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Oftentimes employees don’t want their current employer to know they are looking at new employment opportunities; especially when they suspect that searching for a new job might cost them their old one. While you might think the easiest way to avoid having a potential future employer contact your current company is to provide them with a written statement instead of a list of names and phone numbers, it’s not the best way to start your job search, as it’s a method often used by applicants who have something to hide. Providing a prepared written statement and asking the employer not to contact the person who wrote it is something of a red flag for many hiring managers. Want to avoid sending up that red flag but still maintain job search confidentiality? Outlined below are some excellent alternatives.
Performance Reviews - Collect copies of your past performance reviews and bring them to the interview, or attach them to your resume. Let the hiring manager know that you would prefer to keep your job search private for now, and that you believe your positive performance reviews speak for themselves.
Ask a Coworker - Have a mentor or supervisor within the company that you trust to keep your job search private? Ask this person if they would be willing to provide you with a reference. If you don’t have somebody within the company to use as a professional reference, think of people who have left. Were you close to a manager or co-worker who has since left the company? Ask them to act as a reference for your performance during their time there.
Be Honest - When you go in to the interview, explain that you’re attempting to keep your job search confidential. If you must provide current employer references, ask the hiring manager to confirm them only after they have otherwise decided to offer you the job. Doing so will not reflect negatively on you according to HR representative Anne Posegate, who says up to 95% of applicants do not want their current employer contacted as part of the interview process.