Opportunity comes once in a lifetime?
March 14, 2011 4:06 PM   Subscribe

How do confidential job searches happen?

So, I like my job, a lot. I get to do extremely interesting things with my time, get to father awesome projects, and the atmosphere is super-positive.

But, I've recently been contacted by one of the big guys. Basically the one where everyone's dying to work, where I'd likely be paid about twice as much as now, etc. Apparently my name was dropped there, and they've checked out what I've been doing, and were relatively impressed (or, enough to drop a line). I'm not entirely convinced I'd want to work there - here i have the luxury of control and the niceness of a small company - but it's mighty tempting.

I usually shrug off recruiters for other jobs, but this is the kind of thing you can't really straight-up ignore. If I give this a shot, how does it work with interviewing such that I don't lose my current sweet gig? The job would be on the opposite coast, and they tend to interview on-location.

And if I say "not now" would this ping still help me if in a few years I am actually interested?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total)
They would probably fly you out there on a weekend for interviews, or ask you to take a Friday off.
posted by notsnot at 4:11 PM on March 14, 2011

Yeah, in the beginning of my career, I just took personal days off (a Thursday-Friday here and there) to take interviews at other companies without jeopardizing my current position. Tell them you have a job and wouldn't be able to take a ton of time off, and I'm sure they could accomodate you at some level, especially if you're hand-picked for a team somewhere.
posted by mathowie at 4:24 PM on March 14, 2011

As far as I can tell, the only real concern is the interview. You should already be doing all communication through personal (not work) channels - use Gmail instead of your work email (you do have a personal email account with a professional-sounding name, right?), don't check that personal email while at work, don't visit the other company's website while at work, step away from your office or find a VERY private place when taking calls from your prospective employer, don't put your resume on your work computer. Anything that passes through your current employer's tubes could possibly be seen by them, so don't do it.

For the onsite interview: do you tell your current employer everything you do? I would just ask for the time off - maybe a day, maybe a day-and-a-half including travel. If your prospective employer is any good, they'll schedule a time that works for you, so you can minimize awkwardly missing work. The prospective employer knows you're employed and have obligations. You don't owe your current boss a big explanation. Just say you had some personal stuff come up.

Now, if it would be weird to take time off without a decent explanation (e.g., you and your boss share lots of info), you could do what I did the last time I had an interview. I'm not proud of it, and in retrospect I could probably have navigated it without this, but I lied. I told them I had an out-of-town friend coming in, which was very handy when I had to reschedule and just blamed it on the friend. Of course, if you lie and then take the job, they will know. And you will have forever burned that bridge. So I'm going to recommend just keeping mum and taking generic 'personal time,' because lying is a) disrespectful to other people and b) the nuclear option - there's no going back.
posted by Tehhund at 4:31 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Years ago I had a job opportunity on the West Coast. I worked in DC. IIRC, they flew me out Friday night, I spent the weekend, interviewed all day on Monday, took the red-eye home and went straight to work from the airport. So I only took one day off. I got the offer, but passed on it. Since this company reached out to you, and they know you are employed, they will almost certainly work with you on the timing.

Just don't reflexively check in on 4 Square from the opposite coast airport ;)
posted by COD at 5:27 PM on March 14, 2011

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