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I am currently employed, and I am looking for a new job in the coming months. Many offers (on job search websites such as monster etc.) are actually posted not by the companies, but by recruitment agencies, and I get just a one-sentence description of the company. Many of them are variations of something that could apply to my current job ("multinational company whose products are used in many environments" etc.). How can I be sure I don't accidentally apply to my current company and blow my job hunt? Is there even a way? Currently I'm just avoiding the agency that landed me my current job, but I'm really paranoid. We are open for positions all the time, so checking current job offers doesn't help.

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How about asking the recruiter not to send your resume to your own company? I see no reason why they would refuse such a reasonable request.

Now if you are so paranoid to think that they might still screw this up, then well, hate to break it to you, but there is always the risk of your employer finding out about your secret jobhunt, no matter what means you choose.

You will have to either get over your paranoia or stop looking for a job. By the way, nearly everyone goes on a jobhunt secretly (unless they are unemployed, of course). The world seems to go round just about fine for all of them. Don't overthink this.

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    Your recruiter is almost certainly not an idiot and will not want to put you in for a job at your own company. – DJClayworth May 24 '15 at 18:36
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    Well, I guess that my bad experiences with the revious recruiter made me forget that they're not against me. :-) – Erik Ambrož May 24 '15 at 18:59
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    I don't know, the best one we ever had was when we received a CV from a recruiter for a guy we were planning to fire! True story! :) – Jane S May 24 '15 at 22:10
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    @JaneS Human errors cannot be completely eliminated. However, explicitly telling someone that this is important can reduce the chances of that happening. My claim here is not "if you do this, you will never have a problem", but more of "this is a good thing to do, try it". ;-) – Masked Man May 26 '15 at 16:31
  • +1. What your boss can do? fire you? You are free to seek another job and in general your boss should wait until he finds a replacement or offer you a raise – jean Jul 24 '18 at 16:33
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I'm afraid it's almost impossible. Sure, you can avoid the agency that helped you get your current job, but that's not enough. Some companies that use recruiters ask to disclose their name only during the interview, some prefer anonimicy until the last moment.

In my case I prefer to apply for positions where the name of the company is known from the beginning, or to ask my contacts for tips or referrals. If a position I like is posted by a recruiting agency, I google them, as many like to say who are (some of) their past or present clients.

If I get and interview with a recruiter or a consulting company, I ask if they can disclose who the client is. Most of the times they tell me. If they don't, well, that could raise a red flag for me, or at least make me suspicious. If that's the case I don't press further and let the process go on.

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    They do not have to disclose the client to you. You can tell them that you are secretly job hunting and that the vacancy should not be for your company. – Jan Doggen May 24 '15 at 15:44
  • True. IMO I like to do that so a) I show interest in the position and b) can do my homework and find about them as much as I can. I wouldn't like to be in a company that is worse than the one I left or to waste time and resources if I'm not intrested. Plus, I'd like to leave a good impression. – Trickylastname May 24 '15 at 16:09
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It's common to ask an employment agency not to send your resume to your current employer. I suppose they might make a mistake and do it anyway, but hey, someone might overhear you talking on the phone, your boss may play golf with the person you interviewed with at another company, etc etc. There's no way to guarantee 100% secrecy.

Once when I was involved in hiring someone we got a stack of resumes from an agency where they did not include the names, I presume to avoid exactly this problem. Nevertheless, my boss passed one resume to me and asked, "Hey, what do you think of this one?" The resume sounded an awful lot like one of our current employees, from the same school and year of graduation, general description of his experience, description of his current employer that sounded an awful lot like us, etc. In that case he was a real problem employee so we were laughing and saying how much we hoped he found another job so we wouldn't have to fire him.

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