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I've noticed that many people don't reveal where they are going until their last day at work. Some of them don't reveal it until they actually join the new place.

What is the reason people don't reveal their future employer before actually starting to work there? Is there a risk in revealing your next employer while you are still working at your previous employer for the notice period?

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  • If you feel you have to ask this question it may not be safe... It would never occur to me not to tell folks where I was going; we might be able to do business or otherwise help each other in our careers later on. – keshlam Sep 24 '15 at 20:04
  • The bad thing is the soon-to-be employee could miss an opportunity to get some insight information (eg: employee experience) from his/her future employer via his/her coworkers or their contacts. – Trickylastname Sep 25 '15 at 2:57
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Each person has their own reasons, but here are several that I've encountered for the "why some people are afraid to do this" part of your question:

  1. They are afraid their current employer might try to sabotage their new offer, perhaps through some unknown (to them and their new hiring manager) "no recruit" agreement between employers. There were several articles about this a few years ago. Here's one.
  2. They are afraid they'll get questions like "hey, do they need any more people, because I'm looking for a job too" and be caught in a dilemma of: a) seeming cold/unhelpful to current coworker or b) running afoul themselves of a non-solicitation agreement from their current employer. Once they're out the door they're less likely to get those questions.
  3. They don't want to appear to be boasting about their new job and thus putting down their current employer and their old team mates who still work there.
  4. They are in grey area of non-compete or non-solicitation agreement they don't want to give ammunition for a lawsuit.

Note that you asked the question in three slightly different ways:

  1. Is it safe to reveal?: probably yes, but since not revealing is a widespread practice, why risk it?
  2. Why do other people not reveal?: see above list, plus "pure superstition" as suggested by a commenter.
  3. Is there a risk: typically not, but see above reasons for why some people consider it so.

Personal note: Many years ago I encountered #1 and had an offer yanked. Just because the 3rd party recruiter and the person who hired you don't know about the "no recruit" agreement doesn't mean the upper management of those companies don't have a back-room deal. There's been a lot more legal fallout over this type of situation so the risk is probably less these days.

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    I'd like to add one more reason. 5. pure superstition. Anyway +1, specially for 1.. The last place I was employed in actually had that agreement, in writing, with 20+ different places. – user10483 Oct 24 '13 at 20:48
  • I'd say it's similar to the reasons one might not want to tell their ex about their new significant other. – KOVIKO Nov 12 '13 at 20:57
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    Add #6: because everyone else they've known has done the exact same thing and they think that's what they are supposed to do. – NotMe Jun 11 '15 at 20:29
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Is there a Risk?

Yes. I have personally witnessed a Boss calling an employee's new employer (who was a direct competitor) and complaining:

 "Are you stealing my people! You want to start a Talent war?"

In this case, the offer was rescinded.

How much of a risk is there? I really don't know, but why risk it? What do you gain?

One more point, with the use of LinkedIn, I have on more than one occasion not applied to a job because hiring manger knew my current boss. I had no idea what that relationship was, but I was not going to risk it.

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    AFAIK, that is illegal. – vartec Oct 25 '13 at 15:04
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    @vartec, good luck trying to prove that – Trickylastname Sep 25 '15 at 2:47
  • @Trickylastname: there is always some trace, and you never know when it'll appear. Eg. time.com/76655/google-apple-settle-wage-fixing-lawsuit And with companies getting hacked and their emails getting exposed the chances that evidence will pop up are getting event greater. – vartec Sep 25 '15 at 21:13
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For the vast majority of people there is no solid reason for not telling your current employer or coworkers.

If there were some sort of agreement between the new and the old organization to not poach employees, the new employer would have told you about it. If they didn't they would soon realize that they were wasting their time and money interviewing employees from your company.

If the current boss calls the new company and tries to sabotage your new position, that tells you that your current employer is not somebody you want to keep working for. Plus it opens the current company to a lawsuit. It also a bad sign if the new employer drops you based on a phone call from the one person has a conflict of interest regarding judging your ability to perform for the new company.

Now you have to evaluate your individual situation, you have to decide how to inform people and not sound like bragging. You have to be sensitive to your current company and their workers when telling them you are leaving, and where you are going. Also don't resign until the paperwork and background investigations have been completed.

Not telling your coworkers doesn't shield you from them trying to join you at the new company, unless you plan on dropping out of social media, and LinkedIn.

4

My experience has been that in most cases revealing your next employer is not going to be a problem, especially if both your new position and the resignation from your current one are secured in writing (that is, you have an offer and have formally accepted, and you have submitted a resignation and your current employer understands it is final).

But I know someone that is adamant about not revealing the new workplace until he is officially out of the old one, and the reason is that he doesn't want to compromise or "jinx" anything until the transition is official. He probably doesn't want to open himself to any of the risks mentioned in the other posts. In some cases it may be to simply avoid any unneeded distractions until the transition is complete.

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In my industry it's pretty common for there to be a contractual obligation not to take other employees with you when you leave.

The easiest way to avoid accusations of this is to not tell anyone where you're going. I've also heard of people being forbidden from telling others that they're on notice at all.

As for the risks of violating contractual agreements, this depends entirely on the contract and on the jurisdiction.

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    Hi OrangeDog, welcome to The Workplace! While this does answer the question, it's more likely to garner more upvote recognition if you can expand and address the "risks" section of the question. Hope this helps! :) – jmort253 Oct 27 '13 at 18:03
  • The risks of violating contractual agreements depend entirely on the contract and jurisdiction. There's not much more I can say. – OrangeDog Oct 28 '13 at 9:38
  • Well.... it's something. I added your reply into your post to see if it helps. Feel free to edit further if desired. Hope this helps! – jmort253 Oct 29 '13 at 3:48
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I know this is an old post but thought this reason might be helpful to someone else. Some people are so nosy that they will try to research your new position to figure out how much you will be making. This is typically not done out of affection for you but often because person is hoping you are not doing THAT much better than them. If your new position is working for certain government jobs, salary is public information, and the employee might simply not want people to know his/her salary.

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