OK, I goofed up, what now?

Nurses General Nursing


Oh boy, I've been going on about how I had a job interview on friday, how I thought it went pretty good, and how I have a second interview tomorrow morning. Let me just say this: this whole thing happened very fast. I wasn't actively looking for a new job. My job has been stressing me out for some time though, and periodically I scan the ads to see what's out there. Last week (1 week ago today) I saw an ad for a job that looked perfect for me. I hurried to update mt resume (I hadn't kept it updated, as I'd intended to stay where I was at, frankly) then I did a cover later, and on Monday evening e-mailed them to the HR contact. She called the next morning, saying she forwarded my resume to the manager, and to expect a call, which I got on Wednesday. She wanted an interview, so we set one for Friday. Now, meanwhile, I'd been worrying about references. When I left my last job, I used references I was working with on the unit I was at, as we were closing, so I was not worried about management finding out and giving me grief. For phone numbers, I just used the number to that unit. This time I figured I'd use them again, forgetting I did not have their home numbers. So I was intending to call them for permission to use them...then I realized that I did not have their home numbers. Before I knew it, I was at the interview, and I listed 2 of the people I thought I was most likely to contact, and another girl who used to work with me at my current job, figuring I could get ahold of her on her cell phone. I told the manager I'd get the numbers by Monday. Well, this weekend I've tried to locate these people, with no luck. They are all women, with husbands, whose names I don't know, and thus can't find them in the phone book. The 2 from my old job I am only half sure where they ended up when the old unit closed, and even so, the phone numbers to individuasl units are never published, and if they did work there, and weren't there when I called, of course no one would give their numbers out, which is of course correct. If they were there, it would be, uh, kind of inappropriate to call them up while they are working to ask this. There are people I work with now who would give me references, but I afraid what would happen if my current boss found out I was looking.....things have been stressful and I recently spoke to my supervisor, and she said if I was going to look elsewhere, she needed to know so she can look for a new OB nurse. But see, if I don't get this job, I'm not actively looking, so there she'd be, looking for my replacement, and where would I be? So here I am, going to this interview tomorrow without the phone numbers. My instincts tell me to, of course, tell the truth. But I'm afraid being hinest, I will still look like a total idiot, and they'll say "buh-bye". Anyone have any input? Esp anyone in a hiring position? I feel like the world's biggest screw up right about now.


829 Posts

The only thing I would suggest you do is ask your current co-workers to give you references, and hope they don't rat you out. I would not go without references tomorrow. You can definitely kiss the job goodbye if you don't have someone for them to call tomorrow. Is there ANYONE you trust at your current workplace from whom you can get a good reference?

Shoot, even I got good references from the snakepit where I used to work.

If you really want the job, call your co-workers. If you don't have references, you'll not only lose this job opp. now, but you'll have burned a bridge for future opportunities with this facility. :o

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

97 Articles; 21,237 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I also agree that I would ask a couple very discreet people I currently work with for their home phone numbers and a reference. Another option (maybe?) is what about an old boss? Has it been too long or did you leave on bad terms?? Another option, are you friends with any nurses outside your employment? I volunteer on a rural rescue squad with another nurse - maybe that's an option??

I wish you luck with the interview tomorrow.

BadBird, BSN, RN

1,126 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

I agree with the above posts, ask some close co-workers if you could use them for a reference, then when you go for your interview hand the interviewer a paper with your current references on it. good luck.

Katnip, RN

2,904 Posts

Well, you've got a couple of options here.

Call the facility you think these people might be working at now. Ask for them, and if they say that person isn't on today, at least you know where they work--leave a message for them. Hopefully they will call you back.

Two, and this is what I would do-go through and call every name in the phone book with their last name and ask for them. I've actually done something similar, it's time consuming, but you might get at least one of them, and that one might have the number of the other.

Is there anyone else anywhere who can give a good reference? Teachers, doctor, neighbor?

If all else fails, explain the situation to the interviewer tomorrow. Tell the truth-you weren't really prepared to look for a new job, but this one's add jumped out at you and in your excitement you messed up. Apoligize profusely, and say you will try even harder to get those numbers in a day or two.


78 Posts

Hey Sphinx, remember this is nursing. Everyone I know and work with has 2 and some 4 jobs. Talk to your current director and tell her not to be alarmed if they call her for a reference because you are looking for a PART TIME job else where. end of subject with her. Talk with the lady who is interviewing you and tell her the people you selected for references are not locatable right now. Tell her they are your coworkers from a unit that closed. We all have dealth with that before. She will respect you for not sending her on a wild goose chase for reference. Give her current people that you choose. If you don't make a big thing of it neither will see. I know you are nervous about it but make it simple and honest and you won't have any problems.

Good luck,


sphinx, BSN, RN

326 Posts

OK, I decided to do the "calling everyone in the phone book with that certain name"....with surprisingly, scary good luck. Ironically, the girl from my current job who left, I thought I could get her cell phone, well I couldn't find her cell, and her home number is unlisted. So strike out there. So I decide to try my old boss. There was only one person with her last name in the book (and I'm thinking, why didn't I think of her before?!). She's home, we talk, she agrees, all is good. I go on to the second person. I randomly pick one name out of like 50+, and it was amazingly, the right person! (twilight zone!). We talk a while, catch up on old times, and she agrees to be a reference. The third person, I call a random number, and the woman says "she's not here", turns out it's the woman's mother, who kindly gave me her phone number. I left a message at that number and wait. A while later, she calls back, and yep, it's her! Again, we spoke, caught up, and she also agreed to help me out. I can't believe how lucky I was. The only times I struck out were trying to call my recent collegue, when I called my former collegues, I got lucky first time off each time! Amazing! If I'd done this yesterday or sooner, I'd have saved a lot of worrying.

A fortune cookie told me I'd have good fortune in a new professional venture. Hmmmmmmm, usually I don't put stock in that bull, but I can convert, really!

haha......so there's the update, people! Thanks for the advice!

micro, RN

1,173 Posts

Hey, sphinx, what is the worst case scenario. It will be fine. You already have the answer.

Let us know. Good luck. Time to move on? It is all up to you. :-)

micro no wisdom

Katnip, RN

2,904 Posts

Glad to hear it Sphinx. Good luck with the interview.

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