Q/A: Looking for a New Job without your Employer Knowing

Posted In: Leaving a Company
Posted On: 3/7/2013

Q. How do I look for a job without my employer knowing? From H. in Boston, MA

A. I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to answer more than just the obvious question—but I do promise to answer it too! First, are you certain that you need to leave your current company to get the right opportunity? There is a lot of change involved when you move companies and I always encourage people to explore opportunities within their current organization first. If you have exhausted the possibilities in your current company and you are ready to look for a new job elsewhere, make sure that you are clear about why you are looking for a new job. This is very important for you personally, so you can make the next move a good one and don’t find yourself jumping from job to job. It is also critical so that you can articulate what you are looking for when interviewing with your new potential employer. And here is a very important point: if you are leaving because you hate your company—do NOT say that in an interview! Your new company does not want to know that you hate your old company because they will assume that you will bring that negativity to the new company! Frame up your situation as one where you are looking to build your skills, get better opportunities, make more of a difference. Think positively and project positivity! Now to your initial question: be respectful of your current employer and look for a job outside of your work hours. Companies understand that people are always looking for better opportunities, but they want you to do it on your own time, not on their’s. And you do not want to burn any bridges with your old employer. You never know if that boss will show up at your next company or the industry will consolidate and you will be working at the same place but with a different logo on your business card! Also, be discreet about how you advertise your desire for a new job. In today’s world, employers often troll Facebook and Linked In. They will not want to see a post that you are dissatisfied with your company and looking for a lead to a better opportunity!