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I am applying to a job that keeps showing up in my sidebar here on stack exchange that seems like a good fit for me, but I am quite happy at my current position.

I don't expect that the new company will offer me enough to get me to leave but I can't know until I apply, the problem is the application asks for references and I have only ever worked at my current company (for 6 years) so my best references by far are my co-workers and mangers.

Should I ask my references before I submit the application, I am %100 sure the people I have listed would give me a good recommendation, or can I retroactively tell them if the job offers me an interview? (I am implicitly assuming that they will contact me, presumably for an interview, before contacting my references)

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Should I ask my references before I submit the application, I am %100 sure the people I have listed would give me a good recommendation, or can I retroactively tell them if the job offers me an interview?

I think it is better to always ask your references for clearance or at least to give them a heads up about what you did and that they could be contacted.

It is not that they will give you negative review otherwise, but it is more polite and respectful towards them. If you are asking them to recommend you the least you can do is to notify them before you do so.

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It is extremely unusual for a company to follow up with (or request) references until the very final stages of making an offer.

Your first response to a request for references early in the process is to get back to the company and say "I don't wish to give references until much later, because I don't want my company to find out I'm looking for a job". This is absolutely normal. If they want references up front, see if they will agree not to contact them until you have an almost final job offer. That's also perfectly normal.

If they absolutely want some references now, try giving them some references from previous companies, and say you will give them ones from your company later. If that's still not acceptable, then see if they will take references from colleagues (who will agree not to tell the company) rather than managers or the company itself.

If none of the above are acceptable (and that would make your new company extremely unusual) you will have to decide if letting the company know you are job hunting is worth the possibility of getting this job.

Definitely and always you should check with your referees that they are OK with giving you a reference. The only thing worse than having your company find out that you are job hunting because you ask for a reference is having someone ask for a reference without you warning them.

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