personality conflict problem between you two?
Employer:  [Long pause -- he never responded to the question].

Interviewer:  Did personal problems ever affect his work?
Employer:  Yes.

Interviewer:  And I assume you don't want to expand on your answer?
Employer:  Right.

Interviewer:  Okay, I won't press you.  Are you willing to tell me if he resigned or was he fired?
Employer:  It was a mutual agreement that it would be best if he left.

Interviewer:  How would you rate is technical skills as a software engineer?
Employer:  They were satisfactory.

Interviewer:  He lists as one of his major accomplishments on his resume that he pointed out and corrected flaws in your health insurance plan in a timely fashion, is that correct?
Employer:  The health insurance plan, uh, this was, uh . . . [unintelligible mumbling] . . . a 401k.  He worked on a project . . . he completed the breadth of our mutual fund options.  I don't know.  I think that's what that refers to.

Interviewer:  So, he did locate and correct flaws?

Employer:  Yes.

Interviewer:  That must have saved the company some money or increased your profits.  Why do you rate his performance as just satisfactory?

Employer:  I don't want to speak to that.

Interviewer:  Well, just one more question please --  would you recommend him for a position as software engineer for another company despite the fact that you two didn't get along very well?
Employer:  It would depend on the company.

Interviewer:  It would depend on the company? You mean the type of work he would be required to perform?
Employer:  Yes.

Interviewer:  Alright.  And would you be willing to expand on that?
Employer:  No.

Interviewer:  Is there anyone else with your company that could speak about his employment?
Employer:  No.  I'm it.

Interviewer:  Okay.  Well, thank you for your time.  Goodbye.
Employer:  Bye.

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