I am looking for either a more senior or similar role in a bigger company. All our competitors would be happy to have me. Some of our biggest customers also approached me. And some of our partners, including one of the biggest companies on the planet, are also interested in both my technical expertise and business network.
I don't want to lose my job if I am not 100% happier with the next one. This might take multiple conversations over the next few months, until I get the right environment and opportunity.
It's a small world, and it's very likely that any competitor, customer or partner will be in contact with a manager or colleague at my current company at some point. My expectation is that the hiring manager will eventually check internally "hey, did your department work with this company in the past? Do you know this guy?". What level of confidentiality should I expect in my job search? Or, should I expect that once I start interviewing, my employer will know?