Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: References

  1. #1


    Note to mods: I posted this in another thread but thought that it could use its own. I'll leave it to you.

    This came up after a recent interview and I am not sure how to handle it. The main interviewer asked me for references (no problem). However, he wanted current coworkers (ok), some academic refs (ok), and references from people (i.e., citizens) that I have worked with directly for their assessment of my ability (WHAT??).

    I have never been asked for that before. To be perfectly honest, I don't feel that is appropriate either. As a current govt employee, I don't see how I could call up someone (contractor, developer, etc) and ask them to serve as a reference for another job. Has anybody ever had to do this? Is this a regular request of planning positions? I am not in the planning field right now, but I work for govt dealing with many of the same groups of people (developers, contractors, general public) in land issues.

    I really want the job, but I don't think I can do this. Thoughts?
    In the beginning there was nothing...then Chuck Norris Roundhouse kicked that nothing in the face and said "Get a job". That is the story of the universe.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian RubberStamp Man's avatar
    Aug 2006
    Wherever mediocore planning lurks
    Never heard or seen that before. Could be difficult as in my experience the interest of citizens are opposite the interest you represent so almost off the bat there is some bias for that reference. But maybe he wants to asses how you worked with others knowing you were at opposite ends of the table.

    If developers or other applicants also count, use them instead of citizens. If you have don't have a solid enough relationship with any them to ask for a reference then let the prospective employer know that your position doesn't necessarily allow offer the opportunities to work with "people".

    Alternatively do some research in the bookstore, library, net on how else to handle this one.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Blog entries


    Is this person going to be a supervisor??? If so....RUUUUUNNN!!! I mean come on, anyone that's been in the Planning business for any amount of time at all know's that the old saying about 50% love/50% hate the results is very true. Could I get 5 "citizens" to endorse me today.....sure, I'll just run out and get the last several developers/owners who obtained an approval from my office to write a glowing letter about me......Just don't go looking for anything positive from the last five denial applicant's/owners to say anything nice about me.....
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  4. #4
    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    Is this person going to be a supervisor???
    Yes. I guess I sort of understand the thinking behind it (how well can this person deal with customers?). But I just find the request to be very odd and, like I said before, very inappropriate. As a govt employee, I can see how trying to get these references could get me in trouble. One phone call to a commissioner/adminstrator that an employee tried to solicit a job reference and I am in for serious trouble. At this point, if this is going to be a deal breaker than so be it. I think the request is ridiculous
    In the beginning there was nothing...then Chuck Norris Roundhouse kicked that nothing in the face and said "Get a job". That is the story of the universe.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting
    I wouldn't necessarily ask for that from an applicant but I will say that I always have a past Planning Board member as a reference - there is usually one Board member you work with that you can count on (often only one, but that's okay) - it shows you worked well in that municipality and were respected, and, gives a different perspective on your work - a good manager knows there is an enemy list that's longer but you aren't going to list those as your reference anyway

    so I wouldn't necessarily run from this job if you do have a Board member or citizen that was your groupie -

    what I thought was far worse was the last town I worked in let the Planning Board provide the manager with a formal review form on my performance - now that was a very vulnerable position to be in and really de-professionalized the position - in theory it also goes against the Charter for the Town since the position reported to the Town Manager - luckily in practice, it worked fine, they ended up being my defender - but I wouldn't ever do that to an employee

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. References: Be careful what you ask for
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 10
    Last post: 04 Jan 2012, 8:04 AM
  2. Replies: 20
    Last post: 18 Oct 2011, 6:07 PM
  3. Directional References
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 24
    Last post: 15 Aug 2010, 8:46 AM
  4. References to Planning on TV
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 16 Apr 2010, 11:26 PM
  5. When asked for references
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 7
    Last post: 20 Oct 2005, 4:45 PM