We all reach a moment when it’s time to say goodbye to our current job and pursue a fresh start. Whether your move is stirred by a desire to take a larger pay raise, to diversify or concentrate on certain skill sets or because your company is a bad culture fit, many employees start looking for a new job before leaving their current position.
And there's a good reason for it. Most potential employers prefer candidates who are still currently employed, as it gives them more confidence you’re a stable employee, according to Forbes. Those applying without a steady income are often perceived as desperate to take the role for money and less favorable to hire.
But how exactly do you handle this situation with your boss? Should you keep your hunt a secret until you give your two weeks notice? Would your boss make you a higher offer if they knew they were at risk of losing a valuable member of the team?
In this post, we’re offering our advice on if and how to tell your boss you’re thinking of leaving, and how to bow out with mutual respect:
Consider Your Relationship With Your Boss
The first big question you have to ask yourself is how close of a relationship you have with your boss. If your employer is someone you also consider a friend, or who has a vested interested in you as an individual, they may be more supportive than you’d think of your new career endeavor— and being transparent about your search may boost their respect for you.
Sure, they will definitely be upset to lose a great employee, but if they truly care about your well-being and understand why it’s time for you to move on, they may be respectful and supportive of your transition.
If, however, you have a difficult boss, or a manager who you’re not very close with, blurting out loud your pursuit of new opportunities while still on their payroll will not likely be well received.
Be Smart During the Search
Regardless of whether you tell your boss about your job hunt or not, you’ll still want to be respectful of their time during working hours. For instance, using your company computer and internet to look for new jobs is a big no-no. Many employers track your history and usage, and wasting company time searching for other jobs may threaten your current stability in your role, as your boss could fire you.
If you are currently interviewing, be respectful to not schedule phone interviews during your working hours. Sneaking away awkwardly to answer a call can make your boss suspicious, or if they know you’re looking elsewhere, annoy them that you’re eating up their time.
If your boss or other employees don’t know about your hunt, we recommend leaving the building and property on your lunch break for an interview, where you can’t be overheard or accused of not working while on the clock. Definitely be mindful of who you tell internally about your search too, as employees can gossip and unintentionally spill the beans— and your boss certainly won’t be happy about hearing second-hand that you’re trying to leave.
Wait Until All the Stars Align
Many job hunters choose to wait to tell their boss about leaving until they have a real offer in hand— which is incredibly wise. It’s not uncommon for people to get excited about an amazing interview, and jump the gun delivering the news before they even have a new job locked in.
Just because your prospective employer expresses interest in you or verbalizes their intention of hiring you, it doesn’t mean that position is yours. Until you have a formal offer letter in front of you and sign on, we recommend resisting your first impulse to brag about or proclaim you got the job, and especially caution against putting in your two weeks. Or else, you might be put in the embarrassing position of retracting your notice, if your boss even allows that.
Explain Your Reasoning
If you were to decide to tell your boss about your job search, make sure you give it proper context. It can be easy for your manager to interrupt your declaration of hunting as an attempt to get more money, or as some sort of power play.
Should you be leaving the job because of work culture issues, decide which information could help your boss or company to grow and share it in a constructive, help-oriented fashion. If you found your dream job pursuing your passion, tell your boss that the next job just better aligns with your long-term goals. Honesty can go a long way.
Speaking of honesty, our last bit of advice is to never lie to your employer about job hunting. Should your boss be suspicious and directly ask if you are, the repercussions of getting caught lying likely far exceed the benefits of being candid.
This also relates to lying about time missed at work in pursuit of the new role. Don’t say you have to go to the dentist and really hop two blocks away for an interview. Should you get caught in a lie, it’ll be hard to repair your employer’s broken trust.
Find the Right Fit
Searching for a new career while still working for your current company often takes a lot of the pressure off your shoulders, as you have something to fall back on should a new opportunity not pan out.
We get that telling your boss you’re leaving is always hard, but if they’re understanding, transparency can help to alleviate the tension of resigning.
Find the right culture fit to make bridging these difficult conversations easier at your next job with GoGig. Sign up for a free GoGig profile, which will match you with employer’s of similar personalities and goals.