Help me not be sketchy
April 22, 2007 1:56 PM   Subscribe

Job application ethics question. A job I started last month isn't working out, so I recently interviewed for a job at another firm. The prospective employer wants me to submit an application form in which I list my current employer (including my current supervisor's name and contact info). It would save me a lot of angst if I could leave my 2-month-old current job off this form entirely. Is it OK if I do that?

Of course, if you Google my name I show up in the staff listing of the 2-month-old job. So it wouldn't be hard for my prospective employers to find out where I'm working. But I'm concerned if I list my current employer that my prospective employer will be more likely to contact them. Also, if it's possible not to emphasize that I'm trying to ditch my current job after such a short time, I'd like to. (So far I've been able to gloss over what I'm doing at the moment because I recently graduated from grad school.)

So in this space on the application form for "current/most recent employer" I'd prefer to list the job I had before leaving for grad school. Would this be OK? Or sketchy? (If it would be sketchy, I won't do it. I kinda feel like it might be, but I'm wondering if my moral scruples are going overboard on this.)
posted by hazelshade to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It seems a bit sketchy to me, especially since it seems pretty likely that the prospective employer will find out where you're working anyway. I think it'd be far easier to explain that the job you've got isn't working out than to explain why you lied to them about its existence.
posted by cerebus19 at 2:20 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, carebus -- confirming what I'd suspected.
posted by hazelshade at 2:23 PM on April 22, 2007

I agree with cerebus19, although it wouldn't be lying to them.. it'd be dishonest, imho. Just explain it to them, I'm sure they'll understand.
posted by CliffDiving44 at 2:24 PM on April 22, 2007

Best answer: It is extremely uncommon for potential employers to call your current employer unless you give specific permission for them to do so. If you want to make absolutely sure that it doesn't happen, simply tell the prospective employer that you prefer that your current employer not be approached for a reference because you don't want it known that you are seeking other employment. They will understand, unless they are crazy, and then you don't want to work there anyway.
posted by Wroksie at 2:29 PM on April 22, 2007

Also, realize that most companies are extremely sensitive about anything that can get them in trouble legally, and contacting your employer without your permission is something that you get get in a lawyer-fuss over if you wanted to. Not that you would want to, of course, but it's very likely that the company has policies in place to prevent any kind of lawyer-fuss, so you probably have nothing to worry about. For similar legal-paranoia reasons, even if your current employer *is* contacted, it is extremely unlikely that you will get a bad reference. Neutral, perhaps, but not bad. Most places these days won't give anything other than dates of employment when asked for a reference, just because of a pathological fear of lawsuits.
posted by Wroksie at 2:36 PM on April 22, 2007

Unless you have a habit of quitting jobs every 2 months, an employer would probably prefer to see that you're employed as opposed to unemployed. It's easier to get a job when you have a job. Most employers recognize that jobs aren't always a good fit.
posted by acoutu at 2:53 PM on April 22, 2007

"Current employer" means who you're working for now.

If you think about it for even a second or two, submitting a job application means that either you're not working now or that your current job isn't a right fit for you. They already know that. Let them know, either in an interview or a cover letter, that you'd prefer your current job not be contacted. They may not be bound to honor this request, but most folks and places will.

Remember, they're not out to screw over their potential employment applicants; it's against their best interests to do so, and if they do it enough they'll never be able to hire anybody.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:07 PM on April 22, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you, guys, for helping me not be sketchy :) The advice and reassurance is much appreciated!
posted by hazelshade at 7:08 PM on April 22, 2007

« Older blogging / pinging / rss / publishing   |   Quality earphones with the feel of iPod stock... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.