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I am applying for a job at a new organisation. As part of my current role, I have a meeting with someone at that organisation, who may be involved with selecting candidates.

I'm concerned that, if I don't declare upfront that I'm applying, I may be perceived as trying to get an unfair advantage over other candidates.

Is there something that I'm overlooking in this context or that might come around and bite me, if I did declare myself upfront?

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If people from your current company will be at that meeting, or people who could talk to your current company will be at that meeting. You need to be extra careful, otherwise you will be telling your current company that you are on the way out the door, before you even had an interview.

If this will be a one-on-one meeting, you will be able to talk to them a little easier. But you will have to decide if telling them does actually give you an unfair advantage. Keep in mind that other candidates might also have a relationship with the new company or could have even be recommended by employees with the new company.

It will also depend on how confident you are in the possibility that they will be the one making that decision. You question implies that your aren't 100% certain. So plan what you are going to say, because they could react in a number of ways: have no idea what your are talking about; deny their involvement; talk about the position and process; misunderstand and then ask their company to request a new contact because you are leaving.

Suggestions:

  • If you haven't actually submitted the application then wait until after the meeting if that won't make you miss the deadline.

  • If you have submitted the paperwork, or have to submit the paperwork because of a deadline; then you might be able to avoid the topic but be prepared that the new company might bring it up.

  • If you are 100% certain that the person is involved, try and talk to them before the meeting. That will also allow them to understand the situation before the meeting takes place.

My gut feeling would be to try the middle option. Be prepared, but unless their email is the same email you submitted the paperwork to, you can't worry about it.

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I would discuss this with whoever you submitted the application to. There's no way to ask the person at the target company whether to discuss this or not without discussing it, and all you know is that the person "may be involved" in evaluating candidates. Anyone who is trusted with that responsibility can also be trusted not to blurt out details of your plans to your current employer, so there's no real need for you to talk to this person first.

I don't think anyone there will say "this candidate is excellent, and one of our evaluators has even met with this candidate in a professional capacity and was impressed, but you know that's kind of an unfair advantage isn't it, so let's hire another candidate who is not as good." But if you are worried, you could let the person you applied to reassure you about that. It isn't going to help your prospects, your current employer, or the firm you hope will be your new employer for you to miss this meeting, so you just want to make sure nobody thinks you are sneaky.

And finally, in the meeting, do a great job for your current employer. The slightest hint of "wink-wink nudge-nudge I'm sure we can give you generous terms" and the new people won't hire you and the old ones won't want you any more either.

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