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How do I respond on job application when asked for permission to contact my current employer?

Career Exploration The Hiring Process

Question: I’m filling out an application, and it says: “May we contact your present employer? Yes or no.” I really don’t want them to contact my present employer; not that they won’t say nice things about me, but I don’t want them to know I’m looking. But if I say “no,” won’t the prospective employer think I’m trying to hide something? Answer: Good news! This kind of question is just an informational one. Most employers just want to know if it’s okay with you to talk to your current boss. If so, great; if not, they will respect that and not think any the less of you. Human resources folks know how the game is played. Of course you want to have control of your job search, and you want to reveal it when and to whom you want. The person reading your application was probably in the same place you are once. If you say not to call, generally they won’t, and the only assumption they make will be that you’re not ready to have your current employer know that you want to replace him. On the other hand, maybe it’s fine for them to contact your current supervisor. Maybe the company is closing, and everyone’s leaving, including your boss. Or maybe you’re moving out of the area, and your boss already knows that. One other note about applications: be sure to read the instructions! This is the first task the employer is giving you. If you blow this one, you won’t get any others. They want to know if you can follow instructions. Don’t disappoint them.