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On online job portals, I can see a few positions that match my skillset and pay at par with what I get now. I’m quite OK with the current position I have, but my interview skills are getting rusty at best.

I was planning to brush up my skills and see if I can at least clear the tech screens. In a worst case: I get to the AA, ask for 20% more than what I'm earning now and they'll reject me.

The thing is that the company name is confidential. And looking at the tools used, it just might be the company I work for currently (they are continuously recruiting to keep up with attrition). As you imagine, this could end up being awkward. How is such a scenario usually handled?

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    This is a very good question. And I cannot think of a good way to avoid a situation like this. – JakeGould May 22 '14 at 21:04
  • Can you not use a different job portal? Linkedin for example has alot of job ads and the names are open. – Fredrik May 23 '14 at 8:29
  • Would it be possible to contact a headhunter and let them handle the selection? – rath May 23 '14 at 13:30
  • Who is the contact company? A recruiter? If not, how do you actually apply? – DJClayworth May 23 '14 at 17:01
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The thing is that the company name is confidential. And looking at the tools used, it just might be the company I work for currently (they are continuously recruiting to keep up with attrition). As you imagine, this could end up being awkward. How is such a scenario usually handled?

I initially commented that I could not think of a good way to avoid a situation like this, but I think I have a possible solution. The key is not your resume, but your cover letter.

Basically, in your cover letter you are supposed to articulate why you want to leave a current position. Instead, perhaps you can spin the cover letter to say something like, “I really enjoy the position I have right now. And feel confident in the organization I am in. But I would like to informationally explore what other options there are for me in this field.”

By phrasing it like that you are basically stating, “I like my job. I like what I do. I like who I work for. But I am also curious about the larger world.”

Now mind you this might all backfire. Your current employers could simply see the act of you applying for any position as a sign of your desire to leave the company. But I think this way you reseat the concept of wanting to interview because you are “rusty” into more of a curiosity angle. Where you are simply interested in the larger world of your career to begin with.

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    This cover letter screams “I don't care about your job” to me. And the corollary “don't waste your time interviewing me”. – Gilles May 24 '14 at 8:13
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    @Gilles If you have a better idea post one, but most professionals understand the value of an informational interview. Cheers! – JakeGould May 24 '14 at 14:58
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Put your resume up on the job boards, keep it regularly updated and let them come to you instead of you coming to them. If your employer objects - and it shouldn't because it's none of its business, tell your employer that you've always done it as part of due diligence to make sure that your skills are relevant, that you want to find what new skills to acquire and that much as you like your employer, your employer can't guarantee you lifetime employment.

As for making sure that you don't inadvertently run into your employer when you initiate contact. the best thing is to get your hands on their actual job ads, so that you can recognize them from a mile away from the way they're written.

Recruiters, at least on Craigslist, tend to use an impersonal form such as "a firm is looking for..." and a few use "our client is looking for...". Hitting a recruiter is pretty safe because they understand that part of their success derives from confidentiality. In fact, you should consider working through recruiters precisely because of that guarantee of confidentiality.

If you are doing your own leg work, the safest thing is, of course, to contact only those who have identified themselves or to directly check the websites of those companies you are interested in.

Recruiters have contacted me on Linkedin and at least in my case, Linkedin itself does a pretty good job of forwarding to me who interested in filling what positions. The catch, of course, is that you gotta keep your Linkedin profile up to date.

  • Wouldnt having an updated resume on job boards be a red flag to your current company? – user87166 Jun 1 '14 at 10:10
  • @user87166 You manage this red flag by ASSERTING that you are keeping your resume up to date as a matter of course and that keeping your resume up to date reflects neither satisfaction nor dissatisfaction with anyone. It does reflect your desire to stay sharp and competitive as you have learned the hard way that you can't depend on anyone to provide you with lifetime employment no matter how well intentioned that someone is. Keeping your resume on the boards even after you are hired is like sleeping with one eye open and you have a responsibility to yourself to sleep with one eye open. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jun 1 '14 at 12:07
  • Bad advice, don't put your CV on a job board unless you have exhausted other options. Filtering jobs yourself is more efficient, recruiters just use a keyword search to match applicants to roles very rarely do they bring anything beneficial to the table. Based on my own experience you will a) Get plagued constantly day / night by emails / phone calls from recruiters about jobs that are outside of your search scope. b) Your current employer will find it suspicious that your CV is active on a job board. c) Recruiters will submit you for roles without your consent. – Stormy Dec 29 '14 at 10:55
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The company name isn't something that can be made "confidential" in the official/binding sense. It's recorded in public records, and any applicant for the position will learn the actual company name as a matter of course. So I think what you mean is that the company name is "not listed as part of the job posting" rather than "confidential".

So it's likely that if you were to submit an inquiry asking to know what company you'd actually be working for if you were to get this position, they'd simply tell you. You could set up a free e-mail account using just your initials (or a pseudonym, if you really want to take it to extremes; or a pseudonym and do the whole process using Tor, for the truly paranoid), and submit something along the lines of:

Hello, I noticed the position that you had posted on [wherever] and believe based upon my past experience and skillset that I would be a very strong candidate for this role. However, as a matter of personal policy I do not submit applications without knowing the full details of the job I am applying for or the company I am applying to.

Can you please provide some further background details about this position and the company I would be working for if I were to receive this job?

At worst, they'll just ignore your inquiry. And at best, you'll get sufficient details to conclusively determine if the posting was put up by your current company or not, so that you can proceed accordingly.

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If it were me in this situation I'd just use headhunters (who are usually responsible for putting up most IT jobs on boards anyway).

Just contact whoever posted the job and find out what company they work for. Odds are that they are a recruiter. Then you can just explain that you don't want to apply for a job at xyz company, which is where you already work. If it turns out that the job was actually posted by an internal recruiter for your company, ask a few questions and them politely terminate the conversation. Problem solved.

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