Can I Talk About My Side Gig In A Full-Time Job Interview?

If you've got a side hustle, you're not alone: Nearly four in 10 Americans moonlights in some capacity, according to a June 2018 survey. Side gigs are great for extra cash and can provide a necessary creative outlet, but they can also get tricky when you're job hunting. Should you broach the topic when applying for a full-time job? It depends.

side gig

Here's what you should consider before mentioning your side hustle to a hiring manager.

Is Your Side Gig Listed On Uour Resume?

If yes, it's probably directly applicable to the position for which you're applying. For instance, are you a graphic designer who takes on side projects to build your portfolio? In this case, your freelance experience could be an asset—and you might even be showing off some of your work during the interview.

Is Your Side Hustle Unrelated To The Position?

If your second job involves making and selling crafts, refereeing youth sports, or selling essential oils or skin care products, you probably don't need to mention it during an interview. If you plan to carefully keep your extracurricular work out of the office, there's likely no need to bring it up. In most cases, an unrelated side hustle wouldn't be an asset in the job search, unless you've had such extraordinary success your work showcases internal drive or an entrepreneurial spirit.

Does Your Side Hustle Show Up In Google Results?

If a quick Internet search for your name and location reveals you own a photography business or write freelance articles, definitely mention it to your potential employer. You want to control the message—not the Internet.

Do You Plan To Continue Freelancing?

If you plan to continue freelancing even if you accept a new position, it's a good idea to clarify any concerns your hiring manager might have upfront. Make sure the company's policies don’t prohibit moonlighting, and confirm your new manager understands your freelance work will be conducted strictly on your own time and with your own resources. If your side hustle is important to you—either in terms of extra income or creative fulfillment—it's much better to find out such work is prohibited before you take a new position. There are plenty of employers that recognize the realities of the new gig economy and will be supportive of your side work, so long as it doesn't interfere with your duties. A company that prohibits moonlighting isn't a good fit if you're devoted to your side hustle.

Whether you mention your outside work or not, once you take your new position, set yourself up for success by following these rules:

  • Don't use your company's resources for your side business. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
  • Don't compete with your employer. If it's a service your company provides, it's unethical to provide that service as a sole practitioner.
  • Manage your side hustle on your own time. Don't take related phone calls during the workday.
  • Monitor whether your freelance work is interfering with your ability to complete your primary work, and cut back if it starts to.
  • If your side hustle involves selling products, be sure to learn your company's culture before hitting up your coworkers. It might be perfectly acceptable to leave a catalog on the break-room table with your contact information…or it might be frowned upon.

Mentioning a side hustle during an interview can be risky, but not mentioning it can be, too. Be sure to base your decision on thorough consideration. If all works out, you'll land a great new position and be able to keep your side gig, too.

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