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Never Assume Confidentiality

Jim McLoughlin


The issue of 'confidentiality' discourages many employed superintendents from seeking new jobs because they are fearful of putting their present jobs at risk any time they apply for a job despite submitting their applications on a 'confidential' basis. And rightfully so! Where does the problem originate?


The blame for disclosure does not generally lie within the various search committees because they are consistently made up of private sector business people used to routinely working with and keeping confidentiality agreements.


Rather, confidentiality is lost (at an estimated 75% rate) primarily because: (i) Many general managers at the clubs looking to hire a superintendent query the GM grapevine about candidate qualifications and the word gets out; and (ii) Candidates tell professional peers of their intentions to seek a new job without emphasizing its confidential nature.


How To Address The Confidentiality Issue?

While there is no guaranteed way to ensure confidentiality, the following two approaches are worth noting:

  1. Employed superintendents with solid on-the-job track records should always advise their employers before applying for a new career advancing job because experience shows they will generally get their employers' full support the first time around, but not on a continuing basis.  
  1. Then, superintendents with less secure jobs have a difficult decision to make: either assume the risk of not informing employers, or do not apply for another job unless it is necessary; i.e., their present job is in jeopardy, etc.

It should be noted that when superintendents apply for new jobs without advising their employers who later find out  -- a trust is broken that can be hard to repair depending on the compassion of administration members. But, sometimes this is a risk worth taking, or must be taken.


An Ideal Opportunity

Whenever a superintendent requests permission to apply for another job and is given this permission along with the caveat that the current employer would like the superintendent to stay at his present job (not an uncommon circumstance) -- potential job applicants should seize upon this occasion to obtain a promise (reflected in the minutes of a meeting, etc.) from their present employers to introduce the concepts of a written contract (see Sept. 25th blog), if none exists, and binding arbitration (see next week's blog on this subject) into the next negotiation cycle at their present jobs.


Superintendents should go for the valued concepts of a written contract and binding arbitration under these "perfect storm"  conditions because proven cost-efficient superintendents will always be in greater demand in a bad economy than in a good economy.


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