Balancing your current job, career search – ethical job hunt

PEOPLE look for new jobs for a number of reasons, and often times, they do so while they are still employed.

By Emmanuel Zvada

Recruiters and companies often prefer hiring someone at work or those who recently quit their jobs because it will be easier for them to conduct background checks.

Conducting your job search while still employed has its advantages and drawbacks. If you are currently employed, you are not as pressured to find a new job at once because you still have a steady, continuous income.

Applying for jobs while employed can be dicey if not done confidentially and ethically. You should be rather smart about how you approach your job search so that it does not jeopardise your current job.

If you are currently employed and wish to look for a new job, make sure you do not do things that may just lead to your termination.

In fact, you have to keep your job hunt to yourself, your colleagues or your boss should not know about it. The danger of letting people know that you are on your job-search is that it creates anticipation for you to leave, and once that anticipation is created, it can be interpreted as betrayal.

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If you are currently employed, the reasoning is that you do not have time to do an intensive job hunt. All the same it is certainly difficult to find a new job while devoting your time to your current job as it can lead to loafing at workplaces.

You are being paid by your present employer, so you should be a faithful, honest and good steward of time by working to the best of your ability without stealing the employer’s time.

The following are some tips of conducting your job search without being unethical which can help you balance your efforts and avoid trouble with your current employers:

Keep your job search on the low

The first rule of the job search while you are already employed is not to talk about the job search. If you do not want your boss to know that you are looking for a new job, do not talk about it to anyone in the office.

Do not share your job search with anyone you work with because your job search is a personal decision. Even if you trust your workmates, you cannot control what they share with others.

It is best to be tight-lipped about your plans so that it does not end up getting around to the wrong people.

Do not search on company time

You are being paid to be productive, meaning working hours should be utilised for work only. The responsibilities of your current job come first, so it is important for you to dedicate time outside of work hours to search for a new position.

The dangers of letting your employer know that you are on job hunt and you are utilising the time you were supposed to be working to other personal project it can become an issue.

If the company discovers you are looking, they will start looking for your replacement and this may backfire in your face in terms of your relationship when your search efforts fail to bring forth desired results.

Avoid using company resources when job hunting

Do not do your job search with any of your employer’s assets including the office wi-fi, Internet, and telephones etc.

Never use company computer to type your application form or company printer and paper to print your resume.

Most companies have a way of tracking your internet usage and you will surely be found out wanting one day. Some companies have rules on this matter, and you might be terminated if caught using company property for personal use.

It is unethical to use your office computer to do online job searches or company telephone to follow up on your job application.

Be honest to duty and to potential employer

Do not break company rules and regulations while applying for a new job. As much as possible, show that you are working hard and avoid coming late, or frequent absences.

Remember if you are luck with your job hunt, you will need a good reference from your current boss, so you have to do your work diligently.

Furthermore, if by any chance you are called for interview your potential employer will respect you more when you schedule interviews during non-working hours or during your off days.

Be nice when putting in your notice

Let us say you get the job while you are on the other job, telling your current company is one final thing you have to deal with so that you keep your professionalism in quitting.

First things first, make sure you have a formal offer from the new job before putting in your notice.

Give a reasonable amount of notice according to present rules on resignation of the company or industry, if you fail to serve your full notice, you might forfeit some or all your benefits.

If you are currently employed, you must be very careful in your job search because being open about your job search can cost you your salary. A work relationship is not different to any other personal relationship.

Take an example in a personal relationship if someone tells the other party that he/she have decided to “look for someone better” that is usually the end or the beginning of the end of the relationship, what then if it is the work relationship?

Looking for greener pastures is a normal human urge but too frequent job changes can carry a red flag for prospective employers. It should be made clear that loyalty to your current employer should not preclude you from looking for other opportunities if you are not satisfied with your current role or company.

Remember that you are not doing anything wrong when looking for a job, only that you have to do it ethically. Before the job hunt think more than twice if your move will be of long-term benefit to your career.

 Emmanuel Zvada writes in his own capacity he is a human capital consultant / international recruitment expert and author: For comments inbox to emmanuelzvada@webmail.co.za or call +263771467441.

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