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Conducting a “Secret” Job Search

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Navigating a Secret Job Search While Balancing Confidentiality and Career Advancement

It is always easier to find a job when you already have one.  This is because candidates who are working currently can be considered more marketable and desirable than those who are actively looking.  This is an unfair but often requested requirement from hiring companies that may become illegal in the future.  For now, however, it is not a good idea to leave a job if you don’t have another lined up to take its place.   If you are currently employed, this is a strong position to be in and you should make good use of it.   The trick is to find your new position without letting your current employer find out that you are looking.  While it may be a good time to start looking for greener pastures, you do not want to risk losing your current job, so below are some tips for job hunting on the down low:


1. Keep it discreet

Maintain confidentiality by refraining from discussing your job search with coworkers, including your boss. Even if your workplace appears gossip-free, it’s best not to take any chances. Avoid searching for jobs or updating your resume on your work computer, as someone might accidentally or intentionally catch a glimpse of your activities.

Exercise caution when modifying your online profiles, especially on platforms like LinkedIn, where changes can be easily noticed. Disable the notification feature while making updates to prevent colleagues from seeing your job-seeking activities. Furthermore, refrain from uploading your resume to social media sites or job boards, as this increases the risk of discovery.


2. Mind your email communications

Never use your company email address for job search-related correspondence, and certainly avoid including it on your resume. Your employer may have monitoring systems in place, and using company email for personal matters could raise suspicions. Instead, rely on a personal email account for all job search-related communications. Ensure that the email address sounds professional and avoid using anything inappropriate. Consider creating a separate email account specifically for your job search to keep things organized and prevent cluttering your primary inbox.


3. Handle references and interviews tactfully

When it comes to references, exercise caution. While you may provide previous employers as references to potential employers, avoid listing them on your resume. Including their names may prompt proactive individuals to reach out to them, potentially revealing your job search. Make sure to inform your recruiter or interviewer about the need for confidentiality, emphasizing that your current employer should not be contacted.


4. Strategic scheduling

Whenever possible, schedule job interviews outside of your regular work hours to minimize suspicion. However, if it’s not feasible, be upfront with your recruiter or prospective employer about potential scheduling conflicts. Clearly communicate the hours that work best for you and request phone or video interviews whenever possible to reduce the need for time off. Most employers will appreciate your consideration for your current job and interpret it as a positive sign of your professionalism. If you do need to take a day off for in-person interviews or travel, use a valid excuse that won’t raise eyebrows.


Maintaining Confidentiality: Lessons Learned

It’s essential to reflect on experiences where previous employers discovered your job search. How did it impact your situation? What lessons can you draw from those experiences to navigate future job searches more discreetly?


Anjela Mangrum, the founder of Mangrum Career Solutions, is a trusted authority in executive recruitment for the manufacturing industry! She’s dedicated to matching top-tier candidates with rewarding opportunities in the field. Connect with her on LinkedIn and join the MCS LinkedIn group for the latest in manufacturing recruitment news and trends. Let’s partner in your hiring success!