Busted while looking for a new job

How would your boss respond if he discovered you were looking for a new job? What would you do if you were busted and caught in the act? What would you say? What would you do? This thought may seldom come to mind, however, you may want to plan some witty comebacks in case you are discovered.

There are more people available then jobs. Many people are trapped in jobs that are below their expectations. Additionally, ambitious employees want to quickly climb the corporate ladder to success. So we find ourselves in a world where individuals are constantly changing jobs or looking to change jobs. People are eager to improve their economic status and to satisfy their egos. Job seekers are using the Internet and social media, along with the traditional job fairs and newspapers. With the heavy traffic of candidates and employers, the Law of Probability predicts your boss could detect your search for a new job.

We hired a manager to help us staff a new specialty sales force. He was waiting to interview one of his former colleagues, who did not know that he had jumped ship. The colleague was waiting to be interviewed. He did not know the name of the person he was supposed to see. He sat in the hall waiting his turn. The door opened and his former colleague stepped out to meet him. The look on his face was priceless, as his knees buckled. Immediately his former colleague placed him at ease by saying that he no longer worked for the same company. The colleague uttered a sigh of relief and said,” I’m afraid that I am going to have to change my underwear.” This made me wonder if it is wise to formulate a few words to share if someone discovered your plans to leave the organization.

Shortly after a merger, I surprised many of my new employees during a session on gratitude. We filled up several pages on a flip chart listing the many benefits of our new organization, which was very helpful for the audience. I wanted them to know that we have a tendency to look at the negative side of change. I also wanted them to remember these things when they received phone calls from recruiters. I reminded them that recruiters were salespeople. The unscrupulous ones were more concerned about placement than the right fit for their clients. I stunned them when I said, jokingly,” I know you are receiving phone calls from recruiters. If you are doing a great job people should be calling you. And when they call, some of you are interested. I know this to be true, because when I call posing as a recruiter, some of you are interested.” It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. A few of the new team members could be heard asking the person next to them,” Would he really do that?”

Everyone in the workplace is technically a free agent and free to move between companies at will. However, if you have indicated a desire to move up in an organization, they may not take kindly to you aggressively shopping your services. Developing a reputation of having a wandering eye could work against you unless you are a phenomenal performer. Companies may not always seem loyal, but loyalty is demanded of their employees. It is flattering for companies to know that someone else wants to hire you. They blush at the positive impact you have on your customers and the industry. If you take a risk and decide to follow up on their interest, think of a way to respond if you are caught.

A sales representative drove outside of his territory to attend a job interview. He entered an office building and waited for the elevator. The elevator doors opened and there stood his district and regional sales managers. Needless to say, they were surprised to see him and he was shocked to see them. The morale of the story is if you are discovered, be ready with a plausible explanation. Telling the truth about the hiring lead is highly recommended. This can lead you into a very candid conversation about your career. If you lied to make room for the interview, you may have complicated the matter by your lack of integrity. It is ideal to make room for an interview during a long lunch, before or after work or on a scheduled vacation day.

Discovery Advantages
Your willingness to consider another company sometimes it is an indication that something is lacking in your current relationship. It may also speak to the power of your brand that others are heavily recruiting you. There are benefits to the word getting out that you are looking for another job. They include, but are not limited to:
• Discovery may stimulate a serious discussion around your status with the firm
• Career opportunities may suddenly develop because the company feels that they may lose you
• Discovery may enable you to discuss your interest, ambition and lack of career opportunities

Earlier, I mentioned how the company would feel if they knew you were constantly looking for job. Many companies will understand this because of the current precarious state of employment. Some companies may not understand and may terminate you. Some companies may be reluctant to hire you if you are always on the market, trolling for better options.

I met a young man and he asked for my business card.” Are you hiring?” He wanted to know.” I am always looking for a better opportunity.” I wondered at that moment about his comment. He was impressive, but should I seriously consider him? If I hired him, would he maintain the same attitude and philosophy while working for me, always aggressively looking for something better? This takes me back to my central question. If you’re looking for another job and you are discovered,” What will you say?”

You might give the response that people often give when they resign. “I wasn’t looking for a job, but they called me.” Don’t be surprised if your employer is not satisfied with this response. It will not make them feel better to know that you did not initiate the process. A company may view this as disloyalty or as cheating in a relationship. Imagine saying to a companion, “Honey, I did not chase her or go after him first. They approached me. They made the first move and I just gauged their interest to see what they had to offer.”

We search for jobs on social media sites, job boards, career fairs and networking functions. Invariably, if you are active or pursue an opening once, there is the possibility that someone will find out. Discovery may not be due to carelessness on your part. Your profile may be seen by people who have connections with people within your organization. There are haters and informers in your company who wish to discredit you or make themselves look good by telling about your interest in a particular job. The fact remains, if you are looking for another job, it may be prudent to think of your response if your activity is exposed.

Copyright © 2013 Orlando Ceaser

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