‘A recruiter informed my boss that I’m looking for another job’

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Whisper

If you’re a candidate applying for a job through a recruitment firm, it’s your worst nightmare -- somehow your boss finds out that your CV is circulating the market. Thereafter, your disloyalty is rewarded with no promotions, no pay rises and the risk of redundancy.

Fortunately, this happens rarely. But it does happen sometimes. One candidate got in touch with the following story. What would you advise that she does next?

“I work in research in an investment bank and want to move into sales. In February 2013, I applied for two sales jobs, both through separate recruitment agencies. I wasn’t totally serious - I just wanted to gauge the level of interest in someone with my background.

I didn’t get the jobs in sales and thought nothing of it. A few months later, we had some roles to fill in our research team. My boss got in touch with one of the recruitment agencies I’d been in touch with and asked if they could help identify a few research candidates. In the course of these conversations, one of the recruiters mentioned that he’d placed a few people who’d left our company and had even seen several CVs from people on the team.

Most of these CVs were from people who’d already left, but one was mine. Somehow, my boss was then able to elicit from the recruiter that I’d applied for a job, that the job was in sales and that I was interested in moving on. It’s not clear whether the recruiter was aware that I still worked there, but he divulged my name.

None of this was actually mentioned to me. I’m only aware of it because another colleague told me that my boss had been in discussions with HR about my applications. It seems that they decided not to pursue the matter with me because they didn’t think I’d get the job in sales and they already had gaps in research and didn’t want to create another one.

I took the matter up with the recruiters concerned, who apologized. But my problem now is this – I’m still working for the same company and seem to be going nowhere. A promotion I thought I was due has yet to appear and I’m not hopeful I’ll get a bonus. I’m stuck on a knife edge in a job that seems to have no future. At the same time, my company won’t trust me with key work because they fear I’m about to walk out the door.

At the same time, my trust in recruitment firms has been shattered. Even if I trust an individual recruiter, how do I know that his colleague won’t divulge my identity once my CV is in their database?

I don’t feel that I can trust recruiters. I don’t feel that I can stay where I am. Any suggestions?”

You are invited to add your (helpful) advice in the comment box below.

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