It’s a good problem to have, but still a problem – what do you do if you let your current boss know you’re accepting a new position, and they tell you they don’t want to lose you?
Question: I was offered a job, but when I turned in my resignation at my current company, my boss made me a counter-offer to stay. What should I do?
Answer: This is a tricky one, because Careerbuilder.com says that there is an 85% chance that an employee who accepts a counteroffer will not be working at the company in six months. Many times, it’s because the employee was fired, not because they received another job offer.
If you are in the midst of working on a key project when you get another job offer, your boss may offer you more money to stay so that the project can be completed. However, when the project ends, you may not be assigned to another key project because you’re seen as “disloyal” or a “flight risk,” or you may be asked to train other employees on your major responsibilities and tasks in case you do get offered another job — because the company doesn’t want to be caught in that same position again.
From a personal perspective, there was obviously a reason why you were looking for a new job, and a higher salary isn’t usually the only reason. Even if your current employer matches the salary offered by the other company, the counter-offer won’t address other reasons why you were considering a change.
Sometimes, you may feel like the “grass is greener” in another company’s field, so you apply for a position that you wouldn’t even necessarily accept, just to see what else is out there.
Question: What if I interview for a position, but I don’t really want the job?
Answer: While most of the time you will not be interviewing for a job you don’t want, sometimes it can be worthwhile to apply, even if you don’t think you’d be interested in taking the job. You never know — you might find that you really would want to work for the company!
You can also use the opportunity to practice your interviewing skills. When honing almost any skill, practice makes perfect — and getting the chance to interview gives you valuable practice for when the opportunity arises to interview for a job you do want!
However, interviewing for another position does have risks.
Question: My current employer has an informal company policy that if they find out you are looking for a new job, they’ll fire you. How do I look for a new job without jeopardizing my current one?
Answer: If your current employer finds out you are looking for a new position, they may begin planning for what they would do if/when you took a new job … which might end up forcing you out of your current role. Your co-workers may no longer regard you as a team player. Your supervisor might be hesitant to give you a major project or additional responsibility, for fear of being left in the lurch if you decide to take another job.
Try to keep your job search confidential — at least, as much as you possibly can. This means not posting your resume publicly to job boards, only applying for positions that you would accept if the job was offered to you, and letting any recruiters you are working with know that you’re looking to keep your job search quiet. You should also never use your work email and/or work computer for your job search, and this is especially important in a confidential job search.
Keeping your job search confidential also means being strategic with your LinkedIn profile. Turn off your activity notifications on LinkedIn so your contacts won’t get emails when you update your profile. And don’t list in your LinkedIn profile that you are looking for a new position. Instead, make sure it meets LinkedIn’s guidelines for “profile completeness” and it’s more likely you’ll be found by employers and recruiters without the risk to your current job.