Do recruitment agencies tell your employer you’re looking for a new job?

Are you concerned that a recruitment agency will tell your employer that you’re looking or have applied for a new job? We explain why you don’t need to be.

At Anne Corder Recruitment (ACR) we are often asked whether we will tell a candidate’s current employer that they are looking or have applied for a new job.

The candidate is understandably concerned by this. Even if they have a great relationship with their employer and are just ‘testing the market’ to see whether they could secure a new job, they don’t want their current boss to think they are not committed to their current role.

In some cases, they believe that this will sour their relationships at work or even lead to them being side-lined or overlooked for promotions or other opportunities. Or worse still, it could lead to them being made redundant or receiving a poor reference.

And sadly, there have been cases where this has happened, when a recruiter has purposefully or unwittingly informed an employer that their member of staff was looking or had applied for a new job.

But this is a highly unethical practice and is actually illegal in the UK.

Section 28 of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Business Regulations 2003 makes clear that recruitment agencies must protect the confidentiality of candidates and can’t disclose information about them without their prior consent.

There are, however, a few exceptions to the rules. Agencies are permitted to disclose information about the candidate for the purposes of finding them a job, or if there are any relevant legal proceedings involving them, or if they are a member of a professional body (the professional body can be informed).

But the regulations implicitly state that an agency can’t tell a candidate’s current employer without their consent.

This protection means that candidates only need to inform their current employer that they have been looking for another job when they receive an offer of employment from a new company.

Recruitment companies that breach the rules are likely to find themselves the subject of an investigation by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS), a government body that ensures that agencies operate fairly and within the law.

They have the power to prosecute and impose unlimited fines on those that don’t and can also apply to have agency directors banned from being company directors again if they breach the rules.

Ethical recruiters like ACR take client and employer confidentiality extremely seriously and know that their business and reputation is built on trust.

Regardless of whether a candidate was successful in securing a new job through them or not, they would never disclose details to their current employer or anyone else.

They also take their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) obligations seriously and ensure that candidates’ personal information is stored securely and used only with their permission. And they quickly act on any request from candidates to see the information held on them or have it deleted.

High quality agencies will also be members of professional bodies such as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) or the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP) that require them to comply with (and be regularly tested on) Codes of Practice or Conduct.

And the very best agencies will also be ISO 9001 certified, an international quality management standard that is focused on continual improvement based on customer needs (ACR was one of the first recruitment agencies in the UK to gain ISO accreditation and has been certified for more than 20 years).

These certifications and accreditations provide further evidence to candidates that their privacy and confidentiality will be protected, and their employer will never know that they are looking or have applied for a new position.

So, returning to the question, ‘Do recruitment agencies tell your employer you’re looking for a job?’, the answer is a resounding ‘No’; no high quality professional agency will ever do that.

But if you’re a candidate that believes a recruitment company has breached your privacy and informed your employer, you can raise a complaint with the EAS.

For more information, go to:


Alex Smith

Recruitment Specialist

I’ve worked in recruitment for the same agency for over 12 years, covering finance, office support, construction, and engineering. Temp and perm. Previously, my line of work was within banking and estate agency.
Favourite food: “Curry (Hot)”
Favourite film: “Heat”

Outside of work

“Gym 5 days a week. Home life consists mostly of entertaining a 3 year old! (for clarification – my son)”

Alex on ACR

“Very refreshing to work for a recruitment agency that genuinely care for their candidates and clients”

T: 01733 235298

Sarah-Jane Bond

Recruitment Specialist

I have spent the majority of my career working in Operational and Project Management roles. I first worked with ACR about 25 years ago as a candidate. ACR secured me a role at RNIB, where I stayed for 15 years, finishing as Head of Operations. Recruitment has always been a big part of the roles I have undertaken and is something that I really enjoy. When you match a fantastic candidate with the right client there is no better feeling!
Favourite food: “Has to be any dish from the Mediterranean”
Favourite film: “There are many, love a chick flick, especially ‘The Holiday at Christmas”

Outside of work

“I love socialising with friends, can always squeeze a bit of retail therapy in around volunteering at Deeping Rangers FC, running their hospitality on match days.”

Sarah-Jane on ACR

“I couldn’t have been more delighted when Nel asked me to join the company and have felt at home since day one. They really do care about providing the best service for their clients and candidates, building genuine relationships with both. The team culture is second to none, everyone supporting and looking out for each other. It is a pleasure to come to work every day.”

T: 01733 235298

Emily Roach

Recruitment Specialist

Emily was a Primary School Teacher for 10 years, before moving into the EdTech space, as a Relationship Specialist for MATs. She joined ACR in July 2023 and particularly thrives when recruiting for Account Management, Customer Service and Sales roles.
Favourite food:
“Spag bol or pizza”
Favourite film:
“The Notebook – or any romantic chick flick really!”
Outside of work
“I have a 1-year-old, so love fun family weekends with my fiancé and son more than anything. Time socialising with friends and family is where I’m happiest.”
Emily on ACR
“The unique culture, values, and style at ACR is polar opposite to other recruitment agencies and what I believed recruitment was. Having previously been a Relationship Specialist, I feel I’m doing the same thing! No hard sell, we truly care about our candidates and clients, and the team culture is 2nd to none!”
T: 01733 235298

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