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Contacting Current Employer without Permission [The Answer]

    Many people look for new jobs without telling their current boss, but what if your employer gets to know about this? Can a potential employers contact your current employer without permission?

    Short answer No

    Without your permission, a potential employer may contact your current employer. This is unethical, though. Even though this kind of investigation is not against the law, it is against the best practices for human resources.

    This is because the best practices for human resources are based on professional norms, not the rules.

    If your current boss finds out you’re thinking of leaving, there could be tension and threats to your job.

    How can you stop a potential employer from doing a background check on you when so much is on the line?

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    Contacting current employer without permission

    What does the background check consist of?

    They do background checks to find out where a candidate has worked in the past. It includes criminal history, workplace violations, past performance, academic background, etc.

    Can potential employers call your current employer without permission?

    Business etiquette says that a potential employer should never get in touch with a job applicant’s current employer without the applicant’s permission.

    Most employers know that looking for a new job while still working is a private matter, and most people do it.

    They must also listen to job candidates who ask them not to contact their previous employers until they have officially quit.

    Employers must always get a signed document from a job applicant before asking a third party for information about the applicant. 

    Job candidates have a right to be informed of any intended background investigations about the employer’s objectives before the checks are started.

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    Should you give permission to your prospective employer to contact your current one?

    If you’re interviewing with a company that asks for your permission before calling your current job, your answer will depend on the situation.

    If your boss knows you’re looking for work (the company, for instance, is downsizing) and the work you’ve done in your current role could help you get a new job, encourage your potential employer to go ahead.

    Additionally, inform your current boss that reference calls are expected, so they can hopefully write a positive evaluation for you.

    It’s essential to request that your present employer not be contacted if you’re unsure whether you want to quit your job.

    It is fine and understandable for a potential employee to say no to a request to speak with their current employer. Make sure that an employer can’t use this against you when deciding whether or not to hire you.

    If it makes you feel bad to say no, you can give them the contact information for your previous jobs instead.

    After accepting a job offer and officially quitting, you might tell your potential boss that they can talk to your current boss. You want to be the one to tell your boss that you are leaving, after all.

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    Can you ask not to contact your current employer?

    It’s OK to say that your current boss shouldn’t be contacted. Most companies know this, and it usually won’t influence their choice.

    A professional way to ask for that

    You don’t want your existing employer to hear from every company you apply to. It’s unlikely that any of them will, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    In light of this, it seems sensible to give the company permission to contact your present employer—but only if you’re one of the top prospects for the job.

    Additionally, there is nothing wrong with politely proposing not to get in touch with your previous employment.

    By doing this, you can decline an offer while offering a substitute that might improve your prospects in the recruiter’s view. For instance, you may frame it as follows:

    “Since my current boss doesn’t know I want to try something different in my career, I’d instead tell him directly. Would you be willing to talk to one of my old bosses instead?

    How to answer “May we contact your current employer?”

    “May we contact your current employer?” is a question that job applicants often ask. Can you say “no” to the new job without affecting your chances of getting it? Many people looking for a new job don’t want their current boss to know.

    If you want to hide that you’re looking for a new job, it’s not a big deal to say “no” when your current boss asks if you want to talk to them.

    But after that, you should give an apparent reason. You could say something like,

    “No. It’s better that you don’t talk to my current boss because he doesn’t know I’m looking for a job. It would be better to speak to them after You have made a formal job offer, and even then, I want to be the one to tell them I’ve been offered a job elsewhere.

    It’s best to keep your job search quiet while working elsewhere. If you have a job contract, this could be a violation of the terms of that contract.

    But saying “no” doesn’t mean that your current employer won’t be called. There’s always a chance that someone at the new company knows someone at the old company or that the person asking for references won’t pay attention to what you say.

    You only have two good reasons to tell the hiring manager why you don’t want them to get in touch with your current employer.

    • Your existing employer shouldn’t be aware that you’re hunting for work.
    • The business is no longer in operation.

    Anything different will typically raise a red flag.


    You could have encountered some questionable potential employers in your pursuit of better employment opportunities. Who knows what other shady business practices they might use if they spy on you behind your back and put your job at risk?

    You might be happy where you are now and want to keep working there. Best-case scenario: a dishonest potential employer tells your boss about your job search, so your boss gives you a raise to get you to stay.

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