I recently came across this while filling out a job application. I did all the interviews, and needed to fill out the app to go through a background check. Soon as I read this question “May we contact your current employer?” I began to start sweating beads. I wasn’t sure what to do. There was a part of me that said “Mark yes. They won’t like it if you mark ‘No’ and they’ll think you have something to hide.” I skipped this section and filled out all the other parts while Gchatting/texting all my friends that work in HR and those that recently started a new job. Some said they marked “Yes,” others said they didn’t have that question, and my friends in HR said they didn’t know. Some help…
Anyways, I started googling and found the same answers I received from friends. So what do you do? As I began sweating over filling this unfinished part out, I thought of it logically. I did well in all my interviews and they gave me a verbal offer over the phone, but that still does not guarantee you a new job 100%. I went back to the email for review and read “Conducting this background check is not a guarantee for employment. Please do not notify your employer your resignation until you receive confirmation you’ve passed the background check.”
So although I got the verbal offer over the phone, there still is no guarantee they’ll hire you until after the background check is done. Anything can happen during this time. One of my close friends put in his 2 weeks at his company and failed the background check. He was out of a job. A fellow employee that was supposed to start with me on my first day was delayed 3 weeks from starting because the company did not hear back from a county she lived in in SoCal. She didn’t get paid for 3 weeks.
I thought if I marked “Yes,” I might as well tell everyone at my current company including HR and my manager that I can’t wait to fucking leave. So what did I do? I filled out my current employers info and marked “No, do not contact.” I had no idea what would happen. I was definitely afraid because I knew I wanted to leave my company and knew I wanted to work with the new team. I got along with them great. After this, I put my computer down and prayed.
About 4 days later I received an email saying “Congratulations! You’ve passed your background check. Your first day is XX-XX.” What a sigh of relief. I was so happy.
In short, when asked the question “May we contact your current employer?” SImply say no. It’s a respectable no. There are no guarantees getting hired will work out even after a verbal and written offer given the background check. I’ve seen offers rescinded a handful of times. If it doesn’t work out with the new company, then hey, you still have your job and consistent pay check. And this end scenario is way better than having the new company call your job, asking a bunch of questions about you, and then not even hiring you. You don’t get a new gig, and your current company will know you’re trying to leave.
I had dinner with a friend that went through the same situation. She marked “Yes” thinking the company she wanted to go to would think she had “something to hide.” They called her current employer the next day asking about her. When my friend passed the background check, she spoke with her manager to put in her 2 weeks. Guess what happened? Her manager said “That’s okay. Your last day will be tomorrow” OHHHHHHHHH!!!! Wow. I was laughing my ass off hearing this.
If you don’t give a fuck about your current job and want them to know you’re trying to leave asap, then mark “Yes, please contact my current employer” and shit away the possibility of him/her being a future reference. Be smart. Just mark no. Remember, it’s a respectable no.