I am looking emailing a recruiter from another company (in the same industry), seeing if I am eligible to apply for a position advertised.

The two companies are in the same industry, and the company I am looking at applying for is actually contracted out to my current company.

I worry if it is acceptable to tell the recruiter to 'keep it confidential between us', as I do not want my current employer to know that I am looking for a new position with another company.

How can I professionally convey this request in an email? I'd hate to sound too needy or awkward.

  • 1
    I'd say yes, it is acceptable (at least understandable from your part given this situation). The thing here is if the recruiter will agree to such thing (most reasonable ones would).
    – DarkCygnus
    Nov 27, 2017 at 23:58
  • I wholeheartedly agree with DarkCygnus.
    – Bluebird
    Nov 28, 2017 at 0:01
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    Not disclosing the candidate's job search adventures to their current employers is pretty much the default mode in which recruiters operate. Is there some reason why you believe this recruiter wouldn't do so?
    – Masked Man
    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:11
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    It might be a better idea to not engage with this recruiter if you suspect they would be so unprofessional as to gossip about a candidate's job search. In any case, if they are the type that would gossip about what should be a confidential matter, then writing them an email isn't going to help prevent it.
    – Masked Man
    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:16
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    The interview process involves more employees from a company than just the recruiter. I think it's less about what the recruiter will tell anyone from your company and more about what any other employee of the new company will say (accidentally or on purpose), as well as the agreement between the two companies possibly involving sharing this information or preventing you from working there. I'm not saying you shouldn't apply, but there's definitely a bigger-than-usual risk of your current employer finding out, and it can't really be mitigated. Nov 28, 2017 at 9:56

2 Answers 2


Good [Time of day] [Name of Recruiter],

I wanted to reach out to you in regards to [position of interest] at [company of interest]. I've taken a look at the job description and I think I would be an excellent fit for the role. I was wondering if you had a moment to talk over the phone regarding the position and see if we can set something up.

Given the nature my current position, I ask if you would kindly exercise caution and discretion regarding this with my employer.

Thank you. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely Yours,

[Your Name]


[your text] ... I trust you handle this application / inquiry with the appropriate level of confidentiality.

No risk of sounding needy, it is your right that your application be treated confidential! Should there be any damages to your reputation with your current employer, because the requiter told them, he would probably be liable for those, under most jurisdictions.

  • 1
    I like the suggested phrasing, but can you quote some sources on the claim that candidates have a legal right to confidentiality? I very much doubt that's the case. Recruiters and companies generally won't share this information because it's presumably in their best interest not to, but if it's one of their partners it might not be in their best interest any more. Nov 28, 2017 at 10:02
  • @Dukeling: At least in the EU, there are data protection laws that forbid you to share personal information with third parties (which the name of the person applying is). In Germany there is a fine of up 50.000€ on this. Then, there is the question of liabilities for actions that harm others (loss of job) especially when you where warned about those (request to handle confidentially) In Germany that would be § 823 BGB
    – Daniel
    Nov 28, 2017 at 12:49
  • I can´t speak for other countries but I believe knowingly causing harm or loss to another person is legislated similarly in most developed countries. Not a lawyer though. Note the probably and the most jurisdictions in my OP?
    – Daniel
    Nov 28, 2017 at 12:54

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