Looking for work while you’re employed

7 November 2016

nurse browsing on mobile phone

If you’re currently employed and are looking for a new job, it’s highly likely that you won’t want your boss to know what you’re doing. You may be looking at vacancies because you’re unhappy with your current workplace, or you may just feel it’s time for you to move on to pastures new. Either way, it is usually best to keep your job search private from your employer and your colleagues, so you don’t upset the status quo at work, and you get the chance to conduct your search without any additional worries.


 Keep a check on your phone


When you apply for jobs online, recruitment consultants and hiring managers may contact you by phone or email to discuss your application. It is unlikely that they will know what your working week involves in precise detail, so they may contact you while you’re in the midst of a busy day in the clinic.

A recruiter won’t know if you sit right next to your manager, and have your phone out on the desk sometimes, so don’t take the risk. Put your phone somewhere that your colleagues won’t see your notifications, and don’t answer calls when you’re supposed to be working. Do make sure you check your phone regularly to see if you’ve missed any calls or emails, and return those calls during your break. If you don’t respond to messages promptly, recruiters may assume you are no longer interested in that vacancy.


Let recruiters know your current situation


If you have a long working day performing treatments, you may have only a narrow window for answering calls on your 30-minute lunch break. When you’re working with a recruitment consultant to find a new role, give them an idea of the hours you currently work, and when you can respond to messages, so they can try and contact you at a time that works for you both.

If you have a tight work schedule but there are particular dates and times you have free for interviews, offering this information can also help. Though not every potential employer will be able to accommodate your needs, giving recruiters as much useful information as possible can help make the interview process run smoother.


Don’t use work devices┬áto search for vacancies


It is not a good idea to use a device that belongs to your employer to look at job sites, but not just because someone may look over your shoulder and catch you. Devices and websites store data from your browsing history, so despite your online search being conducted discretely, other users may notice what you’ve been looking at on the device. Unless data has been deleted, it’s quite easy to see the list of recently visited websites on an internet browser, and your data can even be used to inform the content of online adverts.

Using your own personal device for your job search makes much more sense anyway; you can log in to sites using your personal email address, you can save your searches, and download apps to better organise the process.


Think about interview dates and times in advance


If you have a full-time job, it’s not always easy to make interviews at short notice. So you don’t miss out on any great opportunities, think about how you could free up time, or fit things in to your current schedule. It’s unlikely that employers will want to hold interviews after you finish your shift at 8pm, and your lunch break may not be long enough to fit in the travel and interview time. If you’re on a shift-based rota, consider whether you have any colleagues who would be able to swap shifts if necessary. If you have annual leave left to take, see if you can arrange to take a half-day at short notice. You may be able to arrange interviews on your usual day off, but you can’t guarantee that employers can work around your timetable, so do think of other options.

You may have to book holiday time, and you may not wish to state that you’re off to an interview at another company. Though we’re not advocating lying to your employer, sometimes it isn’t easy asking for a day off without an explanation, and so you may have to think of a good answer. If you are planning on taking any risks, make sure you don’t go overboard. Everyone needs to visit the dentist or doctor occasionally, and sometimes you may need to call in a workman to fix an appliance at home, but if you invent a more dramatic story to explain your time off, you may not sound very believable.


Play safe as you may end up staying in your current job


It’s not against the law to apply for a new job or to use some of your annual leave allowance to attend interviews, but if your employer knows you are looking elsewhere for opportunities, they may assume you are no longer committed to their company. This may not be the correct assumption, but it could be one that affects your future if you decide to stay on in your current role.

An employer may assume that you are no longer as dedicated to or engaged with your work if you have previously been job-hunting, and may no longer see you as a reliable team member who will play a key role in the company’s long-term plans.

Though it’s wise to keep your job search to yourself, if your boss does find out that you have been looking around, you could use this opportunity to address the issues that made you start looking in the first place. If you are looking to earn more or develop your role, then your current employer may be able to offer you a way to do so while working with them, rather than with a new company. If you have an issue with the behaviour of colleagues, your employer may be glad if you highlight a problem they were unaware of.


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