insight magazine

8 Tips to Hush-Hush Your Job Hunt

These simple steps can help keep your job search under the radar. By Bridget McCrea | Digital Exclusive - 2017


Unlike the days when want ads and personal referrals were the only way to find out about job opportunities and connect with employers, today’s accountants and finance pros have a plethora of online resources right at their fingertips. There are job boards to peruse, social media connections to be made, and online profiles to update.

But what happens when you already have a job and want to find new and/or better opportunities? That’s where the stealth job search comes in. By taking certain steps during your hunt, you can successfully maintain your current position while exploring new ventures.

Here are eight simple tips to help you do just that.

  1. Set your alarm clock an hour earlier

    If you’re already putting in long days at the office, then adding the “job hunter” hat to your busy schedule may feel impossible. Kathi Elster, an executive coach with K Squared Enterprises in New York, says one of the best ways to overcome this challenge is by simply setting your alarm one hour earlier in the morning. “Use that time to search job sites, submit your resumes, return emails, and interact with colleagues on sites like LinkedIn,” says Elster. “Then, use your lunch break to keep up with correspondence and other tasks related to your job search.”

  2. Utilize offsite, temporary office space

    Companies like WeWork and Workbar offer co-working space at a reasonable rate. You can use the space after work hours, keep a change of clothes there for interviews, and use computers, printers, and any other equipment you need. “Use this space to do your job searching, send out resumes, and talk to recruiters,” says Elster. “This is a far better alternative than trying to juggle the job hunt process while you’re at your own office desk.”

  3. Find new ways to network

    Even with technology as the great job hunt enabler, people still learn about new opportunities from in-person interactions. To tap into this treasure trove, find ways to network with people within (as well as outside of) accounting and finance. “Always be connecting with and meeting new people,” says Rose Cammarata, CPA, CGMA, vice president and controller at Mattersight Corp. in Chicago, an ICPAS board member and INSIGHT columnist. “Mention your career goals and you may be surprised at the number of opportunities someone can put you in touch with.”

  4. Don’t list references on your resume

    Everyone assumes that references will be furnished upon request anyway, so don't waste valuable space writing that, or risk your current employer being contacted at an inopportune time. If you have references outside of your immediate supervisors, “Call each one prior and ask them to keep it in confidence,” suggests Scott Love, a legal recruiter with The Attorney Search Group in Washington, D.C., “and also ask them to email you when they get a call and find out who it was that called to check the reference, including the person's name.” 

  5. Talk to your target employer about confidentiality

    “Share your valid concern about confidentiality to each person at every company in the hiring process,” Love advises.  For example, if you are dealing with the firm’s human resources department, ask them, "Who else besides yourself has access to my information?" “When you ask, tell them you admit that it sounds paranoid but that you have heard too many horror stories of people transitioning in your industry and that you respectfully request assurances that care will be given to keep your information in confidence,” says Love. “When people hear this request, they are very respectful and take it to heart.”

  6. Check your recruiter’s credentials

    If you work with an executive recruiting firm or staffing firm, make sure the recruiter possesses either industry credentials or is involved in a recruiting trade association, such as the American Staffing Association or the Association of Executive Search Consultants. “This does not guarantee anything other than the fact that the recruiter is a notch above his or her competitors as a professional,” Love points out, “but that in and of itself is usually an indication that they are more respectful of candidates in terms of confidentiality.” Finally, if you talk to a recruiter, Love advises asking if your information is in a shared national database and who else has access to it.

  7. Keep the job search consistent

    Cammarata advises that keeping potential job opportunities on your radar regardless of whether you’re ready to leave means you won’t raise red flags if you decide to start your search in earnest. “You should always be looking for a job, keeping your LinkedIn and other profiles up to date, and updating your resume,” says Cammarata. “If you’re doing these things on a regular basis, then it won’t seem like an anomaly when you kick a new job search into gear.”

  8. Talk to your current manager about it

    This may not sound too “stealthy,” but if your current manager isn’t an ogre, then he or she may actually understand and support your effort. “As a manager, I really wouldn’t want someone looking for a job under the radar,” says Cammarata. “I would actually help him or her, if I thought it was the right move for that person.”

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