Secrets to a secret job search

Sunday, August 22, 2010

-- Use your own equipment. Many companies track Internet usage on organization computers. "If you're constantly on Careerbuilder or Monster, what kind of message are you sending," executive career coach Cheryl Palmer said. It's even worse to send a résumé or inquiry using corporate e-mail. Employers don't like to see that because they know that you're liable to do the same thing on their time and e-mail system, she said.

-- Pick off-hours for interviews. Be honest with the recruiter or hiring manager that you cannot leave work for a two-hour interview, plus commute time. Instead, schedule a breakfast interview at 7 a.m. or ask if you could meet after work. If you could take a half day off without attracting notice, do that.

-- Be discreet with phone calls. If you get a screening call, ask if you can call the recruiter back in 10 minutes. Then find an empty conference room for your conversation. Or schedule it for before or after work hours so colleagues won't overhear.

-- Refine your reference checks. Enlist bosses from previous positions -- those you held two or three years ago. Skip the current supervisor, or at least ask that the hiring manager hold off on contacting her until an offer is imminent. Instead, request that a trusted co-worker serve as a reference, someone you have a "good and confidential relationship with," Palmer said.

-- Vickie Elmer

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