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How To Job Search While Still Employed (The Sneaky Way)

job search while employed

It often happens. You take a job that seems perfect for you, but after a while in that position you find yourself with itchy feet and looking for more of a challenge. Either that or you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you have been told your employment contract will not be renewed due to budget cuts or company restructuring.

Yes, you may be forgiven by your boss for openly job searching while still working if you know that your contract is coming to an end. But, should you be sneakily looking for alternative employment while your boss isn’t looking, you can use some stealthy tactics to help you in your search, while remaining productive and on top of things at work.

Let’s take a look at some sneaky tips to help you find another job, while still working at your current job:

Perfect the screen switch!

If you are searching through job listings online through a recruitment company, or via a jobs board, then you must learn to perfect the screen switch! Make sure you have loaded up a work screen and positioned your cursor mid-document or a few pages into a spreadsheet.

Open a new window or tab to do your job searching tasks and quickly click back to your work screen when people walk by your desk or stop to talk to you.

It also helps to perfect your swivel chair moves so that you can quickly blank your screen and swivel your chair to face away from your screen and towards some paper documents that you have open next to you.

Of course, you will need to learn to develop Ostrich-like eyesight where you can do a quick side-glance around the office to observe where your boss is at all times.

Dressing up for an interview

If your job is in a smart-casual work environment, it can make everyone suspicious of you should you turn up one day wearing your smartest interview suit. You can try to divert their curiosity by not going all-out with your outfit. Carry your jacket into the office folded over your arm. Don’t wear your tie – instead, keep it rolled up in your jacket pocket and wear your shirt open at the neck.

Keep a slouchy jumper or cardigan at work that you can slip over your interview shirt. It will take the smart edge off your appearance while you work. When you sneak out for your job interview, you can put on your tie and jacket in the car or as you walk down the street on the way to your appointment. Leave your slouchy cardigan at work or in the car for the next time you need it.

Arrange a stealthy interview appointment

While you can hardly walk out of your workplace at 10 am to attend a job interview across town, you can try to arrange a job interview at a more convenient time that will fit in with your workday. If possible, try to arrange for your interview to fall on your lunch-break when no one is suspicious of you leaving work for an hour. Should your interview run late, then you can blame the traffic, or say you needed to get some painkillers from the chemist and the queue was very long. You could offer to stay late to make up for the time you lost.

If you have arranged a telephone interview, then you could sneak out to your car to take your interview. Remember though to park in the very furthest parking spot well away from the building – just in case your boss should happen to walk by your car while you are on the phone!

See if you can arrange for a more casual interview that can be held in a local cafe or restaurant during your lunch break or after work. Many small tech start-ups are all for conducting interviews in non-conventional settings, so would be happy to meet you for an informal interview over a cup of coffee. Many smaller businesses that have a ‘lean operation’ may not even have any formal interview rooms or offices where they can hold interviews. Most are happy to meet potential recruits in more social settings for an interview.

Don’t give the game away!

No matter how much you dislike your job, don’t tell anyone that you are looking for another job – not even your best work friend. Should the word slip out, then your boss will be keeping an extra eagle-eye on your activities, which can make your work searching even more problematic!

And whatever you do – never make the fatal mistake of adding a recruiters number to your mobile phone!

The last thing you want to happen is for a potential new employer calling you to arrange a job interview while you are in a meeting with your boss! If you must keep their number close, put your phone on silent or lock it away in your desk draw well out of your boss’ earshot.

You should also take great care to resist the temptation to print off your CV or resume at work using the company printer. It’s especially important if your office shares one wireless printer where your resume may end up sitting in a print queue right after a document that your boss is waiting at the printer for.


Job searching while still employed can be very risky, especially if you want to approach your current employer for a reference for your new job. Take care not to upset your boss or the company you are working for by being very blatant about your job searching activities. This could mean you being turned down for a reference that could be crucial for landing your next job.

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