How To Sneak Out Of The Office For A Job Interview

Job hunting while you're already employed can be a tricky scenario to navigate: Obviously you're not happy at your current job or you wouldn't be looking for a new one… but you also really, really don't want anyone to know you're thinking about moving on until you already have something lined up. With that in mind, how do you sneak out of the office for a job interview somewhere else? The answer: Not like this.

Fast Company's latest office etiquette video, “How Your Lies Sound When You Sneak Out,” shows us exactly what we sound like when making lame excuses as we try to weasel our way out of the office and onto an interview elsewhere. And while I'm sure most of us aren't this hilarious when we do so, either intentionally or unintentionally, it is still something of an eye-opener — and full of useful lessons, to boot. The do's and don'ts of going for a job interview while you're still employed are many, so let this video be your primer. The key? Is to remain inconspicuous. I realize this is often easier said than done, but regardless, you're going to want to put in the extra effort required to keep your activities flying below the radar. Trust me. It's for the best.

1. DO: Keep Your Excuses Brief

If someone asks you where you're going, keep it concise. “Just… out. To go for a walk. It's a little cold, so I threw on a blazer and a tie. I don't wear scarves” sounds a lot more conspicuous than, “Taking a break, be back in a few.”

2. DON'T: Deflect.

Although where we're all going in the grand scheme of things may be a worthy topic of conversation, getting all existential about the question, "Where are you going?" is not going to help you get out the door any less visibly.

3. DO: Keep It Simple

Do not say you're going to a funeral. Especially not your mom's. Or your uncle's. Or your dog's. Or your mom's, your uncle's, and your dog's, all in one go. Someone will call you on it.

4. DON'T: Get Combative

If someone asks you why you're so dressed up, it's not advisable for you to shoot a sharp, “Why are you so dressed down?!” right back at them. Again, the key is remaining inconspicuous. “I just like this dress/shirt/whatever” will suffice. Or, better yet, just dress the same way you always do (more on that below).

5. DON'T: Play Dumb

Admittedly, figuring out what to say if someone asks you point-blank whether you're going for a job interview is tricky. However, pretending you don't know what a job interview will not save you from this awkward situation.

You probably also don't want to admit, “Yes, I do. I hate this place,” either, though. Just, y'know… a word of advice.

So How Do You Avoid The Awkwardness In the First Place?

Being as sneaky as this cat is actually not that difficult; it just requires a little advanced planning on your part. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Schedule your interview on personal time. If you have vacation time, take a day or two off and schedule your interview then. Lunch breaks are also an option. You can even try asking your potential new employer if a meeting either before or after hours will work.
  • Don't dress differently than usual. If you have to change, bring your interview clothes with you separately and gussy yourself up somewhere else — not in your current office. The whole point of packing your interview outfit instead of wearing it is so that no one at your current place of employment sees you in it, remember?
  • Use your own electronic devices to job-hunt. As HuffPo commented, plenty of offices monitor their employees' work phones, computers, Internet usage at the office, and more. Use your own devices on your own time to avoid detection.
  • For the love of all that is holy, do NOT post anything about it on social media. It will get out, no matter how many privacy settings you have activated.
  • Be honest if directly confronted. Speaking to Forbes, business speaker, author, and Humor at Work president Michael Kerr noted that if you're asked directly by your supervisor or manager whether you're looking for a new job, it's best just to be honest. Said Kerr, “There's nothing to be gained by being deceptive — if indeed you've decided to keep the search under your hat — and it will threaten to bite you in the backside later.”

Check out the full video below for everything you absolutely shouldn't do when sneaking out of the office to go to a job interview. Oh, and don't forget to brush up on what you shouldn't say in the job interview itself, too.

Images: Fotolia; Fast Company (6); Giphy