A reader writes:
How confidential is the whole application process? My issue is the following: I would like to apply for a job posting, and through linkedin I was able to find out who the hiring manager is and I found out that they have a direct connection with my current supervisor. Obviously, I would not want it to get back to my supervisor that I am job seeking. Is this anything I need to worry about?
Maybe. It depends on how well they know each other, which you probably can't tell from Linked In.
If I get a resume from someone who used to work for someone I know but doesn't currently, I'm going to call my contact and ask about them. (I want to know if they're great, if they're crazy, etc.) If I get a resume from someone who currently works for someone I know, I'm going to keep it quiet, because I don't want to jeopardize someone's current employment (and if this is someone I end up wanting to hire, I certainly don't want them hating me for outing them to their boss).
But not everyone plays by these rules. There are undoubtedly people who would call up the contact -- especially (and maybe only) if they're close -- and say, "Hey, guess what, Susan Jones is looking."
So there's some element of risk. On the other hand, there's always that risk. You've probably sent off plenty of other resumes without worrying about whether they'll end up with someone who happens to know your boss, but it's always possible. You just happen to know about the connection in advance this time.
But another option, if you wanted to be super cautious, would be to call the hiring manager and say you're applying for a position with her, saw that she knows your current boss, and would appreciate her discretion in regard to your application because your boss doesn't yet know that you're looking. All but the biggest jerks will honor a direct request like that. Good luck!