The best time to search for a job is when you already have one. Your current job could help you meet potential employers and interview for a new position with confidence. When you do have an interview, it's important to handle the scheduling carefully to avoid hurting your employer and jeopardizing your job. Consider the timing and possible repercussions before discussing the possibility of a new position with your boss.
Carefully consider whether you should inform your current employer about your job search. Many employers react negatively to this type of information and even terminate the employee prematurely. This is because most bosses will see you as disloyal, a security risk and someone who is no longer interested in your job. Some employers might offer you incentives to stay, but this is rare. It's best to keep your interview confidential, especially since there is no guarantee that you will get the job. Also, avoid discussing your job search with fellow employees to ensure that this news does not reach your boss.
Scheduling the Meeting
There are several alternatives for scheduling your interview so it does not interfere with your obligations to your current employer. You could set your appointment before or after work or use your lunch hour. If these times are not adequate, consider taking a vacation day or personal day, using the hours you have accumulated for time off.
Offering an Excuse
You may have to give your boss a reason when you ask for time off. It's best to be as honest as possible without giving specific information. For instance, you could say you need to keep an appointment or take care of a personal matter. The latter also works if you need extended time off for an interview out of town. From your wording, your boss will understand that you don't wish to go into detail. Some employees cite a family emergency or a death as an excuse, but such falsehoods could lead to trouble in the future, especially if the same grandmother dies twice.
During the Interview
The potential employer might be curious about your current employer's reaction to your job search. Be prepared for questions such as "Does your employer know you are interviewing?" Answer honestly and inform the interviewer that you are using your personal time for the meeting. Direct her to former employers for a character assessment and inform her that you are keeping your search confidential at the moment. Remain positive about your current employer while you explain your reasons for searching for a new position. For instance, discuss a desire to explore opportunities in a different industry or a need for more challenging duties.
Respecting Your Current Job
Avoid using your employer's time or resources for your job search. For instance, don't peruse job boards, prepare your resume or contact other employers with the company's property. It's also best not to do any of these things on the company's time, when you are supposed to be working. Such behavior could lead to you being disciplined or even fired.