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Former co-worker asked me to be a reference


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I work PT at a convenience store. A former co-worker of mine, whom I worked with 6 years ago at a different place reconciling and balancing accounts etc., stopped into the convenience store a few days ago and picked up an application. I ran into this lady an hour ago at the grocery store (haven't seen her in 5 years now I see her twice in the last week! What are the odds). She asked me to be a reference. She is about 65, nice lady, she would get along with my co-workers and be pleasant to customers. However, she had a hard time catching onto certain things in our old job. So how do I handle it if my boss asks me about her? I am not a very good liar and would not like to lie anyway. Do I say "Mary is nice, she would get along with everyone she works with and be pleasant with the customers" which is all true. However, what if my boss asks how well she catches on and how she would be at a sometimes fast-paced job such as ours? I don't want to say anything negative because my manager, even though she shouldn't in her position, has a big mouth and might say what I said to my other co-workers and I don't want what I told to get back to "Mary." I only work there part-time, not my main job, but I still care about the place. I could be wrong too. She could work out just fine, the convience store business is not the accounting business. Thanks in advance.

Edited by Guggs
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Tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may. It would be OK to point out that she had a little trouble catching on to some difficult accounting concepts, but you think she would be OK for the store. And then let the owner make his own decision.


A lot depends on how easy or difficult it is to find good people for the store. If the owner can find people any time, he may not hire her. If he's having turnover problems, he may give her a shot.

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