When you’re looking for a new job, you can expect prospective employers to ask if they can contact your current manager for a reference. But deciding whether to give them permission isn’t easy, depending on your circumstances. Often, job seekers try to keep their search for a new position private, and allowing the potential employer to contact your company is a sure-fire way for word to get out. Luckily, there are ways to navigate this tricky territory.
Understand the Ball Is in Your Court
First and foremost, you need to realize you have all the power in this equation. Yes, a prospective employer would like to contact your company for a reference, but most understand if you’re trying to keep them from finding out that you’re looking for a new position. That means you can generally say “no” without a high chance of negative repercussions.
If you aren’t comfortable with them calling for a reference now, but are open to it later, you can state that, while you are trying to keep your job search private at this time, you would be open to them contacting your current employer once a job offer is made. This would give you an opportunity to tell your manager personally that you’ve found another position, but lets the hiring manager access the information when the time is right.
What If Your Employer Knows You’re Job Searching?
In some cases, you may feel comfortable letting your employer know you are looking for a new position. For example, if your job is seasonal and layoffs are just around the corner, or you are working a contract position that is almost complete, you might not find the need to keep your efforts a secret. The same situation can occur in situations where your manager already knows you’re planning on leaving, which can happen if they know you are moving to a new city on a specific date, for example.
If your employer is aware of your job search, there’s no reason they can’t be a reference, as long as you’re certain their review of your performance and capabilities will be positive.
Similarly, if your manager doesn’t know you are looking for a new position, but a co-worker does, you could consider offering their information for a reference. However, it’s important that you only go that route if you are certain they won’t inform anyone else when that call comes through.
Ultimately, you are never required to provide your current employer as a reference, and most hiring managers will understand if you want to keep your job search private for the time being. By giving them the opportunity to contact your workplace at a later date, such as when an employment offer is on the table, you can demonstrate you have nothing to hide from them and that you’re just trying to preserve your relationship with the manager you report to today.
If you are interested in learning more or are looking for a new position, the recruiters at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to discuss how our services can assist you with your career goals today.