Lights on The Passive Job Search

The hours tick by on the clock in your office. Again today you felt like you were dying slowly. You cannot keep on with this job, but you don’t have the finances to quit without having a Plan B. How do you discretely search for a new job? Lights on the passive job search.

According to the popular saying, looking for a job is practically a full-time job. However, when you are already working 40 hours a week, it’s nearly impossible to actively look for a new job. The passive job search therefore comes to the rescue. It is defined as follows. “A person who is working, but open to proposals,” summarizes Marie Nolwenn Trillot, president of TOTEM, a Montreal staff placement agency.

Subtilty, even on LinkedIn

What can these workers do, who are seeking better? Can LinkedIn really be used wisely? “This is the big question of the moment,” Marie Nolwenn Trillot responds. Everyone wants to know the place the professional social media should take in the job search. “You cannot write ‘Open to other opportunities’ – this would not be very strategic,” she points out. Even workers actively searching would no longer dare to write such a message, for fear of appearing desperate.

To do it subtly, Marie Nolwenn Trillot advises leaving the profile as is, without any promotional message, but paying attention to the details. For example, emphasizing your strengths and remaining open to calls. “Recruiters always assume that a person is potentially looking for a better job,” she says. 

Networking 101

Without necessarily dedicating all their free time, Marie Nolwenn Trillot suggests passive searchers take in interest in activities in the field, question their friends, attend social events… And in this kind of event, put forward their strengths without however shouting them from the rooftop, she warns. In her experience, it is through networking and references that a job can be found in Quebec, so this is especially what she would bet on. See 5 networking mistakes that undermine your approach.

Passive job search in transparency 

Denis Morin, professor UQAM’s Department of Organization and Human Resources, puts passive searchers on guard. He is not very comfortable with this idea of secrecy and insists on transparency above all. “You don’t leave an organization, but you leave a supervisor or co-workers.” In his view, it goes without saying that respect must prevail in business. This respect includes announcing your intentions to quit a job.

“Maybe I am naive,” he says, “but you must always maintain good contacts with the employer.” He cites as an example a worker who decided to change jobs for a competitor who paid more. Two years after the big leap, the worker decided to return to the initial company where the position was paid less, but where the work environment was much better. “It’s a small world, and you never know what will happen in the future,” the professor says.

Confiding that you want to change jobs can also work in negotiation to have better working conditions. “Before changing jobs, there are other recourses,” Denis Morin says.

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