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Interviewer contacted past client for reference without permission!

Hi,

I completed an internship in the past month as a Senior Consultant for a client, and I'm currently interviewing for a summer internship at a startup. They asked me some questions about my previous experience, and who the client was and if they have a website that they can check out.

I was just messaged by my previous client saying that the interviewer have contacted them asking for a reference! I was really taken aback by this, because I didn't give any permission for this, nor did I indicate that they were a reference that could be contacted. The startup is based in Germany, do they have a different culture regarding this or something?

Is this a red flag?
I get this quite frequently from German & Dutch based companies and individuals.
Seems to be a widespread practice in those countries.

Do you have a positive relationship with the client?
Are they willing to provide a reference and feedback with your consent?
Original post by londonmyst
I get this quite frequently from German & Dutch based companies and individuals.
Seems to be a widespread practice in those countries.

Do you have a positive relationship with the client?
Are they willing to provide a reference and feedback with your consent?

I have a quite positive relationship with them and they were happy to provide a reference. I was just taken aback and was quite embarrassed by the message asking if I had given their details as a reference when I didn't! I thought it looked poorly on me and quite unprofessional.

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