I'm applying for a postdoc position at a French university, and the employer, who's a professor, requested me, in an informal email exchange, to state the name and email of a specific former employer from whom she could ask for a recommendation. Now when I was working in that former postdoc position, it was not productive for both, things didn't go well, and I'm ready to take part (but not all) of responsibility for it. I've a bitter feeling about that postdoc advisor for reasons that're not relevant to this question.
My question to you is: how do I tell my potential postdoctoral employer that I don't want her to seek a recommendation from that position? Here's what I drafted so far:
"If it can be avoided, I'd rather not have my mentor at position *** write a recommendation for me, as I often felt our professional relationship could be improved as we disagreed on many approaches in the project and there were also personality mismatch - while I do take part of the responsibility for it, I'm unable to take all of it. "
after which I finished the draft of this informal email with:
"If you're okay with the above response, I'll go ahead and send you a formal application." And my CV does mention another postdoctoral employer who could write recommendations for me, which I stated earlier in the same draft email.
What do you think of the above response? And practically speaking , is it okay to tell her that I don't want her to request recommendation from this and that post? For me: I tend to feel it's okay as long as there're some other capable people who can write recommendations - everybody has an unfavorable period in life, and that could happen in a postdoc, but that alone doesn't define me as a researcher.