Put an End to the Secret Job Search

I recently had a conversation with a recruiter in which he told me he doesn’t advise his clients who are employed to post their resumes on job boards because their current employer may see it. I’m not a fan of indiscriminately posting ones resume online either but not for that reason. I just don’t happen to believe utilizing the major job boards is the best, most efficient method of finding a job.

Of course this conversation wasn’t the first time I’d heard someone suggest that a job seeker should keep their job search under wraps for fear of repercussions from their current employer. The irony being that an employer that would penalize an employee for job hunting i.e. wanting to find a position that utilizes his/her knowledge and skills, pays well, offers professional development opportunities, is fulfilling, etc. can probably blame itself for driving the employee to look for another job in the first place. What’s wrong with seeking a better opportunity? Why should this have to be done in secret?

Going back to my point about the major job boards, why throw your resume up and see what sticks when you can do something that makes a lot more sense and will be a lot more effective – utilize your networks. When I am looking for a job, I am not shy about letting it be known. You never know who might have just the right connection or opportunity. I also utilize social media – primarily LinkedIn and Twitter – and I would encourage any job seeker to do the same. You won’t do yourself any favors by limiting your search to posting your resume in anonymous mode on some huge job board.

As for employers, if you find out an employee is seeking employment elsewhere, don’t get mad. Employees who are dissatisfied tend to be less productive, so they may be doing you a favor. If the employee is a top performer, consider what, if anything, could be done to encourage them to stay. If there’s nothing to be done, wish them well and thank them for the service they provided to your organization when they move on to the next opportunity. Don’t behave like a petty, childish teenager and start treating the employee poorly i.e. not inviting them to meetings, keeping them off projects, etc.

We have to remember that people are not property. Employers do not own their employees. People have varying motivating factors and they don’t remain the same forever. There is absolutely no reason a person should have to sneak around simply because they seek a better or different employment opportunity. This is not a bad thing. Secrets, lies, dishonesty, lack of transparency and poor communication – those are bad things. A great place to work would not encourage those characteristics and behaviors in its employees, no matter how long they plan on staying. A not-so-great place to work shouldn’t be surprised someone is seeking other employment and should focus on retention vs. retaliation.

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