[Job Filter] How can I interview with another company without my current employer knowing? Details inside.
January 25, 2010 11:41 AM   Subscribe

[Job Filter] All of my relevant experience and powerful references are with my current employer. How can I interview with another company gracefully without my current employer knowing? Details inside.

I like my current job, but I want to try interviewing at another company that doesn't know anything about me.

My current employer gave me experience in so many areas that they are the main course of my resume. Problem: Since I currently play an important role, I do not want my current employer to know about me searching elsewhere.

a) How can I go through the interview process with another company without my current employer being contacted? Should it be noted on my resume? What strategies have you used?
b) I will be forfeiting some powerful references because of this. However, because of all of the promotions I have had at my current employer, I think it will be clear how much they have valued me. Is there anything else I can do to strengthen this angle?
c) I've hired before and rarely put much emphasis on references since they can't legally tell me anything bad. If I was a candidate for hire at your company, would you not consider me without references?

Any additional advice from people who have been in this situation would be helpful.

Since this is anonymous, I can't respond. Thank you so much in advance!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I work in HR / Recruiting for a multi billion dollar public company in Chicago. During our own hiring process, we do not contact candidate references unless and until our offer of employment is accepted. Ask if that is the case....if so, much of your problem may be moot.

Also - when you fill out a job application at the time of your interview, there usually is a box or a place to note if your current employer can be contacted. In your situation, I would check 'no' and then provide further explanation during the meeting. Your situation is a fairly common one, and most people will understand your plight.
posted by mockjovial at 11:50 AM on January 25, 2010

No one is going to call your current employer, so don't worry about it.

Secure the job first.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:05 PM on January 25, 2010

In my field (academic administration) we are often asked to give a list of references with our cover letter. The way I've dealt with this situation in the past is by including these lines: "For now, I think it would be most prudent not to inform my supervisor of my application. Should I move forward in the search, I will gladly provide his name and contact information as a reference. I have included the names and contact information for three other references on the attached page."
posted by Pineapplicious at 12:10 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by Jaltcoh at 12:13 PM on January 25, 2010

I used peers who I trusted at my previous employer as references for my current job. They knew I was looking and weren't directly in my group or in my management chain, but were people I worked with regularly so knew what I was up to and capable of.

Also, have you taken any classes recently? I used my undergraduate thesis advisor for my first job out of college and my Masters advisor at my current job. I had a couple other professors I could have used alternatively if I had needed more.
posted by chiefthe at 12:48 PM on January 25, 2010

Use peers and/or trusted former managers. Do not lie about using peers - and be up-front with the person hiring/interviewing, that you are uncomfortable letting the company know you are interviewing for a position outside the organization.

This is very, very very normal.

Generally, references are checked less and less - as there have been legal situations. Many larger companies have a policy that they only give references of "person x was employed here from a to b".

posted by jkaczor at 1:36 PM on January 25, 2010

Oh - and watch for headhunters. Occasionally (I'm being nice here) they will demand your references before you even interview for a position.

Do not give them your references yet - stand your ground - if their client is interested in you, then hand over the references. Just tell them you don't want them bothered until both parties are interested in continuing.

Some headhunters attempt to use references as a potential client list and then pester them for placement opportunities.
posted by jkaczor at 1:39 PM on January 25, 2010

I just went through this with a company that did call references before making a decision about extending an offer. It was a little dicey. I ended up using one former colleague who had left the company, both my undergrad internship managers, and a professor I'd worked for during undergrad as a tutor.

It turned out, though, that I could have very easily asked at least a couple of my peers as once they found out I was leaving they opened up to me about jobs they were looking at outside. And during this same process I actually served as a (glowing) reference for another peer - and I will take it with me to the grave if he doesn't end up leaving. Your peers will in almost all cases not rat you out to your manager and they're often better equipped to comment on your skills. If you trust someone you work with, use that person.
posted by crinklebat at 9:50 PM on January 25, 2010

In your resume, do not list the references.
Do not list "References upon request" Just don't mention references, let the work fill in your details unless it's an online application where they give you the option mockjovial suggested. And, if they don't have the above mentioned option, use the option Pineapplicious gives about writing that in the comments.
Eventually, once you are offered the job and are talked about references, that could be a moment you could approach your bosses.
posted by iNfo.Pump at 5:39 AM on January 28, 2010

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