"may we contact your previous employer" what is the correct answer?

  1. I'm filing as many job applications as I can find and recently, I got a call back. The person wanted to call the previous workplace for reference. I said 'yes' as I did left with good standing with them, but since then, I havent got a call back. Which obviously means I'm not getting the job and maybe the person was probably told hings that are not nice about me. I feel paranoid since I only worked there for about half a year and I resigned because I wanted to go back to school full time.

    Now, as Im doing more applications, there's always a section that asks this. And I'm sure that saying no will somewhat hurt my chances...

    What should I do or say? should I just erase that work experience from my resume? What if they ask about that period of time of inactivity?

    Would like to hear advice.
    Thanks.
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  2. Poll: "may we contact previous employer?" What is the proper answer?

    • Yes! No matter what. just give them what they want.

      74.07% 20
    • No!

      14.81% 4
    • Delete that work experience in your resume

      11.11% 3
    27 Votes
  3. 15 Comments

  4. by   caliotter3
    I found out that some call even if you say 'do not contact'. One person used to answer the phone pretending to be the appropriate supervisor and gave their opinion. If you don't put yes, you are casting a negative light on yourself unless it is for your present employer. It is generally understood why people don't want the current employer contacted, at least until after an offer is extended.
  5. by   EternalFeather
    Quote from caliotter3
    I found out that some call even if you say 'do not contact'. One person used to answer the phone pretending to be the appropriate supervisor and gave their opinion. If you don't put yes, you are casting a negative light on yourself unless it is for your present employer. It is generally understood why people don't want the current employer contacted, at least until after an offer is extended.

    I am unemployed now. I did not the place burning bridges and I did leave a nice resignation...
    I am afraid Im not going to get any position I want to apply for.
    I think Im just going delete that work history.... start from scratch i guess....
  6. by   Ruas61
    I have asked them not to contact to expose that I am job hunting but was able to provide references. I also came from a specialized nursing skillset that it was accepted.
  7. by   Julius Seizure
    Why don't you have a friend call your former employer and pretend to be someone considering you for a job. See what they are saying. It might have nothing to do with them at all.
  8. by   Cat365
    Quote from Julius Seizure
    Why don't you have a friend call your former employer and pretend to be someone considering you for a job. See what they are saying. It might have nothing to do with them at all.
    This is what I was going to suggest. I've always wanted to do this just for curiosity. I was told one time by the Human Resources at a previous employer that it was company policy to only state the dates of employment and possibly rehire status but since I didn't like the person I always wondered.

    It always mystified me that the most universally disliked person at that company was put in charge of Human Resources. As far as I know the only two people who did like that particular person were the owner and that persons spouse.
  9. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from EternalFeather
    I'm filing as many job applications as I can find and recently, I got a call back. The person wanted to call the previous workplace for reference. I said 'yes' as I did left with good standing with them, but since then, I havent got a call back. Which obviously means I'm not getting the job and maybe the person was probably told hings that are not nice about me. I feel paranoid since I only worked there for about half a year and I resigned because I wanted to go back to school full time.

    Now, as Im doing more applications, there's always a section that asks this. And I'm sure that saying no will somewhat hurt my chances...

    What should I do or say? should I just erase that work experience from my resume? What if they ask about that period of time of inactivity?

    Would like to hear advice.
    Thanks.
    The fact that you have not heard back does not mean that you got a poor reference from your prior workplace. It might mean that the person who is going to call hasn't gotten to it yet, has called and left messages but hasn't gotten a call back because your former manager is on vacation, or is on vacation himself/herself. It might mean that the HR department is backed up processing all the new grads they hired in may who are just starting this week, or that the HR department is overwhelmed because most of the department is on vacation, on maternity leave or goofing off because the boss is away. Hang in there -- sometimes it takes weeks for that one measly phone call to get made and returned!
  10. by   FolksBtrippin
    I would not assume that you got a poor reference.

    If you left on good terms, why assume that? It is more likely that they just selected someone else.

    I suggest you call your old supervisor and ask if they even got a call about you.
  11. by   Nurse Beth
    It's perfectly acceptable to answer "no" to "May we contact your current employer?" because most people do not want their employer to know they are job-searching.

    It can raise a red flag to answer "no" to "May we contact your previous
    employer(s)?"

    Many facilities have 'no reference' policies, anyway, which means it's common to only provide dates of employment and title- but not reference or re-hire status, due to liability. Best wishes.
  12. by   katyq82
    I agree that there could be many other reasons that your application hasn't moved forward, I wouldn't assume that your former employer gave you a poor reference unless you have a good reason to think that they would. The potential new employer may be delayed as was suggested or may have selected someone else for any number of reasons. I would call and follow up on the status of your application. If you find out that you are no longer be considered, you could politely ask for them to share the reason why someone else was selected so that you can improve your work experience, interview skills or whatever the case may be. I would frame it as, "I am always looking to improve as a job candidate, could you give me suggestions on areas of improvement that would have strengthened my application?".

    I wouldn't call your former employer and ask if they received a call, but I would call them and state that as they will recall, you left that position in Month/Year to pursue full time education and you are now looking for a new job post graduation. Ask if you can list them as a reference and see what they say. I wouldn't delete it from your work history unless you left under really bad circumstances. Good luck with your job search!
  13. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from katyq82
    I agree that there could be many other reasons that your application hasn't moved forward, I wouldn't assume that your former employer gave you a poor reference unless you have a good reason to think that they would. The potential new employer may be delayed as was suggested or may have selected someone else for any number of reasons. I would call and follow up on the status of your application. If you find out that you are no longer be considered, you could politely ask for them to share the reason why someone else was selected so that you can improve your work experience, interview skills or whatever the case may be. I would frame it as, "I am always looking to improve as a job candidate, could you give me suggestions on areas of improvement that would have strengthened my application?".

    I wouldn't call your former employer and ask if they received a call, but I would call them and state that as they will recall, you left that position in Month/Year to pursue full time education and you are now looking for a new job post graduation. Ask if you can list them as a reference and see what they say. I wouldn't delete it from your work history unless you left under really bad circumstances. Good luck with your job search!
    Something I never thought of, but it sounds like great advice!
  14. by   Jory
    Quote from Julius Seizure
    Why don't you have a friend call your former employer and pretend to be someone considering you for a job. See what they are saying. It might have nothing to do with them at all.
    I agree with this. I had an employer years ago that did this. I live in a state that also allows you to record a conversation. I had a friend call, recorded the former supervisor (who was beyond incompetent) bashing me and all of the information was untrue. She did this because I resigned after she first got the job and she begged me to stay six more months so I "wouldn't make her look bad". She also violated company policy b/c only HR could verify employment.

    I paid a lawyer $75 to send a cease and desist order directly to her. Last time we had that issue. Money well spent.

    I figured out this particular one was the problem when I was told that after a reference check I would be called with a start date and never heard back.
  15. by   caliotter3
    There are reference checking companies that provide this service for a nominal fee.

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