It’s smart to line up your next job before quitting your current one. However, it’s not easy keeping your search a secret and it can feel awful to “sneak around.” Plus, what happens if you’re caught? Can you be fired for job hunting while employed?
What does it mean to be an ‘at-will’ employee?
Texas is an at-will state, meaning that you and the employer reserve the right to end your employment at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. So, technically, you can be fired for job hunting while employed.
The good news is that most reputable employers are reasonable. If they find out, it may be an opportunity to discuss why you’re unhappy. If they value you as an employee, they’ll want a chance to make things right. However, if the job search is interfering with your work performance, this might be the tipping point that leads to your termination.
Job hunting while employed can be done successfully
If the writing is on the wall and it’s time to move on, here are some tips to ensure that you don’t burn bridges:
- Open yourself up to serendipity. LinkedIn is a great tool for subtly job seeking. Follow these tips for crafting your profile, tweaking your privacy settings, and allowing recruiters to know you’re open to job opportunities without announcing it to the world.
- Nothing is as valuable for job hunting while employed as networking. Simply attending events or engaging in the right professional groups both online and in-person can put you in the right place at the right time for a new job without leaving a paper trail.
- Be smart with technology. Don’t post your resume on job search sites or give out your work number and/or email address. You should also use a personal computer so your activity can’t be watched in any way by your current employer or you don’t lose personal contacts or files that have been added to a work computer.
- Work with a recruiter and be honest with them. Your recruiter should know that you’re currently employed. You may even want to provide them with your typical work schedule. By being open about your availability, they may be more willing to plan your interview to accommodate your schedule. What’s more, reputable recruiters are discrete and can set boundaries with hiring employers so that your current job isn’t unnecessarily put in jeopardy.
- Get creative with your schedule. It might take some juggling but there are many ways to schedule interviews when job hunting while employed. Ask about early morning, late afternoon, evening, lunchtime or even evening interview options. Remote interview options might also be available; just don’t take the interview from your desk at work, please.
- You don’t have to share why you need time off. Remember us mentioning how awful it might feel to “sneak around” while your job searching? You might feel bad not telling your employer why you need the time off, but the truth is that you don’t have to share that information if you truly have personal time off (PTO)—it’s considered personal, after all.
- Make sure the opportunity’s right for you. You have the right to stop the process at any time. This means that even if you apply for a job and are asked to interview, you don’t have to go through with it. The same applies to any point in the interview process all the way through to the offer phase. If something is raising a red flag, there’s a reason for it and it shouldn’t be ignored.
This process can be overwhelming and there’s a lot at stake when job hunting while employed. Our HT Group recruiters are available to answer your questions or help you with your search. Contact us today.