While searching for a new job, the chances are, your current manager isn’t going to be too happy if they find out you’re considering a move away. The last thing you want is someone passing on the news to your boss and jeopardising any working relationships you have cultivated. With the majority of us having to carry out a search while still employed, job search confidentiality is critical. But how do you remain inconspicuous during the process? We’ve broken down the four essential steps to looking for a job discreetly.
Conduct the Search in Your Own Time
Scanning your phone during a lunch break is one thing, but actively searching for new tech jobs on company time should be avoided. Not only is it unprofessional, but it can easily flag your intentions to those around you – colleagues and management alike. The same goes with updating CVs, taking calls and registering with recruitment agencies during office hours
Similarly, interviews should be kept separate from your current work life where possible. Try to schedule them out of hours, during lunch or even use annual leave. However, if lunch time excursions are not a normal part of your working life, an influx of these “disappearances” may raise suspicion. Think about starting up this habit early on so that it’s not something that people will question.
Be Aware of Your Presence on LinkedIn
We’re all aware of the impact of our online actions, but if you use LinkedIn, your intent to move on can become pretty clear when there is a sudden spike in your activity. A flurry of updates, profile additions and recruiter connections will undoubtedly cause concern.
Whilst we still recommend using these strategies in your job search, the best approach is to do them consistently over time so that the new activity does not appear to be a sudden change. Don’t forget that LinkedIn has the option of hiding changes from connections, which will help in keeping your job search discreet. It only takes a few simple steps to update your privacy settings:
- Click on ‘Me’ (at the top of your main account page)
- Go to ‘Settings & Privacy’
- Click on the ‘Privacy’ tab
- Go down to ‘How others see your LinkedIn activity’
- Adjust to suit the level of discretion you need
Watch Your Attire
Not considering the impact of interview attire is another error we’ve noticed quite a lot. We all know that we should look our best when first meeting up with prospective employers, but what about the expectations of your current environment? If the dress code at your workplace is smart casual, turning up in formal wear will be an immediate giveaway.
Instead of sending up these warning signs, there a couple of alternatives. If the interview takes place after hours, bring a change of clothes and get changed somewhere else, such as an off-site bathroom or gym. If this is not possible, it may be best to simply explain the situation to the interviewer or recruitment agency – most will understand the more casual attire if they have been notified of the reason ahead of time.
Keep Your Job Search Confidential
It goes without saying, but always keep your plans to yourself throughout the process. It may be tempting to confide in colleagues you trust, but it isn’t worth the risk of gossip finding its way back to your manager or someone overhearing the conversation you’ve just had. Our best advice to ensure a confidential job search is to wait until you’ve signed on the dotted line before making your intentions known to anyone you work with.
Also, be careful when reaching out to your network – the IT industry can be a small world sometimes. Anyone you contact about a job may also know your manager or other members of the current team. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you will need their discretion.
Finding a new job can often be a full-time job in itself, and it certainly doesn’t get any easier when trying to balance it with your current role. Follow these tips to keeping your job search secret and you’ll be able to move forward without the pressure of your manager and colleagues finding out prematurely. If you’ve decided to take the next step in your IT career and are looking for support, get in touch with the RWA team – we promise discretion!