What do you do if your boss finds out you're on the job hunt?

Having your boss find out that you're looking for a new job isn't something to look forward to, but this advice can help you respond professionally and appropriately.

Unless you're one of a select few who stays inside one company from the beginning of their professional career until retirement, you'll reach a point - and likely many - where you'll look for a new job offered by a different business. Keeping this search under wraps at your current employer is especially important in terms of maintaining courtesy, professional respect and, in some cases, continued employment until you find a new career.

What should you do if your boss finds out you're on the job hunt?

Two businesspeople on a couch, holding a discussion.

Keep your current role and job search efforts separate

If you're a dependable employee and a solid contributor in your role, a reasonable boss won't be happy to see you go. That same supervisor will likely understand that professionals can't always stay in the same organization indefinitely, however. What could make them have a much more negative reaction is discovering you've spent time on a job search while on the clock.

The advice in this situation is simple and effective, whether you've started the job search process or not: look for new career opportunities on your own time and focus on your current role while at work. If you need to take calls or write emails during the workday, use your lunch and break time to do so, and use a personal device instead of a work computer. This can help you sidestep especially negative reactions from your current supervisor and the company that employs you.

If you have a feeling that your supervisor won't react well to the news that you're looking for another job - even if you're only testing the waters and not committed to leaving your current organization - there are a few additional steps to consider. You may want to look at your boss's LinkedIn profile and ensure they don't have any contacts or colleagues involved in the hiring process at prospective employers, as HR specialist Liz Ryan pointed out. Ryan also suggested emphasizing to new potential employers that your current employer does not know you're job hunting.

What happens when the cat is out of the bag

Even if you take precautions, it's still entirely possible for your boss to find out that you're considering other opportunities. In this case, The Muse suggested having an honest but professional conversation with your supervisor. Unless you know your boss will feel too angry or betrayed by something that most people do during their careers, you can offer a reasonable and dispassionate explanation of your choice.

"It is important to remember that, if you have your resume out there or have indicated on LinkedIn that you are 'Open to New Opportunities' in the Job Search feature, all it takes is a screenshot to blow your cover," comments Helen Roy, Senior Corporate Recruiter for Beacon Hill's Corporate Recruiting Division. "If this happens to you, the best thing to do is to be honest with your boss. Treat this discussion as diplomatically as you would if you were in an interview and asked why you are considering leaving. Now is not the time for confrontation, but instead time to calmly discuss how your current role no longer aligns with your personal and professional goals. It's not personal – it's a business decision for you and your future."

"Regardless, if your boss knows you are job searching, make sure your performance doesn't slip and that you are not discussing it with your coworkers. Your boss' job is to maintain morale and protect productivity. If you are seen as negatively impacting that while actively job seeking, you are risking being fired before you land a new position, which doesn't look good for anyone."

If you have specific issues with duties or pay, you can frame them in a diplomatic way and share them. If you're simply looking for new and different opportunities, that's also a reasonable position to express. While it's not usually a good idea to start this conversation unless you can be absolutely sure your supervisor will be receptive, engaging in it once your boss finds out you're on the job hunt can be your best option. Although it's far from a guarantee, this discussion could lead to your supervisor offering you a raise or a new role.

Having your boss find out you're looking for a new job is never a good feeling, but this advice can help you weather the storm. Contact a trusted recruiter from Beacon Hill Staffing Group to learn more.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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