American professionals are apparently not bashful about job hunting on their current company's dime.
In fact, 60% of American workers used the job placement hot line at the outplacement consultancy firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas while employed.
"Even with conditions that are more conducive to job switching, looking for a new job while employed is no easy task," the company notes in a statement. "The primary challenge is that an effective job search is, in itself, a full-time job."
As Challenger, Gray & Christmas states, some job hunting tasks - think updating a resume and checking out online job sites - can be done at night. But others, like actually going to job interviews and talking with potential employers are mostly done during weekday working hours.
"This leaves the working job seeker limited options," the firm adds. "He or she can use personal or sick leave to attend these meetings. However, if the job seeker is scheduling several meetings a week, which is the ideal scenario for a successful job search, paid time off and/or sick leave could quickly run out."
The temptation is to knock out the job search at work, when potential employers are actively at work filling job posts. But giving into that temptation and looking for a new job, while on your current job, is fraught with trouble.
To illustrate that point, TheStreet reached out to career experts, who helped us build a "top five" list of risks associated with hunting for a new job at your current workplace.
1. Co-workers may not be trustworthy - "They may share your secret with the boss," says Cheryl Palmer, a certified career coach with CallToCareer.com. "I knew of a woman who told a co-worker that she was looking for a new position, thinking that she could trust this person. She was unpleasantly surprised when a new employee showed up for work and informed her that she was to replace her. When the employee confronted the boss about it, he replied, 'You were looking for a new job anyway.' It was her co-worker who told the boss about her search for another position."
2. Your company may regularly monitor what sites you visit - "If your company regularly checks to see what sites its employees have been using, that could spell trouble for you," Palmer adds. "Going to sites like Careerbuilder.com or Monster.com immediately communicate to the company that you are looking for a new job. You could be replaced before you're ready to leave."
3. Your computer may be monitored - Even if you don't actively search on job related sites during the day, don't sign into your preferred internet search engine at work, advises Brandy Sipos, founder of Integrity Financial Services Group, who once looked or a job while on the clock with an employer. "For example, if you sign into Google on your work computer, it will show the history of everything you've done on other devices that are signed into that account, including the history from your phone and home computer." Either use an alternative search engine at work, or be sure to clear your history within your browser.
4. Your employer may catch you on social media - Don't advertise that you are job hunting on any form of social media, says Sipos. "Savvy employers do check these from time to time and you never know who in your circle of friends knows someone you work with," she says. "Gossip spreads quickly."
5. You may be violating a workplace contract - Increasingly, employers are stipulating in hiring contracts that employees can't look for a new post while on the job, says Michael Jacob, founder of OnlineResumeBuilders.com. (Jacob once launched his own job search while unhappy at another job. "You really don't know what you're capable of when you're unhappy work," Jacob says. "But you don't want to live with regrets, either.")
Taking the high road is a more guilt-free option, although that doesn't mean you have to outright admit to an employer you're looking for a new line of work.
"Employees need to ask themselves a tough question," says Leigh Steere, co-founder of Managing People Better, LLC, near Denver. "If I engage in non-work activities on company time or with company resources, how is that different from stealing money from my employer?"
If you find yourself needing to schedule an interview during your work day, ask for paid or unpaid time off, Steere advises. "If your boss asks why, just say, 'I have a time-sensitive personal matter I need to attend to, and the place isn't open on the weekend,'" sh says. "Don't just sneak out without explanation."
Or, if someone sees you entering a competitor's facility, or a prospective employer accidentally tips off a colleague to your search, be honest about it. "Say, 'Yes, I went to an interview there,'" Steere says. "Your employer may be taken aback, but it's best practice to tell the truth. Your honesty, your integrity is your most important professional asset."
As Steere says, employers expect that employees will be solicited by recruiters, or choose to initiate job searches. The risk is to do so with honesty. "It's the sneaking around, using company resources or time for non-business reasons, lying, and so forth that can be detrimental to your career," she says.