News and advice on business etiquette — March 2015

It’s easy to find a job when you already have one. Plus, a new study shows senior level employees shop online at work more than other employees do.


Q: How should I go about finding a new job without my manager and colleagues getting wind of it?

A: You’re in luck — it’s always easier to find employment while comfortably employed. That said, be as respectful as you can to your team. For starters, don’t conduct any part of your job search while sitting at your desk. (Yes, it seems pretty obvious but you’d be surprised how often it happens.) The last thing you need is the boss spotting Workopolis on your screen while she’s walking by. Andrea Gibbens, a human resources professional in Toronto, says it’s a good plan to keep colleagues off your list of references if you don’t want word of your departure getting out. When you get to the interview stage, it doesn’t hurt to ask for an appointment after hours. If you have to cut out of work for a chance to nab your dream gig, try to get a meeting around lunch hour and be mindful of the time you’re spending away from the office. Last, don’t forget to speak highly of your company and peers — no matter what your circumstances are for wanting to get out of dodge. Prospective employers want to hear positivity from future hires. And if your soon-to-be new boss is friends with your current boss…. You get the idea.

— Stephanie Tarling


Shopaholic at work

Senior level employees — including C-suite executives, managers and supervisors — are more likely to shop online during work hours than other employees, according to a US survey by HR firm CareerBuilder. More than half (53%) of senior staff admit to making web purchases at the office, compared with 46% of other workers. Furthermore, respondents in professional/business (66%) and financial services (60%) are more apt to spend work hours shopping online than those in almost every other sector, except information technology (71%). "So long as productivity and customer service meet expectations, many employers are lenient in regards to a small amount of shopping at work," says Rosemary Haefner, VP of human resources at CareerBuilder. She advises following your company’s guidelines, adding 8% of employers surveyed have fired at least one person for shopping from the comfort of their swivel chair.

— Tamar Satov


More than money at stake

The worst part about making a poor hiring decision isn’t the cost of replacing the worker, say chief financial officers. In a US poll of more than 2,100 CFOs for staffing firm Robert Half, 39% of respondents cited lower staff morale as the single greatest impact of a bad hire, followed by lost productivity (34%). Monetary costs came in third, with 25% of the response. "A poor hire can cause friction as other employees are left to take on extra work and fix projects that weren’t done right the  first time," says Paul McDonald, senior executive for Robert Half. "Bad hiring decisions also can cause staff to question management’s judgment and even lose faith in company leaders."

— TS