If you are currently employed but are interested in seeing what other jobs are out there, it’s in your best interest to keep your search private until you’ve lined up another job. If not, you run the risk of your boss finding out and maybe letting you go. Fortunately, you have several options for interviewing discreetly so your boss doesn't find out.
Interview During Personal Time
Most employers want to meet with you during business hours, making it tricky to interview without giving yourself away. If possible, schedule interviews before your regular work hours if you know you can make it to the office in time. Another option is to set appointments up at the end of the day and leave work a little early. You can also use your lunch break, especially if you aren’t on a tight schedule and can come back a little late. If you can’t squeeze in interviews during the work day, take a vacation or personal day. When you take a day off, try to schedule multiple interviews.
Ask for a Flexible Schedule
If you plan to undertake an intensive job hunt, ask your boss if you can work from home one or two days a week or work partial days. You can use your free time to interview without arousing suspicion, provided you maintain your productivity and don’t start missing deadlines. Only pursue this option if you know you have the discipline and time management skills to continue working at your current level while also balancing meeting with prospective employers. You’ll also need to be accessible when you’re out of the office, so reply promptly to emails or voice mails from your boss to prevent him from questioning how you’re spending your days.
Keep it to Yourself
Don’t feign illness or a doctor’s appointment so you can take time off for a job interview. At the same time, you don’t have to declare your intentions of finding a new job. If your boss wants to know why you’re taking time off, tell him you have a personal matter to take care of. Don’t tell your colleagues, either, even if you’re friendly with them. Anything you say could get back to the boss.
Don’t give your work phone number or email address when applying for jobs. If employers contact you at work about setting up an interview, your boss could discover what you’re up to. Instead, give your personal cell phone number and email address, and only check your messages during breaks. When providing references, avoid using anyone from your current place of employment unless you can trust him to protect your privacy. If a prospective employer wants to contact your current boss, it’s accepted practice to say you don’t want your boss to know about your job search but that you’ll gladly provide his name and number if the company decides to make you an offer.