This one is a really interesting topic and one I hadn’t considered writing about until a friend recently shared with me the struggle she was having with interview guilt whilst going through the recruitment process for a role with a new potential employer. The interview itself wasn’t what she was nervous or anxious about, it was more to do with the fear of her current workplace finding out and the guilt she felt from going on an interview during the workday. The fear of judgement. The fear of being exposed. The feeling of cheating.
I don’t think my friend is alone here. I think that many of us have probably suffered the feeling of “interview guilt” at one stage or another in our lives. That feeling like you’re cheating on one job with another. Dipping your toe in the water of a new working relationship. Teasing yourself with the prospect of what could be. Has this ever happened to you? How did you feel? What did you do?
As part of my role, I am often meeting people who are looking for an opportunity to join our organisation. People who are looking for a new challenge, a new career path, or a new opportunity to make their mark. So, with that said, perhaps I have a slightly different view on things than the average person who isn’t living in the recruitment space on the regular.
My view is this – people interviewing for a new role whilst still in their current role is what makes the business world go around. Almost everyone who has joined a new business has had to leave another business. Almost everyone we have head-hunted, poached or lured into a new organisation, has left another organisation. And the organisation that they left will then go and lure someone new from somewhere else. And so, the cycle goes on. And on. And on. Therefore – my view on this remains simple. We are all either doing the cheating, or facilitating the cheating in some way, shape or form and at some point in our working lives.
Back to my friend. She felt immense guilt for going to an interview at 10.30am in the morning. A tough time of the day to be honest, and one that as someone in the recruitment game I try to avoid doing this to people as much as possible. It makes it tough and it often puts them in a position where they have to lie. However, my advice to my girlfriend was this – you are entitled to a break during your workday. You take an hour for lunch, therefore consider this as your lunch. Brunch if you will.
Bottom line. You have nothing to feel guilty about. When interviewing for roles, yes you need to exercise a level of discretion. Yes, you need to ensure you don’t flip the bird completely to your workplace and ‘check out’ of your role before you’ve even been made a new offer. But No, you should not harbour guilt for allowing yourself to hear what may (or may not be) on the table as part of your own career path.
Why? Because good can come from a job interview either way. How, you ask? Well, consider this – a) you are either now in a position to be reminded about the good gig you are on in your current workplace and then perhaps you may appreciate it more. Or b) you may also be enlightened to the fact that there may be a better suited opportunity out there for you.
Although the awkwardness of juggling interviews as well as a full time job is probably something you can’t avoid, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the risk of exposing yourself too early in the game. Particularly, if you don’t feel like you have a relationship with your boss where you can be open enough about the fact you are looking.
Firstly, as much as you can, try to schedule your interviews either early in the morning or later in the day. This makes it easier to be a bit more subtle when you are interviewing and allows you to start early, finish early, or vice versa and not draw as much attention to the big gap in your work day. Depending on your recruiter and the hiring managers schedule this may not always be possible, but it is completely reasonable to ask the question.
Secondly, keep your output up in your current role and don’t stuff up your current job just because you might of decided you were open to another. Not only does it not leave a good taste in your current employers mouth, but the world is a small place and you should be able to hold your head high and maintain a level of pride knowing that you have continued to deliver in your current role.
Also, if you need some additional tips on your interview style and how to prepare, maybe you need to check out one of my previous blog posts that tells you now to nail your interview and not walk away with regrets. Check it out HERE.
If you need help with your interview style, or perhaps are just after some career guidance or direction – I can help. Book one of my 20-minute free coaching consults here and let’s get you out of your own way!