Generally most recruiters prefer an employed candidate over one who is unemployed. However, there are a lot more challenges for those applicants who have a job during the hiring process. Sneaking cellphones into the stairwell or faking sick days is difficult, but it has to be done at times, especially since most employers see this behaviour as being disloyal and warrants letting you go.
“In these days of mass layoffs, there isn’t the stigma attached to unemployment that there once was. But it can still create doubts, so an unemployed job hunter is smart to be well prepared to reassure the interviewer on this topic,” says Orville Pierson, author of the Unwritten Rules Of The Highly Effective Job Search.
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“I always have unemployed job hunters prepare and practice their answers to “Why did you leave your last job?” Without preparation, job hunters tend to make their answers much too long and far too defensive, sometimes inadvertently exacerbating the interviewer’s doubts.”
However, if you are unhappily employed, there are no opportunities in your current company and you’re looking for new opportunities, how do you schedule interviews and take calls from interested employers?
“Very discretely,” suggests career expert Laura George author of Excuse Me, Your Job Is Waiting. “Companies do not look favourably on employees being disloyal. Use your personal days (if possible).”
Make sure all of your communications with interested companies is done through your personal accounts and schedule your interviews accordingly.
“Use your cell phone and your home e-mail accounts for all job-hunting communication,” says Diane Stafford, workplace columnist for The Kansas City Star.
“If a call comes to your cell phone at work, ask for a moment to move into a private conference room or ask if you can set a time to call back.”
Todd Bermont author of 10 Insider Secrets To A Winning Job Search agrees that personal numbers and e-mails are best and also suggests scheduling vacation days instead of faking a sick day.
The key is to schedule vacation time ahead of when you can interview he advises. “Don’t use sick days, that is a sure giveaway to your current employer that you are looking. Instead, schedule days off on a couple of Fridays and try to interview on those Fridays. That way... you just want to take a day off to have an extended weekend.”
Although it may feel underhanded, you should always have a plan for your next career steps, says Pierson. “You should be cultivating contacts inside your organization in case you want to move to another department. You should have a list on paper (at home, not at work) of other employers you might be interested in, collect information about them and casually make contacts. Sooner or later you’re going to leave. Start planning now.”