Job Hunting? Be Very, Very Quiet.

It only takes one click on a job board or social networking site for an employer to show you the door far sooner than you intended.

Ross Macpherson, president of Career Quest, says a stealth job search is essential if you believe you’ll be fired or in trouble if your boss knows you’re looking.

“Don’t do any job search activity on the company email or phones,” he advises. “Meet recruiters off hours and in different places. Emphasize to everyone that this is a confidential search. Ask them to contact you before they contact anyone in your behalf.”

He warns about going to work dressed up for an interview if you normally wear business casual at work.

“Change off-site, or everyone will immediately know something’s up.”

And don’t tell your friend in the next cubicle that you’re looking. Workplace secrets usually are poorly kept.

If you’re posting your resume online, Macpherson says, consider replacing your name with “Confidential Candidate” and using job descriptors rather than the name of your company or job title.

There’s no guarantee that tactic will get your resume past screeners who are looking “for perfect round pegs for round holes,” but it may be safer than the prospect of getting fired if you’re sure your current employer will react badly.

Macpherson recommends turning off the notification feature that tells your LinkedIn contacts when you’ve updated your profile, if it raises job hunting suspicions.

And, although this runs counter to the usual networking purpose, you might want to turn off the feature that allows others to see your contacts “if you don’t want people to see that you’ve added a bunch of recruiters,” he says.

Other advice: Find out which recruiters your current employer uses “and avoid them so they don’t send your resume back to your boss.”

Conversely, you may want your search known if you think that it can be a bargaining chip for better pay or for a promotion.

But a word to the wise: That works best when you have a job offer in hand.


Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at The Kansas City Star. Her “Your Job” blog at includes daily posts about job-related issues of wide interest. Readers may write to her at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413, or by email at


About Buzz Smith

Welcome. My name is Charles “Buzz” Smith and I’m the SR Curmudgeon of Consulting Services at OPI National Outplacement. My role, in addition to agitating our sales personnel, and consultants is to take the lead on delivering outplacement and career transition services that are effective. I blog about career stuff when my wife of 40 years, Linda banishes to the garden.

Posted on January 19, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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