The Real Simple Reader Etiquette Poll
Encourage the person to ask someone else: 73.6%
Say you will and write a lukewarm-to-cool recommendation: 17.5%
Lie and tell the person you’re too busy: 8.9%
Experts say: “The only references I’ve ever given have been for those with whom I had good working relationships,” says Saseen. If that’s not the case, tell the person it’s against company policy to give a reference. And keep this in mind: For the job seeker, “getting no reference is better than getting a mediocre one,” says Stephen Viscusi, a career consultant and the author of Bulletproof Your Job ($20, Harper Collins, amazon.com).