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I'm applying for a new role and on the application form there's a box next to each referee saying "Can this referee be approached prior to interview?".

Given the fact that if I don't get this role I intend on staying where I am, I'd rather they didn't contact my current boss until after interview.

Will it negatively impact my application if I add this note in the box?

I would prefer if they were not contacted until after interview as they don’t know I’m applying for other roles. However, if you would like to contact them, please let me know and I’ll forewarn them.

  • Question, did you include your current boss as reference? Why? – DarkCygnus Mar 5 at 23:12
  • Why did you put your boss down as a reference? Did you tell your boss they are your reference? You usually don't put people down as a reference without first telling them about it. – Shadowzee Mar 5 at 23:15
  • @Shadowzee As far as I'm aware it's standard practice to use your boss as your reference in the UK. I will of course tell him after interview. – Persistence Mar 5 at 23:39
  • Simple solution for future reference: In your references section state" References available upon request". That way you control when they can be contacted. Simply refuse to give the references until after the interview. – solarflare Mar 6 at 1:45
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Will it negatively impact my application if I add this note in the box?

It would suffice to say "No", or select the No option for that reference.

It's perfectly understandable that you don't want your current employer to know you are interviewing. HR of the company you are applying to (and I'd say any HR) is aware of this, so there is no need to justify why you don't want them to be contacted.


As a side comment, you should always ask a prospect reference in advance that you wish to include them as such. Not telling this to someone and getting a call out of the blue is not professional.

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  • The plan was to let him know after interview if they wished to contact him – Persistence Mar 5 at 23:39
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    @Persistence exactly. You should do that before the interview, and before listing them. What if they don't want to be a reference? or they don't wish to be contacted? You still included them without asking for their authorization – DarkCygnus Mar 5 at 23:44
  • It's part of his job as a manager. Although I do know he will be happy to act as a referee. Who would you suggest I include instead? – Persistence Mar 5 at 23:46
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    @Persistence I'm not suggesting you shouldn't include him. I am suggesting you contact any reference before including them. It's the polite and professional way. Instead of you boss, you could consider including a coworker that you know instead, so you don't have to worry about your boss being contacted. – DarkCygnus Mar 5 at 23:47
  • @DarkCygnus In a lot of cases where I've applied for jobs, they state references must include your current manager. I wouldn't want to include that as, in a past instance, my manager got wind of me looking for other jobs and threatened to fire me on the spot unless I stopped looking (more or less his exact words). – user25730 Mar 6 at 0:50
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I'm applying for a new role and on the application form there's a box next to each referee saying "Can this referee be approached prior to interview?".

Given the fact that if I don't get this role I intend on staying where I am, I'd rather they didn't contact my current boss until after interview.

I will answer your question in a different way. You should not use your current manager as a work reference. Worst case scenario, your current manager has a vested interest in keeping you in the same position and hence not a great person to act as a reference to help you get a new role.

Since the form provides a checkbox for "Can this referee be approached prior to interview?". You should definitely NOT check this option if you continue to use your manager as a reference. I would say in general you should not check this option, because it's very disruptive to your references to be contacted before your interview.

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  • Thanks for this, although I trust that my boss is professional enough to give me a good reference, we also have a good relationship. Not to mention it would be a breach of employment law to give a false reference. – Persistence Mar 5 at 23:40
  • @Persistence Its a combination of multiple factors. If your manager knows you are interviewing and leaving, they may start to look for someone to replace you. Worst case, you can be let go and replaced before you have secured new employment. They could also not give you valuable work and take you off important projects because you become a risk. You also risk them refusing to give a reference and it can be a huge hassle to pursue legal actions if they give a bad reference when you don't have a job. – Shadowzee Mar 6 at 0:03
  • @Persistence It is almost certainly not a breach of employment law to give a "false reference" given the subjective content of it. (For example, look at Arbeitszeugnis). This is different from making incorrect statements that are not opinion, example, timeframe of employment, and roles undertaken. – Gregory Currie Mar 6 at 4:09
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Given the fact that if I don't get this role I intend on staying where I am, I'd rather they didn't contact my current boss until after interview.

Will it negatively impact my application if I add this note in the box?

I'm guessing that's the whole point in having the checkboxes. No need for any explanation notes.

It certainly should not negatively impact you if you don't check the box for your current boss. Make sure all your prior references know what is coming.

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