Suppose a long-term employee wants to make a career move, but doesn’t want his employer to know that he’s planning to leave. How is he supposed to come up with appropriate references who won’t give away the impending career move? It’s a tough problem, but not one that’s unsolvable.
Excellent references can come from the ranks of those who have retired, recently changed jobs themselves, or moved to another location within the organization. But those aren’t the only possibilities – especially if the prospective employer wants to talk to current coworkers, superiors, and subordinates.
Remembering that the candidate is a long-term employee of many years, it is more than likely that close personal relationships will have been developed among several people who have worked with the candidate. In other words, there will be people who can safely be asked to serve as references who won’t disclose it to anyone else in the organization. It really comes down to knowing who can be trusted! Anyone with ten or more years of service with same company really shouldn’t have any trouble finding those kinds of friends who will agree to be references. People who have worked together for years and become friends should be able to ask each other for favors like this. And among long-time friends, a request for confidentiality most likely will be respected.
From the prospective employer’s point-of-view, a candidate’s request not to contact a current employer should always be honored. If it should turn out that the candidate isn’t the right person for the job, that person’s current employment should never be put at risk. The solution to the problem remains the same, however. The responsibility is still on the candidate to come up with the type of references the prospective employer wants. It may take some creativity, but it can be done. If it can’t, the prospective employer should look for someone else to fill the job.