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How to Interview for a Job When You Have a Job


Everyone’s heard the old adage that it’s easier to get a job when you have a job. Unfortunately, no one has come up with a pithy aphorism to help you figure out how to find time to go to an interview while still holding down your current gig.

As much as you’d like to be honest, it’s just not a good idea to tell the boss that you’re looking for another job. At best, you’ll be perceived as a short-timer, and at worst, it’ll look like you’re making a threat.

When it comes to finding ways to get out of work, says Job Searching expert Alison Doyle, your best bet is to plan interviews at the beginning or the end of the day, aim for lunch time, or have a lot of doctor’s appointments. Alison’s readers came up with a bunch of great excuses, including: migraines, sick family members, and, creepily, “appointment with an attorney to get wills.” Show us a boss who wants to dig into that, and we’ll show you a person who’s about to have big problems with Human Resources.

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Another issue for job seekers is getting recommendations. For folks who’ve been at their job a long time, or who have made a great deal of professional progress at their present company, the issue of finding people who can put in the good word can get complicated really quickly.

A reader recently wrote into’s Job Doc with a question about getting references from someone at their current employer. Basically, this person wanted to know if there were any laws that forbid someone at a company from telling HR or the boss that an employee is looking for work outside the organization.

The short answer is no. Columnist Elaine Varelas advises the reader to “consider the person’s role in the organization” before asking them to serve as a reference. In other words, if they’re planning on staying awhile, they might perceive it to be in their best interest to rat you out.

So words to the wise: When looking for people to recommend you to prospective employers, choose someone you know and trust.

More From PayScale:

Why Job Seekers Shouldn’t Whitewash Their Social Media Profiles

10 Outrageous Resume Fails to Avoid

Want to Be Rich? Move to One of These Three Upwardly Mobile States


(Photo Credit: noii’s/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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