Dealing With Job Seekers: YOUR Employees Looking for Work

by Michael Haberman on February 19, 2008 · 0 comments


Penelope Trunk, of the Brazen Careerist, offered job hunting advice to her readers. The title of her blog is How to Job Hunt From Your Current Job. In her blog she lists the following tips:

  1. Don’t Feel Guilty
  2. Schedule Interviews at the beginning or end of the day (or lunch)
  3. Don’t dress up for interviews if you can help it
  4. Don’t do phone interviews from your cube

Her justification for point 1 is that everyone does it. You just can’t do it during the day from home. Plus, everyone knows that the person that works is the more desirable candidate. The Internet makes it easy to do, so why not. She does say, “Get your work done well at your current job no matter what. You owe that to your employer. Beyond that, your time is yours and job hunt if you want.”

She recommends “personal” time for the interviews and not raising suspicions with your current employer by not dressing for the interview and not doing any phone interviews while at work. One other piece of advice she gives is “So you don’t need to be sneaky beyond what is ethically comfortable, but you don’t need to beg the question either.” (My emphasis)

Having been a corporate HR manager and recruiter I have conflicting feelings about her advice. And I wonder if other HR managers do as well. I don’t really want my employees to spend their time at work looking for a different job. I want them doing my work. And they are using my equipment to do their job search. Yet at the same time I may contact people during the day who are candidates for positions with my company. And I want them to come interview with me during the working day, because I don’t want to work at night to interview. (Though I have done both phone interviews and face-to-face at night.)

If I find someone is looking for work, because they have Internet searches that show up, or emails that indicate they are interviewing, do I speed their job search up by letting them go? Or do I start a “recovery effort” by trying to convince them to stay. Do I put blocks on my system of all the major job sites? Do I investigate an employee whose productivity has fallen? Do I look for patterns in Internet activity of certain company searches? But, at the same time, accept resumes and inquiries from people during work hours knowing full well they are “cheating” their current employer?

Leave some comments and tell me how you handle this situation? Is it a conflict for you as well?

By they way is “sneaky beyond what is ethically comfortable” an oxymoron?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous February 19, 2008 at 10:59 am

I’m not an HR Professional, so I would fall closer to the ’employer’ side. I would agree with not using company time to search for another job. Do the searches at night at home. I would think the internet would make it possible to ‘announce’ that you are looking to a potential employer. Arrange phone calls for lunchtime or before/after hours. Take vacation/personal time off if you want to seriously look. That way you can be focused on the search and be available for the HR professionals of the prospective employers.

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Anonymous February 20, 2008 at 10:59 am

I do not think that those that search for a job at work really feel that guilty. They obviously do not feel guilty about using the company equipment for personal gain.

I am an advocate for using personal time to conduct your job search. This is not as sneaky and is also less likely to distract coworkers.

If you owned the company, would you want your employee looking for another job while you paid them?

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Anonymous June 4, 2009 at 8:22 pm

As a business owner of a small company this is a huge problem…having employees looking for on job on my time is unacceptable. If you are unhappy in your position speak with your employer or look for a job on your own time using your own pc.

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