How to Interview While Still Working
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Interviewing for a new gig while holding a current job is a tricky business, but it can have numerous benefits if you do it right. On the one hand, if your boss finds out you're shopping for another job but you don't get hired, you could wind up with double zeroes. On the other hand, if your secret is safe, since you aren't desperate for a paycheck, your current job might be the perfect bargaining chip to leverage the money and benefits you deserve.
If you’re interviewing with other companies while you have currently have a job, alert all potential employers that you’ll have to interview around your current work schedule, advises U.S. News and World Report. Until you’re ready to resign to accept a bona fide offer, you’ll need to keep the fact that you’re interviewing under wraps -- otherwise your current boss might start searching for your replacement before you’re ready to leave. Don’t worry that admitting you’re currently working will deter potential interviewers -- according to Forbes.com, the fact that you already have a job simply proves that you’re a desirable employee.
If you’re keeping your job search a secret from the boss, don’t give interviewers any contact information from your current job, even if they want to call to verify your employment or get a quick overview about your professional strengths and working style. Be upfront about your need for discretion, and provide solid alternative references who can vouch for your skills, knowledge and experience.
Maintain Your Focus
Do not allow your interview process to negatively affect your performance at work, otherwise you run the risk of jeopardizing your current job. Unless you have no other choice, do not schedule phone or face-to-face interviews during your lunch or coffee breaks, even if the other company is close by, as it will be hard to switch modes -- and then switch back -- in the middle of the day. When you’re at work, your attention should be on your job, period, no exceptions. If you have an important interview that cannot be scheduled around your work hours, it’s best to excuse yourself altogether with a sick day or a personal day.
Mum's the Word
Don’t tell anyone at work that you’re interviewing for a new job, as you run the risk of blowing your own cover. Although you may trust your co-workers, juicy gossip has a way of spreading, even when whispered with the best of intentions. The only way to make sure your secret is kept is to keep it yourself.
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Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.