Confidentiality is defined as “the state of being kept secret or private” and is often a critical component of the hiring process. By its very nature, the concept of confidentiality is a tough subject to work around, however, the reality of certain hiring situations requires discretion. One of the reasons that employers hire recruiters is that the employer wants to keep the search strictly confidential. On occasions such as this, we are asked to keep the hiring company confidential as we conduct our search so as not to disclose confidential information. This confidentiality can be driven by a variety of reasons but is most often based on issues related to timing. For example, a company may be making some strategic moves – think mergers or acquisitions – that are not yet ready for public consumption. Or, the hiring manager could be quietly looking to replace an under-performing employee or expecting a big change up in leadership. Any number of reasons such as this could be the impetus for keeping a job under the radar.

We fully understand that not having all the facts on the table can be frustrating – particularly in the highly emotional times of job seeking. However, the reality is, this is an early stage condition. The company details will be revealed when the time is right. If it comes to the point where the company is serious, you will be given all the relevant information so that you may do your due diligence and research the role and the hiring entity. This usually occurs after the employer has selected the right candidates and the interview process begins. Patience, as always, remains a virtue in the job search.

Now, you may find yourself trying to figure out who the hiring client may be, it’s human nature to fill in the blanks or complete the puzzle. And while it is fine to use your investigative instinct to try and guess the client, here’s what NOT to do – circumvent the process. Or contact any of the parties involved besides your lead recruiter. While it may seem like a good idea to reach out to the company directly on your own, remember that they chose to work with an agency for very specific reasons. And you could be wrong. On top of that, it’s unethical to do so, as companies have put their trust in the process and asked for confidentiality of the recruiting team. Finally, if you choose to ignore this advice and decide to circumvent the process, be aware that hiring managers will likely be forced to disqualify you because you took it upon yourself to work outside of the system. It suggests that you are someone who fails to play by the rules and or believes in process. So, don’t do it. Work with the recruiters who are serving as representatives of the company, who know the procedures in place, and take care of all the details and processes.

One final thing to note with your job search, or with any professional dealings you may have related to jobs: always work with professional, reputable recruiters. “Shady” recruiting agencies certainly exist, and there is no doubt that some companies recruit on positions without the express permission of the employers. The moral of the story? Work with recruiters you know, trust and who have established ties to the local community and employers that operate in it. With stable, long-term relationships in place, you will come to trust in their judgment and advice.

So next time you come across a confidential search, ask smart questions of your recruiters and do your due diligence, but be sure to realize that confidentiality matters. And trust Masiello as employers and workers have for decades as this trust has been earned through hard work and maintaining strict confidentiality, when necessary, for candidates and employers alike.