There are few situations more awkward than finding out your current boss knows you are looking for a new job, but there are ways to handle this scenario which if carried out with finesse, can leave you relatively unscathed.
So if you are caught out by your boss, here’s 3 tips to handle the situation as best as possible:
If you’re employer has asked you straight-up if you are looking for a new job, be honest and admit you are. Chances are your poker face is not going to fool them, but most importantly you have no idea where they have gotten this intel from. Without knowing the source, there is no way to discredit their accusation. Even if there were a way to convince them otherwise, being honest about your intention to leave is simply the decent thing to do when all is said and done.
You probably will need to use them as a reference so you don’t want to screw up your chances of it being favourable. A disgruntled boss is not likely to write glowing references, or speak favourably to recruiters of lying previous employees.
A simple “honestly, yes, I have been looking around a little…” is enough.
Admission of job hunting is the first step. Now you have to follow up with why you are searching around.
Now you need to get a bit of conversation going to smooth things over and let your boss know why exactly you wish to find a new role. You have 5 options here.
1. I’m changing my career direction – Let your boss know how much you’ve learned working for them and how you’ve enjoyed your time with their business, but now you’d like to challenge yourself in a different field.
2. I’m moving away – This reason usually doesn’t require much further explanation.
3. I’m concerned about my job security – If your business is undergoing restructuring then this is a very legitimate concern and raising it may see your employer opening-up to you on the subject.
4. I would like to advance my career – If you work in a smaller business which doesn’t have the budget/resources currently for raises or promotions then giving this reason might even earn you a promotion further down the track. It’s a great way for asking for more responsibility from your boss without actually asking them.
If you are a massive value-adder for their business this may just be what is needed to prompt them to act to retain you. Who knows, if you’re still around in a few months and a position becomes available or they expand, they may offer you a promotion.
5. An interesting job opportunity came up – This one is hard to explain away, perhaps go with “a friend recommended me and I thought it might be a good learning opportunity, but I don’t think it’s for me”.
So you have been honest and confirmed you are indeed looking for a new job, well now is the time to thank your boss for letting you be open with them and reassure them you are committed to doing the best job possible in your current role, standards will not slide simply because you may be leaving.
Your current employer will likely need further convincing you are still dedicated to their business so now is the time to show them. Get to work earlier, or leave a little later, make sure your work is impeccable and try and schedule any further job interviews around your job.