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mirifique's avatar

What are the chances a future employer would contact your current employer without your express consent?

Asked by mirifique (1540points) August 27th, 2009

I’m applying to a new job in the same city and same industry, albeit different department, than my current job. My current employment situation is good, but not good enough that they wouldn’t be a little resentful and, knowing their personalities, perhaps a little spiteful that I would shun the opportunities they’ve given me in favor of something else. I’m worried that applying to this particular position would come back to “get me,” as I’ve seen a top-ranked employee’s name from the place I’d be applying to in our company’s rolodex. I know that HR departments, fueled by recognition of our litigious society, are particularly cautious in terms of obtaining prior consent before checking references. But what I’m more concerned about is “back-room conversation” between executives of my company and my prospective company, along the lines of “hey, I happened to glance at a resumé today of an employee who works, strangely, at your place—so, and between us of course, can you tell me what are they like?” I suppose all I can do is request that my application be reviewed “in confidence;” I suppose what I’m looking for here is a bit of moral support regarding the process and specifically whether anyone has experienced or learned of situations where this has backfired. Otherwise I fear that finding a job in a new city would be my only escape. I’m also concerned that a potentially spiteful higher-up at my current job would be so spiteful as to fire me at my current job and ruin my prospective employment at the other place… I doubt it, but I fear that happening if they are feeling particularly betrayed.

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7 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

You must be very, very important to them that they would be willing to break the law to punish you for leaving. If I were that important to a firm, I would skip applying for a job elsewhere, and immediately negotiate a large raise and much better benefits.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I don’t think the HR dept. can contact your previous employer without a written consent from you but keep in mind similar industries/companies often have people who know people who know people and you may come up in conversation that way and it very well could affect your hire.

mirifique's avatar

@pdworkin – I was given a raise but it is much less than that which I hoped for. I blamed it on the recession and have been riding it out but at this point I am looking for a new career entirely.

mirifique's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence and that’s exactly why I posted this question! I am worried that that type of thing happens far more often than we are led to believe by HR rhetoric.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@mirifique: You’re right, it happens a lot and people are foolish if they think it doesn’t just as people are foolish if they don’t think an employer isn’t going to pop your name into Google and see what hits come up for info and images.

mirifique's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence Well, I’m not so much worried about them finding out where I am working, as that information is readily accessible and will be on my resumé: It’s rqther the communication I talked about—that between a higher up at my company and the prospective company—that concerns me.

wundayatta's avatar

So what if they do talk? You gotta trust yourself and your skills. It’s hard for me to imagine competitors trusting each other, anyway. Apply for the job if you want to move. Is your current boss loyal to you? I’d say you don’t owe them any more loyalty than they show towards you.

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