Here’s How Your Former Employer Can Make It Impossible to Find a New Job

Are you looking for a new job? The job search might be a lot tougher depending on what your former employer says about you. You might think your former employer can’t say anything negative about you, but that’s not true. More information can be given besides dates of employment and your official job title. Although employers are hesitant to get too detailed about your work history because of concerns about legal action for defamation of character, there’s still a lot that can be said.

Here are some things your former employer can say about you that could make it harder for you to find a new job.

Your former employer can say you were fired

Fired or laid off worker leaving the office with a box of her things

If you’ve been fired, don’t expect your old employer to cover for you. | Dutko/iStock/Getty Images

You might have heard a former employer can’t reveal if you were fired. However, this isn’t the case. Your former employer can, and probably will, spill the beans. The employer can also share the reason you were fired. “Legally, a former employer can say anything they want about you unless the information is confidential,” says job-search coach Kim Costa in her column for career site Snagajob.

Your former employer can disclose your salary

Businessman Hands Giving Cheque To Other Person In Office

Don’t lie about your previous salary, it could make or break your chances for a job. | AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

One thing you don’t want to lie about is your salary. The hiring manager can find out, so it doesn’t pay to give out a number you know isn’t true. Lori Itani, an independent staffing consultant, told career site Monster that salary information can be confirmed.

Depending on company policy, and your state or city of residence, some employers will verify your starting and ending salary with your future employer. If there is a significant discrepancy, you can pretty much kiss that job goodbye. However, in some states and cities, it is now illegal for an employer to ask about salary history before an offer is made. New York, for example recently passed a law that prohibits state and city agencies from asking questions about salary history before extending an offer.

Your former employer can reveal if you quit without notice

know when to quit

Don’t walk out on your old job and expect it to be a consequence-free move. |Source Foter.com

Were you so miserable at your old job that you quit on the spot? It’s not uncommon to work for an employer who makes you want to leave during your lunch break and never come back. However, that decision could negatively impact your ability to quickly find a new job. Having a workplace tantrum and leaving without giving notice could come back to haunt you. Your previous employer is at liberty to share this information, according to the Kavaliro career blog.

Your former employer can comment on your job performance

Paperwork in a filing cabinet

Performance reviews are a kind of permanent record. | iStock.com/jdwfoto

Your performance review doesn’t stop being relevant after you call it quits. Another little tidbit a former employer can share is how you performed on the job. If your work performance was lacking, your future employer might find out about it. So, if you didn’t put in much effort and slacked off whenever you had the chance, this could cause the hiring manager to remove you from the candidate pool.

Your former employer can say whether you’ve received disciplinary action

Being “that person” at your old job may come back to haunt you. | Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Hopefully you didn’t break any company rules at your previous place of employment. Your former employer can say whether you’ve ever been disciplined. Missing the mark in this area is bad news when it comes to your job search. Companies try their best to avoid making a bad hiring decision, so learning you were disciplined would likely make a hiring manager hesitant to proceed with the hiring process.

Your former employer can say whether you were punctual

Asleep girl stopping alarm clock

If you have a problem getting to work on time, your former employer probably won’t keep it a secret. | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

Did you have a bad relationship with your alarm clock? Was it rare for you to get to work on time — or at all? If you had a pattern of being excessively late or absent, you could have a tough time snagging that new job. Former employers are allowed to say whether you arrived at work on time as well as what your attendance was like.

Your former employer can comment on your conduct

If you didn’t get along with anyone at your old job, that doesn’t bode well for your next one. | iStock/Getty Images

Did you get along with your boss? Did you work well with others? If the answer is ‘no,’ to one or both of these questions, you might have to kiss a job opportunity good-bye. A former employer can provide a basic idea of what it was like to work with you. A future employer will likely ask your references for this information as well. One simple way to improve your work references is to make sure you’re not difficult to work with.

What you can do

Job interview

Ask quesions during your exit interivew and try to leave your old job on a high note. | Robert Daly/iStock/Getty Images

Reduce some of your anxiety by asking the appropriate questions during your exit interview if you’re given one. Ask about the employer’s policy on what information is released to hiring managers. This way, you’ll know what to expect and have answers ready if you’re questioned about things like excessive lateness or absences. The best way to boost your chances of getting the next job is to be prepared.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.

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