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I am in my university's co-op program and I am applying for jobs through an online job database. I recently received an email saying I was selected to be interviewed. The email listed the full names of everyone who were invited including me and three other people. From their last names, they all have same nationality as mine. According to their LinkedIn profiles, they are all former or current teaching assistants (and I am not). I asked my friend about this situation, and they were surprised that they reveal other candidate's names.

I've read interview advices on books and online, and there's no such thing as "Research your competition". So, is it normal for an interview invitation to reveal all other candidates' names? Or it's something specific to co-op or job databases?

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    I would say it was a mistake on the part of the person who sent the email. If it is an automated email, I would point it out as a bug to the people who own the software. – HLGEM Sep 21 '14 at 18:28
  • Yup, point it out. But do so in a helpful polite manner, without passing judgement on them in any way, which might annoy them and be bad for you. – J Bramble Jan 30 '17 at 16:09
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There is a first time for everything, including the first time I ever heard of job candidates' names being disclosed.

The interview process is supposed to be confidential, so I don't know why the candidates' names are revealed in this case. Revealing candidates' names impinges on their privacy, on the confidentiality of the interview process, and opens the door to all sorts of improper external pressure to either push a particular candidate or to exclude a particular candidate from consideration. I know of one full professor who, upon getting wind that one of his black sheep but talented grad student was applying for a coveted position at a world class medical center, took it upon himself to write an unsolicited letter of disrecommendation to the interview committee. Not cool.

I have no idea what country you are in but the customary organizational policy in the US is to keep the interview process confidential for the reasons I mentioned above. In the United States, nobody but you and your prospective employer should know that you are applying with that prospective employer.

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    @bzjh Sounds like the person sending the mail made a (beginners?) mistake. As Viethni mentions, this is probably a break of confidentiality. You can honour the confidentiality by not researching your 'competitors'. Besides, what benefit would that be to you? – user8036 Sep 20 '14 at 17:00
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This is almost certainly a mistake. Applicants have an expectation of privacy for all sorts of very good reasons, for example if their current employer finds out they are job hunting the consequences are more likely to be negative than not.

Let's say you take one of the names on the list and find the person (or even find someone with the same name but not actually the same person). You now have the capability to do all sorts of unethical things from tipping off their current employer to threatening them to slashing the tires on their car on the morning of the interview.

I'm sure you wouldn't do those things. I know I wouldn't. But what about all the other people on that list? How desperate are some of them for this job? There's no way to know.

Personally I'd already be taking this as a reason not to go with the company (if they are this careless with your personal information here then what else can't they be trusted with?) although probably not enough of one to cancel the interview. I'd most likely politely notify them of the mistake and wait to see how they respond.

If they apologize and say they are doing something to make sure it doesn't happen again then all well and good. If they get defensive or make excuses or whatever then that's another point to consider when deciding whether to pursue a job with them.

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