Looking for a new job while being employed is tricky. A lot of people can feel uncomfortable as they go through the process of looking for a new job. It can be a logistical nightmare. Finding time to take calls from recruiters, getting time out of the office for interviews and worrying whether their boss may find out they are looking to leave are just some of the concerns. So how can you discreetly go about finding your new role?
Update your LinkedIn profile
Ok let’s start simply. Whether you are applying for jobs via LinkedIn or via other platforms, recruiters and potential employers will check out your LinkedIn profile. We live in an era of personal branding, make sure your profile is complete and up to date. LinkedIn can act as an unofficial resume and you can also share your thoughts on topics within your industry.
In addition, there is an option on LinkedIn to notify recruiters that you are open to new opportunities. This cannot be seen by anyone in your current firm and is a great way to get recruiters to approach you about opportunities. You can state the type of roles and locations you are willing to consider and combine with a strong profile is a great way to quietly find new opportunities.
Do not put any references on your resume
If you want your job search to become publicly very quickly, put references on your resume. Headhunters have been notorious for using these reference details as an excuse to try and get new clients. So, if they see your references, they will likely phone them up under the cover of “getting a reference” on you, before pitching them to help fill any vacancies they may have. Yes, this is unprofessional, but it does happen. Not with all headhunters and recruitment agencies, there are some great ones who have amazing integrity, but there are plenty of shady ones too.
Likewise, some companies have also been known to phone up the references before deciding whether to call an applicant in for an interview. The last thing you want, is for your current or former boss to get a call to let them know you have applied for a role.
Schedule interviews outside of working hours
How many 9am doctors’ appointments can you have, before your employer becomes suspicious? You should try to schedule your interviews before or after work. If that is not possible, lunchtime is an alternative providing the commute is not too far. Most employers will understand this and be happy to accommodate you.
Furthermore, if a company or manager refuses to accommodate such a request, it will give you a good insight into what it would be like to work for them. If they aren’t willing to flex a little on an interview to try and get you to join the company, what are they going to be like when you work for them? Such selfish behavior is a lead indicator of a poor manager or firm. An employee centric firm will have no issues with such a request.
Think about the dress code
Most firms in this day and age have a smart casual or dress down policy. Very few companies still insist on formal wear, outside of a few client facing careers. So, if you are normally wearing jeans and a casual top, and then you turn up in the office one day in formal wear… people are going to notice. You should take a change of clothes with you.
You can also ask the company you are interviewing with, if it is OK if you come to the interview in smart casual clothing. I have interviewed plenty of people who were not dressed formally after such a request. A good company will be focused on the quality of your answers, not what you are wearing. If the company is so insistent on a formal dress code, again you have to ask yourself, what kind of company would they be to work for.
Finally, it’s important to remember that you are still employed by your current company. Just because you have decided it is time to move on, does not mean you should let the quality of your work slip. Make sure that you are still delivering value to your current employer. If you switch off, people are going to notice.
You may also discover during your job search, that the grass is not necessarily greener elsewhere. After speaking to a few firms, you may find that your prospective bosses elsewhere are worse than your current one. Or that you can’t get the salary you thought you could. Therefore, staying put may be a better choice. So, you do not want to slack off for a few months while you are looking elsewhere.