Should You Tell Your Current Boss You Are Job Searching?

By: Lauren Mineau

There’s an old adage about job searching. It’s often said that it is easier to find a job when you have a job. But how do you approach the task of finding a new job while still employed? While every situation is different, here are some tips and tricks for how to approach the search and transition.

Assessing Honesty

The first thing to do is evaluate your relationship with your supervisor. If you’re fortunate enough to have an open and supportive relationship with your supervisor, honesty is likely the best policy. It may help you to be truthful so they can also prepare for your potential departure. You may also need time off for interviews, and with your search out in the open you won’t have the added stress of being secretive with your scheduling.

It could also be helpful to discuss your strengths and weaknesses with your current boss, as that could help you on interviews and set up the foundation to have a good working relationship after you depart. You never know when you’ll need a reference.

By being honest, it could help you to further pinpoint why you want to leave and what you are specifically looking for in a new position. If you pose the idea by saying “I no longer feel that there’s room to grow here,” or “I am in search of new challenges,” it could even potentially open your supervisor’s eyes to the fact that you are looking for a change of pace, and maybe there’s room for you to do that at your current company.

Many hiring managers will want to check references or verify a candidate’s employment listed on their resume. If the phone rings from your dream job to your current one, it’s best that the conversation isn’t a surprise to your supervisor.

An open dialogue could make your search easier. Especially since you don’t know how long your job search may last, it’s helpful to have a comfortable place to report to in the meantime.

Keeping it Quiet

If you decide to keep your search quiet, there are a few things to know as well. Don’t use work computers or internet to search for jobs or to print your resume and cover letter.

If you can, schedule some time off for interviews. The stress of having to come up with an excuse for why you’re late or have to leave early could put you in the wrong mindset for an interview. It also covers any fishiness of several potential “family emergencies” or other excuses in a row. By taking a week off, if you can, you can schedule several interviews at once with more flexibility.

If you decide not to tell your boss, be careful about confiding in others in the office. Word could spread quickly and likely behind your back.

You also may find that once you start your search, you may be happy where you are after all – at least for the time being. Like all markets, the job market has ups and downs. If you strike it at a slow time, you could hit a lot of dead ends. If you reveal to your current workplace that you’ve begun to search then decide to stay, you can’t take your words back. It could create an uncomfortable environment.

Unstable Waters

If your current company has hit rough waters, many people may also be looking to get out. If morale is generally low or layoffs are common, you may not be alone in your search. If you fear your job may not exist within a year or a few months, it may be best to ask the higher-ups for the truth. If they can honestly tell you where the company’s headed, they may be supportive in your quest to move on. They may also be looking too. It could give you  peace of mind or solidify your roaming thoughts about leaving.

Evaluating if you should tell your boss that you’re considering other opportunities is a sensitive decision that’s determined case-by-case. There are many things to consider, both good and bad, but it’s mostly about being true to yourself and your circumstances.