Letters of recommendation are an integral part of any job application process. And you may have in the past been asked to write one. Usually, people are happy to oblige in helping someone whose work they admire to advance his career. But sometimes you get a request for a recommendation from someone whose work or character you don’t think that much of, and you don’t really want to write a letter for him.

How can you extricate yourself from this situation in the least awkward way?
One thing you can tell the person is that you just don’t have the time. There are many excuses to use here – your job is taking up much of your time, or you have family considerations that are very time consuming. So, you can tell the person you just cannot spare the time.

Another reason to give in begging off writing a letter is that you don’t know the person that well. Naturally, in order to write a good letter of recommendation, you need to know the person and the caliber of his work. There is little chance of being able to provide the detail needed about the person if you aren’t really well acquainted with him or his work.

So, you are really doing him a favor by refusing to write the letter, and that it is what you can tell the person. You can say to him that you really don’t feel qualified to write the kind of letter he deserves because you don’t have an intimate enough knowledge of the person or his work, and that he probably would be better off finding someone who knows his work better.

Finally, if there is little good you can or want to say about the person, you can tell him or her that you just cannot provide the high praise that you know he is looking for, that he would be better off looking elsewhere. This is the most difficult option to pursue, but if none other is available, you need to be honest with the person. This again is doing the right thing. You certainly don’t want to tell the person you can write the letter, and then produce something dreadful.

If you’re looking for workers in the New York City area, contact the recruiters at Winston Resources. We can help source, vet and place skilled and reliable professionals for your company’s temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities. We look forward to hearing from you.

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