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I am employed in a technical capacity for a big company. I am displeased about certain aspects of my work so I decided to try and find a new job. While Job hunting I was interviewed for a huge corporation. I made it to the last step of the interview process but at the end did not get an offer. No interview feedback was given by the company.

A few days ago my manager called me into a room, looked me straight in the eye and said "don't worry about it but I know you are interviewing". He was actually very cool about it and wasn't angry. He named another manager in our company which got a phone call from an acquaintance who is working for the corporation I was interviewing with and that acquaintance asked questions about me. I cannot be sure but it sounded like it was an "unofficial" call between them (i.e. not a company officially contacting another company) ,however, as my manager said to me, "your cover is blown".

I was shocked and embarrassed but mostly just very angry. My manager was also shocked at this breach of trust and unprofessional behavior. It should be noted I never gave anyone permission to talk to my current employer.

My reputation at my current employer is now tarnished, I have no idea who else in the company knows about this.

More than anything I want to find out who did such a thing and tell his employer that this person acts this way (because, as I wrote, it might be just 2 buddies talking) and if there is anything legal that can be done about it.

I have the email address of the HR person who I was in touch with throughout my interviews. Should I contact him and demand an explanation? Contact someone else?

I have a feeling, since the company I interviewed with is a famous one, that this could make some waves however I don't want my name published because of this. That would be the worst outcome of this.

What to do?

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    The only way you could have avoided the situation was not to indicate whom your employer was. Sounds like the person knew a contact in your company. You can’t avoid personal networks. There is nothing illegal about networking outside of your company... – Donald Mar 23 at 5:19
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    Paragraphs would be amazing here. – Gregory Currie Mar 23 at 6:36
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    What is your desired outcome here? We can't offer advice without knowing what your end goal here is. – Gregory Currie Mar 23 at 6:37
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    I assume when your manager "was also shocked at this breach of trust and unprofessional behavior" that means the behaviour of the other company contacting him, not yours for looking for a new job. – gnasher729 Mar 23 at 11:58
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    @GregoryCurrie You have enough rep to have edited them in. – user1602 Mar 23 at 12:49
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Your manager seems to be fine with the situation, joking about it. He seems to understand that it is normal that people look for other positions, and he also seems that it is absolutely NOT normal for another company to contact the current company as they did.

As far as your current company is concerned, everything seems fine. For the new company, what they did is not illegal but extremely bad manners. You can ask to talk to their head of HR, and explain to them what happened, and that under these circumstances there is no way you would ever consider working for them, and that you would recommend to anyone not to apply for a job with them. There is a tiny, tiny chance that whoever contacted your company gets into a little bit of trouble for that. That's the best you can hope for.

  • I would recommend that the OP let it go. There's no benefit to getting the "leaker" in trouble and it may backfire and cause bad feelings against the OP among the network of people that person knows. – teego1967 Mar 23 at 12:53
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    @teego1967 Contacting the current employer is disgustingly bad behaviour. The "network of people" he knows will not be happy with him. – gnasher729 Mar 23 at 13:02
  • @teego1967 I agree that the goal shouldn't be to get the chatty manager in trouble. Chances are they had no idea what they were doing and didn't mean any harm. But OP should flag this to the company they interviewed at, since this is a very bad thing to do and this chatty manager needs to know that. If OP doesn't manage to change jobs, this could really hold him back at his current company. Big projects, opportunities for growth,... the fact that OP is unhappy and wants to leave will stay in the back of OP's manager's head and probably influence him a bit, even if subconsciously. – MlleMei Mar 24 at 0:30
  • @MlleMei If a manager doesn't know how bad it is to contact an applicants company without permission then they shouldn't be a manager. OP's own manager called it "breach of trust and unprofessional behaviour". I'd get that manager in as much trouble as I could - which is unfortunately not much most likely. – gnasher729 Mar 24 at 8:00
  • @gnasher729 Him being a manager or not is irrelevant here. And OP shouldn't focus on whether or not the chatty employee will get in trouble. He should send an e-mail to that company so that they can handle it, but then OP should let it go and not let this eat at him. Because he will never know if/how that employee was reprimanded, and there's also nothing more OP could do. So best to focus on other things, like his job search, instead of focusing on a vendetta OP can't even start. – MlleMei Mar 24 at 8:14
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What to do?

That really depends on what you want to achieve. What is your goal?

  • Your manager already knows about it and is cool with it, so you are generally okay.
  • Don't consider your reputation to be tarnished: it's perfectly normal and acceptable to look around.
  • Since the cat is out of the bag already, you might as well talk with your manager about why you consider alternative roles. There may be easy things you or your manager can do to make you happier with your current job or career path.
  • The behavior of the other employer is entirely unacceptable and unprofessional. However, it can't be undone and there really isn't a lot they can do to make it up to you.
  • I'd still would write a professional but strongly worded e-mail to the recruiter and head of H&R (if you can find out the e-mail address). Something like

Dear Sir or Madam, I recently interviewed for a position at your company and I wanted to thank you for consideration. However, I found to my dismay that your company contacted my current employer about me without my knowledge, consent, or permission. As you can imagine, this has put me in a rather awkward position with my manager. I would strongly encourage you to revisit your recruiting policies or at least inform an applicant before you reach out to the current employer. The candidate needs a chance to withdraw their application if needed to protect their confidentiality.

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