Should I Let Them Contact My Current Employer?

"JT & Dale Talk Jobs" is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: One common question I've been asked during interviews is whether the potential employer can contact my current employer. I never know how to answer this. One concern is that if I give permission, my current employer could find out I'm looking for a new job. At best, this would make for an awkward work situation, especially if I don't get or accept the new position. At worst, I imagine it could get me fired. However, if I don't give permission, I'm concerned that I take myself out of further consideration because the employer might think I have something to hide. What's the correct way to handle this? Should I let them contact my current employer? - Eric DALE: Unless you are in some unusual situation, such as a company that is closing or a facility that's relocating to another city, you do have something to hide - and it is that you're looking for another job. Any decent prospective employer would take this into consideration. So, the answer is no, they can't contact your current employer. However, you needn't put it in such stark terms. You would mention that you currently have a great relationship and wouldn't want to do anything to risk that, and then refer the potential employer to references from prior companies, or perhaps a current co-worker who knows that you're looking. J.T.: I like the idea of emphasizing your current great relationship, but I'd use it to say "yes" rather than "no." Here's the right response: "Yes. You can contact my employer. However, I would ask that you do not do so until you have extended me an offer and I have accepted it pending a good recommendation. I worked hard to develop my relationship with my current company. The only reason I'm looking for a new job is they do not have the growth opportunity I desire. Therefore, I am completely OK with you talking to them should I make the cut and accept an offer with you, just not until then." DALE: Very impressive. That is the right answer. It offers you protection from immediate contact while making you look even more desirable to the new company. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less