Occasionally, you may end up job hunting while currently employed. This may be to find a higher wage, better schedule, or to pursue a passion. No matter the reason, it is always intimidating to hear the interviewer ask for permission to contact your current employer.
In general, it is best to deny an interviewer’s request to speak with a current employer unless the current employer is already aware of the employee’s job search and the two are on good terms. Respond to the interviewer calmly, confidently, and politely when declining.
If you are currently employed and searching for a new job, you should be prepared to answer this question. How you answer this question could have a significant impact on your current and future work situations. We can help you learn everything you need to know about nailing this interview question!
“May We Contact Your Current Employer?” The Right Answer
Preparing to leave your current job can be nerve-wracking. No matter how long you have been with the company, you have developed relationships—good or bad—with the boss and other employees. What kind of relationship you have will play a part in how you answer the above question.
In general, you do not want your job interviewer to contact your current employer. Chances are, your current boss and coworkers are not aware of your job search yet. If they are alerted of your search by a call from a hiring department, it could damage your relationship.
But why would your relationship matter if you are planning on leaving the company? Well, there is no guarantee you will get a new job. If this happens, you will have to continue working with your current employer. If they are upset by your plan to leave them, they may replace you or treat you differently moving forward.
As you can see, it is best to notify your employer of your planned job change yourself. However, to avoid an awkward work environment, you may want to wait until you have landed a new job.
But what do you tell the interviewer then? Surely telling them no would be impolite or imply that you are hiding something from them. Potentially it could have this effect. However, if you say no in the right way, you can still nail the interview.
Remain calm and prepare yourself in advance to answer this question. Politely explain to the interviewer that you have not yet notified your employer of the job search, and you want to tell them yourself. Invite the interviewer to contact a previous employer. You may also invite the interviewer to contact your employer after you have discussed the matter with them yourself.
Giving an explanation as to why you do not want them to contact your current employer is much better than simply saying no. Remember, the explanation must be polite! Do not respond with an angry, nervous, or shocked tone.
Additionally, following up the explanation with an invitation to contact other resources shows the interviewer that you are a trustworthy individual that is easy to work with. Overall, the interviewer will likely understand your concerns with them contacting your current employer. After all, they are an employee too and should be able to relate to the situation.
If your employer is already aware of your job search and is not upset about it, feel free to accept the interviewer’s request. They will contact your employer to discuss what it is like to work with you and what your work ethic is like. They will also use this call to verify that you are actually employed.
How to Job Search While Employed
Before you can land the interview, you first need to search for the right jobs. Completing a job hunt while working can be difficult. Luckily, we have several tips to help you find a job and get an interview!
Start by carefully constructing a resume. If you use a sloppy resume to apply for jobs, chances are, you will not get an interview.
When looking for a new job, search primarily in your immediate area. It can be difficult to search for jobs on the other side of the country while still completing your current job duties. Doing so will allow you to keep your job and still attend in-person interviews.
Although applying to jobs on the other side of the country is not ideal, with the advancements in technology, you can apply to any job, no matter how far away it is! You can even host interviews yourself through video chat.
When you do get an interview, never speak poorly of your current employer. Job interviewers look for potential employees who are loyal to the company. Speaking poorly of your current employer will lead the interviewer to believe you would do the same to them if they hired you. In this instance, the adage “if you have nothing nice to say, do not say anything at all” rings true.
No matter where you are hunting for a job, be sure not to use company resources. If your company is not upset that you are getting a job elsewhere, they likely will be mad if they find out their resources were used to do so. Additionally, you should only search for a new job when you are off the clock. Your current employer should not be paying you to look for new employment.
Most importantly, keep working hard at your current job. Maintain a positive attitude and work well with your coworkers. If your job interviewer does call your current employer, you want them to say good things. You do not want your potential employer to hear you have been slacking on responsibilities lately.
Additionally, working hard up until your last day lets you leave on good terms with the company. If your new job falls through, you might be able to return to your old job. Depending on the nature of your work, you may even be able to work both jobs!
The most important part of job hunting while employed is to notify your current employer that you are leaving when the time is right. It is best to give 2-4 weeks’ notice.