LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB WHILE KEEPING A LOW PROFILE …

Filed in MUNICIPALITY by on March 1, 2017

image001Beginning the search for a new job while you’re still working at your current municipality can be a bit problematic, to say the least! Showing up to work in a suit on a casual Friday; printing out resumes on your office printer; mysteriously excusing yourself to take personal calls, etc. It all has the potential to make you look a bit flakey—and your thinly-veiled plans for a move just might just damage your current work relationships.  We thought about how best to advise someone who is considering a change … after all, we quite often have candidates in this position. So, here are some ideas on how to keep a low profile while you’re considering a job change. Just remember: there’s always the possibility you won’t get the new job, and you’ll still have to face your current boss the next morning

image003We thought about how best to advise someone who is considering a change … after all, we quite often have candidates in this position. So, here are some ideas on how to keep a low profile while you’re considering a job change. Just remember: there’s always the possibility you won’t get the new job, and you’ll still have to face your current boss the next morningDiscretion is,” as they say, “the better part of valour.” This is especially true when you find yourself in contact with potential employers and you’re trying to arrange interviews. This may be too obvious … but I’ll say it anyway: Never, and I mean NEVER give a prospective employer your work email or phone number, and that goes double for the early stages of the process. And be very circumspect if you’re going to check your Gmail account while at work. The way things are today, IT may be monitoring your workplace network. As a rule, we recommend using a PDA and only taking calls or answering emails on your own time; that’s a lot fairer, and perfectly ethical – since breaks and lunch hours belong to you.

“Discretion is,” as they say, “the better part of valour.” This is especially true when you find yourself in contact with potential employers and you’re trying to arrange interviews. This may be too obvious … but I’ll say it anyway: Never, and I mean NEVER give a prospective employer your work email or phone number, and that goes double for the early stages of the process. And be very circumspect if you’re going to check your Gmail account while at work. The way things are today, IT may be monitoring your workplace network. As a rule, we recommend using a PDA and only taking calls or answering emails on your own time; that’s a lot fairer, and perfectly ethical – since breaks and lunch hours belong to you.

If a call comes in from a recruiter, and you’re sitting in an open area where there’s no privacy, don’t make a hasty exit just to answer the phone; that won’t look good! Instead, just let it go to voice mail. And if you don’t happen to be in a place where you can ‘professionally’ handle a call – like a hockey game (referee’s whistles and yelling and shouting in the background will not impress a prospective employer!) – don’t take the call at all.

Another clear signal that you are about to change jobs is showing up dressed to the nines, particularly when you are usually dressed to the eights or sevens! After all, how many funerals could you possibly be “attending” in a month! Instead, make a quick change somewhere away from city hall, and keep it ‘under your hat!’

image004TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR DAYTIMER …

Look … arranging interviews during your regular work week can be challenging. It takes some good planning and careful preparation. It makes a lot more sense to use your personal time (perhaps even a vacation day) … that way you’ll be more focused on what you’re trying to accomplish, and not constantly worried about sneaking around.

If taking time off isn’t an option, then a meeting before or after work is the answer. And don’t apologize to anyone for having the good sense not to want to use your employer’s time for personal business. My own attitude would be to appreciate that kind of ethical thinking. It is never a problem to meet a candidate outside working hours, and it’s completely understandable. And don’t lose sight of the fact that the people who are interviewing you may soon be your employer, so they too would appreciate your unwillingness to, in effect, cheat your current employer!

image007  I just can’t imagine why anyone would want to be fully transparent with coworkers when it comes to changing jobs. There is really no benefit to letting them know you are being interviewed. If you really need someone to talk to, go to a friend or family member. There is, of course, the reference check, and at that point, it may become necessary to speak about your plans. In these cases, ask a trusted colleague or perhaps a manager or other confidant in another department – someone you know you can trust – to be a reference. Most often, these days, I recommend that my clients make their offers to candidates subject to satisfactory references … at least that way, the candidate is off the hook in terms of telling others at work prior to the offer.

So, what if your boss asks you directly if you are being interviewed.  If this happens, never lie about it! Instead, view it as the perfect time to explain why you’re looking, and if you’re unhappy, why you’re unhappy in your current role. It can be a tough conversation, but a genuine opportunity to get any problems out in the open. And if the job you are looking at is a move up, perhaps a chance for your current employer to offer you something better.

Counter-offers, at this or any other stage, however, can be a mixed blessing. If you accept a counter-offer, you’ll end up wondering why they didn’t give you more money or a better position in the first place! They may also feel that you have, in effect, ‘held a gun to their head.’ And you won’t know, until it’s too late, whether they only made the counter-offer to keep you just long enough to find someone else, leaving you out in the cold!

image008So, if you are looking and you want to stay under the radar … that’s a good idea. Just remember to be circumspect about who you bring in on your plans… remember, at the office, the “walls have ears”. Best to do your job hunting and interviewing on your own time- it’s simply the right way to behave and a future employer will know what kind of a person you are from the get go. Be straight up when your boss asks if you are looking and be VERY careful about counter offers. If you want to strategize about your next move, or you just want someone to talk to, we are always happy to get your call … keeping secrets is just part of what makes us who we are.

Bruce Malcolm

About the Author ()

Bruce's background includes 30+ years of human resource management experience covering all aspects of HR administration with a clear specialty in team building and recruiting. He created and developed the concept of “Ethical Head-Hunting™”. Bruce began his recruiting career in 1971 with Prudential Assurance.

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