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How to Search for a New Job without Your Manager Finding Out

Posted on 27th November 2018 by Parker Bridge

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When it comes to job searching, many candidates struggle with whether they should tell their boss straight away or not. Ultimately, unless you have an open relationship with your manager, you should wait until after you have a job offer before you tell your manager of your departure to avoid jeopardizing your current employment. That said, this does pose the difficult and stressful task of discretely finding a new job without your boss finding out. We’ve put this guide together to help you navigate searching for a new role when you can’t be honest with your manager.

Keep Your Job Search Personal

Firstly, be mindful of where, when, and how you are looking for a new job. Whilst you can scroll through a job board on your mobile phone during your lunch break, don’t use a work computer, phone or email account to search for jobs. Having several tabs open of vacancies or recruitment companies during working hours is not only unprofessional and disrespectful, but also a quick way for your manager to find out and bring your loyalty or commitment into question.

You should also be mindful of updating or printing your CV during working hours. The last thing you want to do is absentmindedly print your CV off, then get caught up in or distracted by something else, and subsequently have a colleague, or worse – your manager, pick up your printing for you.

The final point on your time is when or not it is appropriate to take calls from Recruiters. If you’ve applied for some roles lately, then be ready to answer your phone but if you’re at work when the Recruiter tries to get in touch, don’t be afraid to ask them to call you back during your next break or after work – don’t worry, we’re used to it.

Don’t Update or Create Your Seek Profile

We know, it sounds counterproductive but it’s a fair point that a lot of employed job seekers miss. Whenever a user updates their information on Seek, including uploading a new copy of their CV, the job board will show that person’s profile to Recruiters who are actively looking for people just like them. If your manager is currently looking for potential new employees via Seek’s Talent Search platform, it is plausible that your profile will show up on top of their recommended list of candidates as soon as you update it.

Don’t Update LinkedIn Unless You Have Sharing Turned Off

This is a similar issue as with Seek. LinkedIn will broadcast to your whole network when you update your profile with a fancy new headline and your recent skills and achievements. This means that if your Manager sees these updates, they may have several difficult questions for you. Unlike Seek, however, you can turn this problem off and prevent LinkedIn from informing your network whenever you make a change to your profile. 

When you’re updating any part of your LinkedIn profile, you should see the above box and if you turn it off, LinkedIn won’t tell everyone about your updates. (LinkedIn is constantly changing their UX Design – so if you don’t see the above box, Google where they’ve moved it too.)

Don’t Turn up to Work in a Suit if You Don’t Usually

This one is a dead giveaway. If your company’s dress code is not usually business attire Monday to Friday, then turning up to work in a full suit will certainly raise a few eyebrows and some questions. In most cases, you are going to still want to turn up to your interview dressed to impress and there is a simple solution to this problem: bring a change of clothes with you and get changed before heading out to your interview.

If this doesn’t work for any reason, then you can check with the Recruiter whether turning up in casual clothes is a possibility. We often have candidates come in dressed in casual clothes when on their lunch breaks, so most Recruiters will understand.

Don’t Schedule Your Interviews During Business Hours

There is one more point to highlight whilst we are on the topic of interviews. Be mindful of when you schedule your interviews for if you’ve been asked to interview for several roles. Whilst taking a half day off once to secretly attend an interview may go unnoticed, doing it more than once in a short space of time, won’t. 

Recruiters often work to the professional and personal schedules of candidates so don’t be afraid to explain that interviewing during your standard business hours may jeopardize your current employment. If you do book a half day off, try to fit in as many interviews as you can, otherwise, you should politely request an interview either in the early morning or late afternoon.


Although in an ideal world, we hope that you do have a transparent relationship with your manager and you would not have to do any the above whilst searching for your next role. That said, if you cannot be honest with your boss then we hope the above advice has helped to make this difficult task easier. If you would like a confidential chat about your career, please do get in touch. Otherwise, check out our blog for more job searching and career advice.