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January 09, 2008

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If you drive and you do run into a coworker, then them finding out that you are interviewing elsewhere is the least of your problems!

A friend of mine was interviewing last year and he would just take half day or full days off. He had to drive to Boston from Maine (a couple of hours one way) for most of his in-person interviews, but the majority of his first rounds were by telephone so he'd just schedule time that he could go home or sit in his car.

One good excuse about why you are wearing a suit is something that I discovered the first time I wore one on a plane: You like to be treated well. If you are dressed well and are polite to the flight attendants, they'll give you special attention and make your trip more pleasant. I've never needed to "sneak around" when interviewing, but I imagine that could be a perfectly valid excuse about why you are dressed up at an airport.

If flying is a must, check into using an airport at a nearby city. Obviously this won't work for everyone, but I've done this in the past. An hours drive can save you some headaches.

One time I took off to interview on a Monday and was supposed to fly back that night, but my flight was canceled because of weather. I rented a car at 6:00 PM and drove back home, arriving at 3:00 AM to insure that I wouldn't miss work. I didn't take the job so I guess it was for the better, though I was pretty worthless that next day!

Our office was doing the Special Olympics, which got out around 2pm and didn't require us to return. So I just went home, got changed, and headed out for a 3:30 interview. It was absolutely perfect timing on the parts of my former and present employers.

Instead of all the sneaking around, why not just be honest? Tell them that you've got an interview at another company and you want to see what they offer and how they work.

Really, any company knows you are looking out for you first and the company second.

Traciatim: Because if you are looking because of poor working conditions at your current job, they might just fire you or put you first in line for layoffs. Even if you LIKE your job, and decide to stay, they "know" you'll jump at the next offer you get.

Companies expect loyalty from you, regardless of how they treat you.

Triciatim --

You're hereby invited to join the real world now.

In the past, I have had to do the change out of suit into normal clothes on the drive back from interview to office. (this is when you hope for red lights.)

I use doctor's appointment excuse and have actually changed in Burger King bathrooms near the interview site. I have even made follow up calls in my car in a parking lot on my cell phone during lunch.

The job I had before was awful and fired people if they wore the wrong color shirt. When my husband went in for eye surgery and it got canceled I produced a doctor's note. That impressed them and gained their trust.

Seriously Triciatim: Give your advice a try and find out how fast you will be fired.

Triciatim's advice is good, if you have a good employer. You can't just assume your boss will fire you on the spot if you claim you're looking for another job. A lot of employers, including my own, know that people's lives change. Families grow, careers advance, better offers come along, and employees need to grow. Where I'm at, my employer -knows- there's not a chance of keeping most of us. We are in very lucrative positions that provide excellent training and experience for a MUCH better position with a much larger agency. Our employer knows this, and knows it reflects well on him when we go to work for the bigger things.

How does it look to your employer when suddenly out of the blue, a reference checker or background investigator shows up and says "Hi, I'm here to interview you about Joe, he applied to work for us?"

That being said, there are evil employers out there. Watch out, and know your limits.

George --

You said:

"How does it look to your employer when suddenly out of the blue, a reference checker or background investigator shows up and says 'Hi, I'm here to interview you about Joe, he applied to work for us?' "

Are you serious? I've never had this happen and never even heard of it happening.

I cannot imagine a situation where it would be beneficial to tell your employer that you're looking for other jobs before you get offers.

In some situations, it would be less harmful than in others. But the effect is somewhat unpredictable and never beneficial, so why would one go that route?

Actually, I'm more with Triciatim on this one, unless you're a poor-performing employee. I personally wouldn't go around announcing a job interview (no one's business but my own), but neither would I try to hide it. I certainly wouldn't hoop-jump to dress down or go to a different airport; I'd be more focused on making the interview a success.

I've managed groups as large as 15 people, folks who make anywhere from $40,000 to $120,000 a year. My biggest concern is that any of those people, from solid to exceptional performers on whom my success relies, will decide to take off for somewhere else.

If I found out they were interviewing, I was thrilled to have that piece of information so that I could directly address whatever was lacking in their current role (money, challenge, advancement, a combination of all 3 usually).

Conversely, if I were interviewing for a position and ran into a senior executive in the airport, I would secretly be glad. This actually happened once. I was wearing a suit and met one of our EVPs as I was coming back from an interview. He looked at me a little oddly at first, then realized what I was up to. He give me a little smile and said something to the effect of "Trying to get to the next rung on the ladder, huh?". We both had a Mona-Lisa smile moment; when I got back, my boss and I had a serious conversation about where I was headed in the organization and my corresponding salary potential, capping in a promotion two months later. These conversations would frankly have never happened if otherwise - there's just too much to do as an executive, and you often (rightly or wrongly) act on a crisis management basis.

Smart executives realize that employees don't get called into on-site interviews unless they are seen as an attractive candidate. I pity those who would use this "disloyalty" to make up the layoff list... they will soon be on it themselves.

FMF, I love your blog, but I think you're way off-target in your "Welcome to the real world" comment. The supply-demand equation by-and-large favors the employee these days, and my demographic studies suggest this will only get worse in the next 5-10 years. Employers ignore talented, highly-mobile employees to their peril.

Orthros --

My experience tells me it's best to keep it a secret from the employee's perspective. I can understand how an employer might want to have the information, but in many cases it's simply to plan to replace the employee -- not help him or her out.

I've seen many instances (in almost 20 years of business) where management has found out a person has been interviewing. In most cases, it goes poorly for the employee. And even if it doesn't, is it really worth the risk?

BTW, it's ok if you think I'm way off target. ;-)

my boss heard that i am going to job interivew in X company . he knows the HR team who inform him about my interivew time. Suddenly i found him there
it was so suprsing
he didnt react yet, i really dont know what to do?
why he still slient

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