Should I Tell My Boss That Other Companies Want To Hire Me?

Should I Tell My Boss That Other Companies Want To Hire Me?

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Dear Liz,

I guess the job market is heating up. I’m getting a lot of messages from recruiters on LinkedIn.

I guess that’s good. I like my job but there’s no reason not to look around, right? I am being choosy.

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I’ve already told two recruiters to get lost. One demanded my salary details right away and the other one called me, talked to me for three minutes and then said he would call back in an hour.

That was rude and unprofessional right there, but he also never called back. He wrote to me a week later and I told him to take me off his list.

If I’m going to start going on job interviews, I want to tell my boss. We have a great relationship. I’m honest with him about my ups and downs at work, and he’s honest with me. He was being heavily recruited for a job a year ago, and he told me about it. If he had left the company, I definitely would have left, too.

Should I tell my boss “Rick” that I’m being headhunted and I might start interviewing soon?

Thanks Liz!



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Dear Kevin,

Your gut is your best guide. I would not tell a boss in a full-time employment situation that I was job-hunting but you need to do you, as my kids say.

Work is a weird place, as you know. Things can change fast. What if you told Rick about your job search and the very next day Rick’s boss told him “We need to cut expenses. You need to let somebody on your team go.”

Rick would think “Wait a second, Kevin is job-hunting! I’ll eliminate Kevin’s job. He was halfway out the door in any case.”

If my advice sounds paranoid it’s because I get hundreds of messages every week from working people who wish they had kept their mouths shut. Once you tell Rick you are open to a new job and going on job interviews, you can’t take your words back.

You also don’t do Rick any favors by laying your secret on him. Find somebody else to be your job search confidante. Just because Rick told you about the opportunity he considered last year doesn’t mean that you owe him the same level of disclosure now. After all, you and Rick have a business relationship. That’s your principal connection, even if you are also friendly outside of work.

Keep your job search to yourself until after you sign an offer letter. You can express all your gratitude and warmth toward Rick when you give notice and perhaps for years afterward. Don’t put him in the middle of your job search now!



Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns. Liz’s book Reinvention Roadmap is here.