Confidential Job Search Tips for Undercover Candidates

By Calco Services

Share on: 

Imagine if everyone in the world were required to only work for one company their entire lives.

We’d work with the same people, which could be nice, but that also means that we wouldn’t work with anyone new or expand our professional minds by learning new, outside perspectives.

There would be a limit on all of our careers because, let’s face it, there are only so many seats at the top of any organisation.

We’d reach the pinnacle of our performance in the role at around year 5 or 7. Maybe 15 or 20 for those who have been promoted to one of few spots available. Those internal opportunities would naturally only open as the company expands or once someone retires.

Fortunately, that’s not the case in the world we live in today. As a professional, you have the freedom to work with many different companies, explore new projects, and search for the employment opportunities that interest you. Whatever your reason is for wanting to look into a new employer, you have the freedom to do so.

As an employed professional, or what we at Calco like to call an “undercover candidate,” your job search strategy will need to differ from the traditional methods since your employer finding out could mean an early exit from your current company.

Here’s some advice to help you successfully search for a new opportunity, while retaining your confidentiality.

1. Separate your search from your workplace – completely.

Create a new email address that you conduct all employment-related correspondenceon. It is not uncommon for companies to monitor their employees’ emails. If for no other reason, do this to avoid sending an email about your change in employment to “Michael, your current boss” instead of “Michael, your recruiter.” Using your current employer as leverage in the negotiation only works if you’re employed.

Do not schedule job interviews during work hours. Even phone calls during lunch should be avoided if your colleagues are used to seeing you eat lunch onsite or in your office.

Don’t research employers or related plans on your work computer, such as a new city. As you’re working, it’s best to keep your mind on the project at hand. Some employers monitor computers and searches and could become suspicious if they begin to see this type of activity on your browser history.

Aside from removing the risk that your employer will find out that you’re considering other opportunities from your computer activity, one of the most prevalent reasons for keeping your research separate is psychological. If you would like to leave your current employer on good terms and with your professional reputation intact, then giving off the impression in your last weeks that you’re apathetic toward your work or distracted could be the one they are left with by the time you start a new role.

2. Utilise a niche recruitment agency as your gate keeper.

Employers use recruitment agencies to screen a large quantity of applications down to just the few they’re interested in speaking with, but did you know that those same gate keepers can benefit you as a candidate?

Generalist recruitment agencies that work in a variety of industries may be hiring for a relevant position on the off chance that their clients have a need, but specialist or “niche” recruitment agencies make it their business to work with clients in their niche. What this means for you as an employed professional or “passive candidate,” is that your information and job search activity is kept confidential between you, the recruiter, and the people who are directly involved in the hiring process at the employer you’d like to interview with.

Working confidentially with a recruiter that specializes in your industry is a way to discuss your options with someone who’s directly connected to the decision makers at a variety of employers. A recruitment agency is also required to keep your information private which eliminates the risk of your current employer finding out.

3. Network for information first, job leads later.

Instead of asking people in your online networks who’s hiring or scouring the internet for job postings, focus on gathering information about the market first. For some professionals, right now is the perfect time to make a move to a different company or position. For others, a change in their career path is too far of a jump from how they are feeling in their current role.

To test the waters instead of diving in with a formal interview or application, speak with a recruiter first to learn about the current opportunities out there in your market for someone with your skillset, professional history, and desired compensation range.

There are tech recruiters, healthcare recruiters, recruiters that focus on creative careers and other specialists in a variety of fields. At Calco Services, we specialise in the construction and built industry, particularly Quantity Surveying, which enables us to keep up to date and in touch with all the current and planned activity as it regards construction in the greater London area. Instead of spending the time to learn a little about a lot of different industries, our specialisation allows us to focus on being experts in the industry that we recruit in.

The same benefit can be found in working with niche recruitment agencies in other sectors. If you’re a nurse, then reaching out to a recruitment agency that works with only hospitals and health care businesses for information will be a more efficient use of your time than sending emails off to a generalist recruiter who’s unlikely to be able to help you in your search.


As an undercover candidate, you should still be out there networking, but discreetly, and in confidential circles rather than openly on the market or to someone who isn’t secured to keep your information confidential.


When it comes to searching for a new job, remember: not all rewards require risk.


For over 25 years, Calco Services has placed driven construction professionals in a wide range of roles throughout England.

If you’re looking to make your next career move, or simply would like to discuss your options with one of our specialist recruiters who can provide you with advice and insight into the current market, then get in touch. We’d be happy to help you in your journey.

020 8655 1600


Learn more about Social Hire

The Social Hire team never just do social media marketing.

What the Social Hire gang loves is making a difference for our clients, and we don't want to waste your, or our resources on campaigns that aren't right for your organisation, if it doesn't get your organisation the difference you need - we prefer a better approach. When your business utilises social media management, Social Hire get your brand the exposure it needs and offer your business the lift it needs to improve.

Isn't it time to stop making difficult personnel choices that don't work well for your online marketing?

The social media marketers in our company are the best in the business at helping our partners enhance their online marketing. We outline and implement cutting-edge social media marketing plans that help our customers realise their organisational objectives and further their social media presence. Our experienced team of digital experts do your social media strategy creation and management in an uncomplicated monthly plan that is cost-effective and is genuinely useful, whatever results you demand from your marketing team.

We're an organisation that helps our clients boost their social media marketing by offering social media marketing on a monthly basis.

You might like these blog posts 6 Reasons Why Every Small Business Needs Content Marketing, Why do Facebook ads work for small businesses?, Social Media Marketing: The 4 Steps Small Businesses Must Embrace, and 5 Rockstar Companies That Are Killing it in Employee Appreciation.

  Back to Candidate blogs