I recently applied for a job and I filled out everything online. There is one question that says, "Can we contact your current employer?" I marked, "No," because I did not want them to call my supervisor because I don't want him to know I am applying for jobs. Does doing this hurt a candidate's chances of getting the job? (I could explain the problem in the interview.)

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    In most cases the reason they ask is because they are ok with situations like yours. If they didn't ask, it would mean they insist on being able to contact the current employer and don't want your application if they can't. Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 17:40
  • It's hard to comment on them, but you're describing standard operating procedure for most people. I would be furious if somebody contacted an employer prior to the references and formalities stage.
    – Dan
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 17:43
  • I think you could improve this question by also asking how offset the problem enough to get an interview. I don't think it hurts getting the job as much as it hurts getting the interview in the first place. If you get the interview you can explain why and mitigate the problem Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 17:51
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    Anyone hiring that would hold this against a candidate clearly doesn't understand how the job market works or they prefer to hire people who are not currently employed.
    – user8365
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 17:55
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    Well, and a lot of companies know that you're leaving. For example, term contracts, positions closing, etc. In that case, there's no reason not to let them ask. (Unless, of course, they don't have good things to say... :-o )
    – corsiKa
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 19:13

2 Answers 2


From my experience it is normal to ask that your current employer not be contacted about your job search. Every job I have applied for a job, I have responded with a no to this question. You will not look like you have something to hide by saying no - you will look like someone who doesn't want to put your current employment in jeopardy.

The majority of companies should understand that candidates don’t want their current employer tipped off to the fact they are searching for a job. That being said I'm sure there are a few cases out there were saying no has gone against someone but I've yet to hear of it based solely on this reason alone.


Does doing this hurt a candidate's chances of getting the job?

It depends, many people don't want their current employer aware of the fact that they are applying for jobs. So I think that is understood. You can perhaps alleviate any possible misunderstandings of your choice to deny access to your current employer by allowing them to contact previous employers. Then it should be ok.

However, if your current job is the primary job in the field that you are applying for, then it will be difficult for Human Resources to verify your employment history. If that's the case, then you may need some outside verification of your skills: Stack Overflow, LinkedIn Recommendations, Personal Blog, etc.

  • What about reference ?
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 18:07
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    If you have a coworker that you're close with, ask them if you could use them as a reference. Or just ask for recommendations on LinkedIn and hide your profile updates. You have options.
    – brwngrldev
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 18:10
  • Yes, I did have their name listed.
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 18:15

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