May we contact this employer?

"Can I get in touch with this employer?" – what do you feel when seeing this question? Many people are a little bit scared of it, and there are many reasons. 

Someone worries that his current employer will know about his changing-the-job will as he still works there. Somebody is afraid of revenge from his previous employer (he has fired him and can easily prevent getting a good job). Or, maybe, the organization doesn't exist anymore, or the employer doesn't work there. 

What will happen if you refuse to communicate with the employer? And if you have bad relations with your previous employer, how can you manage this? 

In the interview, it's the most asked question. That's why you must be ready to answer it. 

If you are not ready, we'll help you. After several minutes of reading, you will know what you should consider when answering this question, the cases when you should refuse, and examples to see how it works in practice. 

What should you remember when seeing the question "May we get in touch with the employer?"

Firstly, if you don't have any strong reasons for refusing, always give a positive answer. 

Secondly, before you make a list of preferences, speak with your previous employers. 

Thirdly, some organizations can interpret your negative answer as your defeat at an early stage.  

If you decide to reject, you must be sure that the hiring committee has the contacts to speak with. 

Even if you give a positive answer, in many cases it does not indicate that they will communicate with the employer. 

Why is the resume not enough for the recruiting managers to hire someone? Why do they want to speak with your previous employers? The companies wish to find the worker that is sure in the history of employment. 

They wish to check his qualifications and take a look at his achievements. Besides, they want to know for long the person worked there, what wage he has received and why he has quitted (if the person has been fired, or if he has quitted by himself). 

The job is everything for you, and you wish to start working in a new place – and it doesn't matter if you don't like your current work or have not been working for some time. 

Anyway, you are a little bit scared to give the contacts of the previous employers in case you don't know what description of you as a worker they will provide. 

And of course, you will feel nervous when you see the line about contacting the employer near the job description. 

So if you don't know how to manage this potentially dangerous situation, read our recommendations below, and soon you will be able to cope with it very quickly. 

How can you answer the "May I get in touch with the employer" question? 

Deciding whether to give the previous workers' contacts can be very nervous (we know you will accept this statement). 

But you must also remember that when you tick the box of "Can I contact with the employer" question, it does not indicate that the organizations where you want to work will ask you this information – they can only ask your permission for it. 

Generally, employers do not use these contacts. They use them only in case if they really consider you as a candidate for the position. That is why at first sight, if you see a lot of boxes with "no," it can play badly for you. 

So you can refuse one employer; it is rather admissible. But you must ensure that you can give the recent contacts, which the potential employers can communicate, and you have solid reasons to reject.

So what should you do? You should definitely agree.  

The reasons for and against communication with this employer

When you are asked permission to get in touch with your previous employers, the recruiting managers want to see that you are an honest worker. The ideal workers do not exist; that is why the employers' doubts are rather reasonable and clear. 

You can have a range of reasons why you do not want to give the contacts of the previous employers. 

If the previous company has fired you, you will naturally have stress when the recruiting managers contact them. 

The first thing you can do is communicate with your previous workplace and ask about the consequences that the call from the potential employer will cause. 

There is one essential fact – the slander is punished, so the previous employers have no right to badmouth you. That is why according to the law, they cannot share untrue information about you with the recruiting managers. 

If you still worry about this situation, we recommend remembering people you have worked with and whom you have to obey. Carefully think of them -maybe, they can share a good referenced about you as a worker. If you are sure, they can do this, mention them as your references. 

Ok, however, your concerns have not gone away. So get over your fears, work up the courage and tick the box opposite the positive answer to "Can I get in touch with the employer". It will make you feel nervous if you have many negative answers, especially if you have done this job for a long time. 

How to answer the question "May I communicate with the employer?" – There are some pieces of advice. 

The ideal situation is that you give your permission to contact your previous employers. Below, you will find some pieces of bits of advice in case you would not:

  • Rejecting the current employer is a regular thing. There is nothing wrong if you refuse to work in your current workplace. The recruiting managers know that people tend to search for new career opportunities while working on the current job, so they do all their best to save you from the problems with your present employers. 
  • Firstly, communicate with the staff department from the previous job. Knowing the previous employer's attitude to employment checks will give you more reasons to take a job (or not to take a job). Besides, the personnel department can provide a more neutral description of you as a worker. 
  • Contact your previous chief. Here, the recommendations are the same as the last advice has. But this advice is essential if you do not want to do it officially. There are situations when the worker is fired, but the employer still treats him well. In this case, it is worth mentioning his contacts (and before doing this, you should ask permission). If you want to give the contacts of your colleague, who can share good recommendations about you, the recommendations are the same. 
  • Describe the reasons why you have been fired from the previous job in the other place. If you do not want to write about it in your summary, you can describe it in the transmittal letter. Make this soft spot become a strong point – show that you are proactive, especially about solving your problems from the past. 
  • Do not mention your previous employer in your summary. It can bear the risk, but we recommend doing it if you have bad relations with your past employer and you do not want the potential employer to know about it. 

If you do not allow getting in touch with your previous employers, you will differ from other candidates for all negative aspects. That is why we suggest you accept job offers from as many people as possible. 

Suppose you have a lot of negative answers and do not allow checking your qualifications and transmittal letter. In that case, your interview will end before it ever starts (maybe, much earlier before the employers call you). 

What are the strong reasons not to communicate with a past employer? 

There are several strong reasons why the recruiting managers should not get in touch with the past or the current employer:

  • You wish to keep a secret of the job searching from the current employer. The HR can reject your current employer, understanding that you risk losing your present workplace if he knows about your job search. 
  • In case your past workplace does not exist anymore. Your potential employer will not communicate with people from the previous workplace if the organization does not exist anymore. 
  • In case your past employers belong to a small international organization, which does not have any English contacts. Anyway, you should still agree and allow the potential employer to communicate with them – their communication can be impossible. 
  • The past employer has died. You can not allow getting in touch, but you should say that your previous employer does not live anymore and share the contacts about the person who can act on his behalf. 
  • In case the organization follows a policy of no references. There are organizations that do not give references. That is why it will be reasonable to tick the "no" box opposite the employers' vacancies that follow such policy. 

How does all of this work in practice? Below, you have a chance to see it. We'll leave you some examples of how to reject the communication with the employer. 

Let's imagine you have defined the organizations you are going to give the negative answer for the "Can I speak to this employer?" question. 

Typically, employers leave the space where you can write any notes. So if you are going to reject communication with the employer, we recommend leaving some explanations in the special space. 

  1. In case this is your current workplace. Now my present employer does not know that I am searching for a new job. In case you want to speak with them, I will share their contacts with you. But it will happen on the condition you offer me a job. 
  2. If your employer is not alive anymore. Unfortunately, my employer has died. But I can give you contacts of Mr. or Mrs. S. 
  3. In case the organization does not work anymore. Unfortunately, the organization does not work anymore. But if you want to know about me as a worker, I can give you a contact of Mr. or Mrs. D, he (or she) was my director. 
  4. If your supervisor has changed his workplace. I am afraid my supervisor does not work there anymore. But I can give you a contact of Mr. F; we worked together at that organization. 
  5. In case your past employer does not give references

I am sorry to say, but I cannot share the contacts from my past employer, as the organization follows the policy of no references. 

To sum up

It can be hard to define how the recruiting managers will think of you as a worker. It can especially be hard in case you have a negative job background. 

But if you make a plan, you can escape from the stress when the potential employer communicates with your past employer. 

We recommend you being honest when taking a job. That is why do not hurry to tick the "no" box – firstly, spend some time looking for your previous employer's contact.  

If you thoroughly take a look at all your contacts, it can help you get a job.  

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