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How to Job Hunt Ethically While You’re Still Employed

  • November 8, 2019

The average employee will now change jobs 12 times in their working life – that’s a lot of application forms and interviews to get through.

Where do you find the time in your busy life to get ahead in your career? There are ways that you can job hunt ethically while you are in your current post, which I will cover in this article.

First of all, let’s get one thing clear – do you really want to leave your current role? Starting a job hunt because you are disgruntled with your current employer is never a good idea – what are your reasons for wanting to leave your current company?

Perhaps you haven’t been given the pay increase you were promised at your last review, or a staffing problem has meant that you are dealing with an increased workload. Talking through your issues with your line manager is always the best thing to do if you feel unhappy with the way things are working out in your current role, as problems can be solved and your employer will want to keep a current employee rather than begin the recruiting process once again, which is becoming increasingly difficult in the current skills-short job market.

However, if you are adamant that now is the time to move companies, ensuring your job hunt is conducted graciously will set you in good stead with both your current, and future employers – burning professional bridges is never a good idea.

Job hunting ethically while you are still employed signifies a big part of your personality. The fact that you are respectful to an employer and team that you have says a lot about who you are.

Increasingly, in the skills short job market, employers are looking for people who have a good attitude and respectable morals, just as much as they are looking for skills and qualifications.

Our article today discusses the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of conducting a principled job search while you are still employed.

1. Don’t – Job Search While You Are at Work

The main thing to remember when beginning your ethical job search is that even if you have mentally moved on from your current role and are wanting your next position as soon as possible, until the last moment of your employment with your current employer, you need to ensure that you fulfil all of your outstanding duties.

We understand that it can be a tumultuous time when you are preparing for a job move, and it might seem like every second counts when searching for your next role, but resist the temptation to use your working hours to search for jobs online – and applying from your work PC is a big ‘no-no’.

Do – Use your Own Time

We also understand that some of the best roles get snapped up quickly, and so it always pays to be diligent in your job search. Instead of being tempted to scan job boards on your current company time, use your lunch break to search and apply for jobs, or dedicate an hour before work to your job search.

2. Don’t – Take Too Much Time Out

Your prospective new employer will understand that you might be limited to what times and days you can arrange interviews – and if they aren’t, this is a red flag in itself over their principles. You might have no holidays left to take, and your current company might be running on a skeleton team where every absence is impactful.

If you must arrange interviews during your work time, try to give as much notice as possible – don’t leave it until the day before to ask for an ‘emergency appointment’ – keep in mind the needs of your current colleagues and the business as a whole.

Do – Schedule Interviews at a Time Convenient to You (Where Possible)

We know that it can be tricky scheduling interviews around your current work, so wherever possible ask for interviews to be arranged after work or during your lunch hour if it is possible to get there and back.

A client I recently worked with selected their final candidate based upon the fact that they rescheduled their interview because they didn’t want to let their current employer down – it proved how diligent and trustworthy he was.

3. Don’t – Post Your CV on Public Job Boards

Most online job boards have an option for you to post your CV publicly, but we suggest you refrain from doing this. You never know who might spot your CV, and your current employer might become disgruntled if word gets out that your CV has been seen and that you’re looking to leave.

Do – Tell Your Potential New Employer About Your Current Employment Situation

Apply through the private channels and ask your prospective employer to be sensitive if you think that it might cause a problem for you where you currently are; they will understand and value your honesty.

4. Don’t – Tell Your Current Colleagues About Your Plans to Leave

You might think that you’ve got a great relationship with your colleagues, but things can take a sudden turn when the question of leaving arises – we have worked with candidates for many years, and have witnessed this all too often. Sometimes it is done maliciously, sometimes it is mere office gossip, but the fact remains that you don’t want anyone to know about your plans until the deal has been sealed.

Do – Wait Until Your New Position is Finalised to Say Anything

Wait until you have signed your new contract to mention anything to your colleagues, and remember – tell your boss first before anyone else. Finding out in the corridor or at the water cooler will make you seem duplicitous – not something you want your lasting reputation to be.


Working with a recruiter is the best way to take the stress out of your new job application. They will find and arrange your interviews at a time that suits you, will sort out your references and make the entire process seamless. If you need help upgrading your job search, get in contact with us today – we can help.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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