They Want to Contact Your Current Employer – What Do You Say?

When you have successfully completed an interview and the manager asks if they may contact your current employer, how should you respond? In most cases, you do not want to risk get fired for looking for employment elsewhere. On the other hand, you want to give the new company as much information as possible to make an informed decision to hire you. Here are some appropriate answers.

I Am in a Stealth Job Search

Let the manager know you are in a stealth job search and cannot give permission to contact anyone from your company. The accepted HR practice is managers may request references from anyone except your current employer. Your potential employer should not be asking you to jeopardize your job so they can receive more information. Perhaps you are simply exploring your options and have not made a decision about whether to leave your current role. The manager already knows more about you than you do about them. Plus, they can look at your resume or LinkedIn profile with recommendations and ask questions about your skills and experience. And, you most likely gave the manager three to five references. If the manager is not already impressed with your background and qualifications, they should hire someone else.

I Do Not Give Permission

If you were recently fired from your position, you typically should not give permission to contact that employer. The manager or co-workers may say something negative about you and decrease your chances of being offered a position. Before making a decision, consider what a former manager or co-worker may say. There are laws against defamation, and they may avoid giving specific details as to why you were fired. Perhaps you did not get along with your manager, but a co-worker with a high-level title would give a positive report about their experience working with you. If you still do not feel comfortable having the new company contact your previous one, then do not give permission.

Contact My Previous Employers Instead

Allow the manager to contact your previous employers. Former managers and co-workers you directly worked with should be trusted enough to give an objective review of your work ethic and abilities as an employee. Be sure to ask permission before providing them as references. Also, update their employer, job title, phone number and email address to provide the new company with current information.

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