How to Secretly Interview for a New Job

When you’re trying to leave your current job for bigger and better opportunities, you have to walk a fine line. Unless you have a hugely open relationship with your boss, you’ll need to keep your search under wraps. Until you’re ready to alert your current boss on your own terms, here are five ways to stealthily secure a new job.

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1. Don’t show up to work in your interview clothes.
One time I wore new socks and my entire office commented, which is to say that coworkers really do notice small changes in presentation. If you have a fairly casual workplace, your coworkers will definitely take note of your pencil skirt or blazer when you show up late from your “dental appointment.” Who’s your dentist, the Queen of England? Be sure to change before you go back to work.

2. Turn. Off. LinkedIn. Notifications.
Nothing will alert your coworkers to the fact that you’re job hunting quite like seeing that you’ve added “quantifiable gains,” “maximize,” or “key stakeholders” to your current job description. There is no reason to talk like that unless you are applying for a job — and even then, it’s a stretch.

3. Don’t print your resume at work.
So here you are, printing out a resume for a cool new job opportunity on your work printer because, hey, ink is expensive. Before you make it over to retrieve your file, someone finds your newly jargonized resume, and shouts “HEY, WHO PUT THE FANCY PAPER IN THE PRINTER? I JUST PRINTED A 20-PAGE DOC ON THE GOOD STUFF! OH WAIT GINA WHY IS YOUR RESUME IN HERE? WHY DO YOU THINK YOU MANAGE TWO PEOPLE? YOU’RE NOT A MANAGER, GINA.”

Best-case scenario: You race to the printer and snatch up your resume, which you clutch to your chest while walking back to your desk, making awkward eye contact with every person you pass. Nothing arouses suspicion quite like “Oh yeah, I’ve just got some … documents. Okay, see you later.”

4. Conduct all your correspondence via personal email.
Scenario: You’re leading a meeting and have your computer hooked up to the projector. You get an email notification from a competing company with the subject line “Meeting with our HR.” Amateur move, Gina.

Similarly, don’t scour job boards on your work computer. Just wait until you get home, open a bottle of wine, turn on Netflix, and job search like a grown-ass woman.

5. Make your fake illnesses as vague as possible.
So you get an email asking you to come in the next day for a job interview. Fantastic! Obviously, you call in sick/doctor appointment/personal emergency to your current job. But remember, you have to allow for the possibility of a second interview a few days later. Don’t stride in post-interview like you’re 100 percent healthy. Keep things very vague and reference follow-up appointments. Bonus points if your dudebro coworkers assume it's a “lady problem” (their words) and leave you alone for a blessed week.

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