Many of my coworkers all worked for the same employer previously. That employer is now hiring. Knowing that my coworkers are still in contact with some current employees of that company, how can I apply with minimal risk that my coworkers will be informed that I applied? Is it appropriate to list your current employer as confidential on your resume and just list duties performed?

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    Why are you worried about your co workers finding out? what is the problem you want to avoid but haven't explained? – Pepone Jan 6 '16 at 21:48
  • @Pepone so you like having the people you work with know that you are looking for a new job? – jmorc Jan 6 '16 at 22:22
  • Unless you have a toxic work place I don't see the issue – Pepone Jan 6 '16 at 22:52
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    "Unless you have a toxic work place I don't see the issue" Strange, I would think if it is toxic work place then there is no issue because you are leaving anyway. My coworkers are more-or-less my friends. If I plan to leave, and they somehow know, I'd feel like betrayal my friends, especially if I wasn't able to make the move in the end, :-(. Interested to know that different people think differently. – grn Jan 7 '16 at 2:46
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    @grn: that implies that it is a betrayal when your coworkers leave.... are you sure you're friends with these people? Feeling betrayed because they are looking to better their lives? – jmoreno Jan 8 '16 at 6:25

First off, no one is going to take you seriously if you choose to withhold your employer's name. You can choose to lie about it, but that might come back to haunt you later in the interview process.

If you're applying through a recruiter you may wish to explain the situation to them.

Also keep in mind that not just anyone gets to look at the resume's which are handed in for a position, especially in the early stages. It's later, when you're being interviewed by multiple department members, that some information might leak out.

However by that point you will have had contact with them and be able to explain the situation / ask for discretion.

Unfortunately what you have to understand is that there can be no guaranteed of this information not leaking out. All it takes is for one person who is friends with one of your coworkers to pick up the phone and informally laugh it up with their buddy that you're coming to work for them.

You're taking a minor risk, and that's pretty much the long and short of it.


You don't mention your industry. In software development, I would expect HR and some managers would handle the process and your current coworkers would almost certainly be unaware of what was happening. But I know in the restaurant business, people do get calls like "hey, guess what? Person A who works with you applied to work here. What are they like? Would you recommend them?" However generally such people don't then go to their boss and say "looks like Person A is thinking of moving on, I heard they applied to my old place." People are more mobile, they move from job to job, and networking serves a lot of functions. That tends to be offset by people granting you more privacy.

Your only safe thing to do is to arrange a quick chat with the relevant coworkers and ask for their help. Ask them not to tell your current management, saying that you would rather deal with that yourself once you have a new job. Also ask them to put in a good word for you with their former employer. They are likely to be flattered by this request, increasing the chances they'll agree.

Yes, there's a chance they'll run straight to your current boss and tattle on you. But you're leaving anyway, so the impact of this will not really be huge. I think it's a risk worth taking.


Why are you worried that your current coworkers will find out?

Anyway your application is not widely distributed and also only distributed to HR and people doing the hiring. They are obliged not to pass on applications as that may give you are unfair advantage/disadvantage.

So in summary just apply to the role as if it was any other role that you would apply for. I think you are over thinking the situation.

  • Why am I worried my coworkers will find out? Most people do not want their current employer to know that they are job hunting... – jmorc Jan 6 '16 at 22:21
  • @jmore - They will find out sooner or later. It may even open up a discussion as to why you want to leave and hence my rectify the situation and might end up with staying in the current role – Ed Heal Jan 6 '16 at 22:24
  • Also if your current employer knows you are looking for a new job they can make preparations. This might be useful if you would prefer to leave without having to work the full notice period. – Ed Heal Jan 6 '16 at 22:28
  • @EdHeal It could be awkward if the OP decided to stay with the current employer. – Patricia Shanahan Jan 6 '16 at 23:00
  • @PatriciaShanahan - I am of the opinion that when somebody is actively looking for another job there is something wrong with the current role. Either the current job has to change (usually very unlikely) or the person will eventually leave. – Ed Heal Jan 6 '16 at 23:03

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