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Is job hunting at work an acceptable practice?

A study revealed the increasing numbers of employees job hunting at work. Is this a smart move or an unethical practice that could hurt their careers?



typing in laptop

A study by AltoDigital revealed the increasing numbers of workers who look for other jobs while still being employed. The question now is: Should you do it or not?

In 2013, CNBC reported that 3 out of 10 employees are searching work online or are taking calls from a recruiter while doing their current job. Experts claim it may not be entirely wrong to send an email or two or to take calls, even. The rule of thumb, however, is to at least be discreet about it. After all, you are using the company’s resources such as phone or net connection to do your personal business.

Of course, there are still reasons why this has become an increasing trend for employees. For one, having a job makes an employee more attractive to hiring companies than those looking for employment without present work. Per Forbes, Sara Menke, a chief executing of staffing firm in San Francisco, keeping your day job while looking for other opportunities is only logical. It makes sense to maintain a steady supply of income until there is a better offer for new employment. Having a job while looking for other opportunities also gives employees a leverage to ask for a competitive salary.

Job application form.

Job hunting at work: Is it the right thing to do? (Source)

Still, it is a delicate issue to be handled. For one, searching for jobs, not just while you’re employed, but while you are at work, might be frowned upon. After all, companies expect employees to work at the office during work hours. Doing such an activity at work could also have serious consequences such as disciplinary actions or worse getting fired. It may be best to avoid using your company’s resources in order to find other opportunities. Look for venues outside work such as your house or cafes and use your own devices to do your job search.  

Ethical issues might also arise especially if you are entertaining offers from direct competitors. Many companies value integrity and confidentiality a lot. An overlap in your current job and your job search may raise questions of commitment and loyalty both in your current company and in your prospects. You must weigh things out first and determine if the risk is worth it.

Some companies do not tolerate this kind of behavior as it reflects disloyalty. However, in some cases, the management may make considerations, such as when there is redundancy in positions. In that case, according to Ellis Whittam, companies may even give some time off to employees, so they could look for another job.

If at the end, if you are still determined, at least do not brag about it. That way, you can stay put when you decide not to pursue other opportunities for the meantime. Do not tell colleagues and avoid making naming your co-workers as your reference. Remember not to talk about your employers during interviews. Keep it off social media platforms. Most importantly, do not act differently, letting your current work slide because of it. Maintain your level of hard work every day.

And if your supervisors ask about it, be honest.

Angelique Moss is a London-based entrepreneur, writer, and traveller. The world of business, finance, and technology, is her preferred cup of tea. She also writes about the developments and discussions on health, art, luxury and media. A top writer for several Medium publications, she has published hundreds of widely read articles on investing, stocks, global markets, cannabis, and technology for multiple platforms. She is also interested in culture, history, and social affairs.