Search
Advice » Interviewing» Interview Preparation » Interviewing on the Sly
Interviewing on the Sly

Interviewing on the Sly

Tips for Employed Job Seekers

When searching for a new job, dealing with prospective employers is stressful enough: the numerous rejections before you get to yes, grueling interviews, tense salary negotiations and more. But add the almost universal need to conceal your job search -- especially the interviews -- from your present employer, and the result distracts many job seekers from preparing for interviews and even conducting them properly.

We asked several experts how to mitigate the troubles of the professional who must protect his current job while interviewing for a new one. The toughest challenges fall into three categories: scheduling interviews into and around the workday, dressing to impress without setting off alarms at work and finding excuses for those mysterious "appointments."

Scheduling Interviews

The best strategy for scheduling job interviews is to set expectations with your prospects about the limits work places on your availability while remaining as flexible as possible. "Tell the recruiter or prospective employer early on about your hours of availability for phone calls," advises Lindsay Olson, a partner and recruiter with Paradigm Staffing in New York City.

Many initial screening interviews are conducted by phone. Tight schedules notwithstanding, it's critical to your present employment security to avoid doing phone interviews while the boss might be listening from the other side of the partition.

"Schedule your calls; don't try to do them on the fly," says Karen Loebbaka, director of recruiting for venture capital firm Bay Partners in Cupertino, California.

Even communicating with the prospective employer to arrange the interview can be problematic. "You've got to be creative -- maybe take your lunch hour from 1 to 2," when more managers at the prospective employer are likely to be back at their desks to take your call, says Melanie Szlucha, a job interview coach in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Some impatient employers and recruiters may not be satisfied with the once-a-day email habit of job seekers who wisely want to avoid their work computers. "Get Web service for your cellphone, or get a BlackBerry," recommends Olson. "Ten dollars a month for Web access is a small price to pay."

Pulling a Clark Kent

You know the drill: You work in a khakis or jeans office, but you've got to wear a suit to a lunch interview. If you need to pull a Clark Kent, plan what will serve as your phone booth in advance.

"I've changed my clothes in my car in a deserted parking lot," says Szlucha. "You can also use hotel or library restrooms." But the restroom of the coffee shop nearest the office is a bad place to dress up incognito.

Another tactic is to create a diversion with decoy dress-up days. "Start wearing dress clothes to work one or two days a week," says Szlucha. You may receive suspicious glances and knowing remarks at first, but the reaction likely will fade over time.

You can reduce the risk of raising suspicions by not dressing up more than necessary for a particular interview. "Call the receptionist or someone in HR and ask what's the dress code," advises Szlucha. "For your interview, go one level up from there."

Making Excuses

Now to face your biggest cold-sweat moment this side of the interview: communicating your workday absence to the boss.

Some observers advise unforthcoming honesty. "You need to maintain a very straightforward approach," says Brenda Greene, author of You've Got the Interview: Now What? "If anyone questions you, say you have an appointment. The less explaining you do, the less you'll have to cover up."

But if your employer corners you to ask about your "appointment," deception can be justified, some believe. "One should tell the truth when at all possible," says Michael Hoffman, director of the Center for Business Ethics at Bentley College. "But it depends on the situation and environment you're working in. If you see no alternative, you may be forced to tell less than the whole truth."

Sometimes telling the truth would cause a greater harm, says Hoffman. "So it might be that saying you have a doctor's appointment is ethically permissible," he says.

The bottom line, Olson says: "Once you get to the point in your career where you need to make a change, there's nothing you can do about the need to lead a double life."

Latest Jobs

Sears
Posted: 12/19/2014
THORNTON, CO, 80020
Sears
Posted: 12/19/2014
LOUISVILLE, KY, 40222
LegalSource
Posted: 12/19/2014
Greenwich, CT, 06830
GENCO
Posted: 12/19/2014
Lebanon, TN, 37087
Babybliss
Posted: 12/19/2014
University Park, TX, 75205

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.11.10.17-220
eTrustLogo