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I work in company A, and I was interviewing for company B. Company A and B have no ties whatsoever.

After an initial interview with the HR, she informed me that the department manager (company B) would contact me about a technical interview.

With the name of the manager, I found out that he worked a long time for a company my current CEO owned. I thought he would not disclose my application to my current company. However, I did not directly demand for it to be kept secret.

So one week after the interview, my manager and the VP (company A) told me they received information I was interviewing for other companies, and they would like to offer me a raise should I stay with them. I accepted it.

Fast forward one week, company B sent me an e-mail to discuss an offer by phone. I told them I had reached an agreement with my current employer (company A) to stay.

I felt that it would be better to disclose my refusal of the offer first hand to the VP and the manager, so I told them. They received it well. The VP said the information was only disclosed, because the CEO and him are personal friends of manager of company B.

I have read some articles, but they rarely talk about an insider of the other company leaking the information. So, I have some questions:

  • Is it a common occurrence to disclose the candidate's application to his current employer in France?
  • Are there some known precautions to reduce the risk of having your application disclosed? Maybe it is a good idea to ask for it to be kept secret?
  • Is this a situation that could be reported to HR (company B) due to some legal or ethical violation?
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    "Is it a common occurrence to disclose the candidate's application to his current employer in France?" The simple answer to that specific question is no. – Fattie Feb 1 '18 at 23:20
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    @Fattie I thought the same, but some situations recently are changing my opinion. I talked to a close friend of mine that works with me and it also happened with a colleague that left a couple of years ago. The difference however is that his name was not disclosed, they only said "someone from your company is applying for us". I find it highly unethical and unprofessional, but since in France you cannot be fired for this reason, would it be more acceptable than in the US, for example? – Adam Smith Feb 2 '18 at 7:46
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    Maybe you're right, Adam. Yes, it would be less likely in the US. – Fattie Feb 2 '18 at 13:34
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    In my opinion the manager at company B betrayed this company, since he shared information with somebody outside the company which lead to company B loosing a potential candidate, in which they already invested time. – Sascha Feb 3 '18 at 8:45
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To answer all of your questions :

  • Is it a common occurrence to disclose the candidate's application in France ?

No, definitely not. Most companies have a certain amount of rules to restrict this sort of behaviour. However, as was notted in the comments, in France it would be rather complicated to get legal action on someone disclosing this kind of information.

  • Maybe it is a good idea to ask for it to be kept secret?

Yes absolutely. Usually it shouldn't be required and your application should stay confidential. If you think it is important for it to remain secret, you should simply ask them to guarantee the confidentiality of your application.

  • Is this a situation that could be reported to HR (company B) due to some legal or ethical violation?

You could, but you probably won't get anything good from it. As I said earlier, sueing them would be very complicated and you'd have a very weak case.

  • On a side note, this kind of behaviour is usually avoided by companies that care about their reputation. If potential candidates hear that this place treats their application unprofessionally and disclose their information to others, no-one will want to work there, and clients won't want to do business with them. – everyone Feb 5 '18 at 9:03
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Let’s take the most optimistic view: The interviewer liked you, and called his friend, the CEO, that his company was close to losing an excellent employee, and that he should offer you a raise. Especially possible if he interviewed someone else whom he also would be happy to hire.

If I understand it right, you actually did benefit from the whole situation by getting a raise.

  • I do thought about this scenario, and I think it might be the reasoning of manager of company B. However, it is a big company and the decision of hiring does not fall exclusively on his arms. For example, when the HR sent me the e-mail to discuss an offer, she clearly stated she would need to get authorization to send it. It was a good outcome for me, but it could well not have been. – Adam Smith Feb 3 '18 at 11:36

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