“Should I Tell My Boss I’m Looking For Another Job?” Answered

by | Finding A Job, Interviewing

“Should I tell my boss I’m looking for another job?” and “Should I tell my boss I have an interview?” are two questions I’m often asked by job seekers who are currently employed and looking for their next role.

The short answer is, usually not. The longer answer is, it’s a case-by-case situation and depends on several factors, which I cover in this article.

Is An Employer Allowed To Ask If You’re Looking For Another Job?

But first, is your boss allowed to ask if you’re job hunting? There is little preventing your employer from asking you if you’re looking for another job. In most cases, your manager is entitled to ask you whether you’re job searching.

Keep in mind that your manager is responsible for the performance of their department, and that likely includes the retention rates of their employees, so they may be asking if you’re looking for a job so they can plan accordingly.

Now, in most situations, it’s entirely up to you whether you tell your boss that you’re looking for a new position.

Should You Tell Your Boss You’re Looking For A New Job?

Here’s what you should keep in mind if you’re looking for a new job and asking yourself whether you should notify your boss:

1. Don’t feel pressured to tell your boss you’re looking for a job.

First off, you’re not required to tell anyone you’re looking for a new gig. The same goes for interviews. It’s your decision if, when, and whom you apprise of your job search process and progress.

And if you decide not to notify your boss that you’re hunting, try not to feel guilty, even if your boss is a friend, serves as a mentor to you, or helped you land your current role. 

2. Reflect on your current relationship with your manager.

Before disclosing your job search intentions, you’ll additionally want to reflect on your current relationship with your supervisor. You’ll also want to think about your intentions in disclosing.

Consider asking yourself the following questions.

  • How has your supervisor handled other sensitive topics?
  • Can you trust your boss to keep your search confidential?
  • What do you hope to gain by disclosing that you’re searching? 

3. Consider why you’re looking for a job.

Also, ask yourself why you’re looking for a new role. If you’re feeling bored in your current role or want to be challenged, consider whether you can ask your boss for more responsibility, rather than disclosing to them that you’re hunting for a job. If this is the case, you may wish to ask for what you want before you’ve received a formal job offer.

While you’re at it, you may wish to review your company’s policies regarding giving adequate notice. I recall working at one organization that required you to provide them with four weeks’ notice to be able to cash out your paid time off (this was not in California, as PTO is an earned benefit here, and employers must pay out your accrued time).

4. Weigh the potential outcomes of telling your boss that you’re job hunting.

There are several potential outcomes of disclosing to your boss that you’re looking for another job. The best-case scenario is that your manager is a staunch advocate and connects you with their network. Although some managers can be incredibly supportive in helping you find your next gig, this often isn’t the case.

While it might not be done with malice, one of the biggest reasons not to tell your manager that you’re looking for a new job is that your salary increases and performance bonuses can be negatively impacted if your boss thinks you won’t be sticking around.

Another reason to think twice before telling your boss about your job search is that they may be hesitant to give you additional projects and leadership responsibilities if they think you’re going to leave. While this might not be a problem if you land a job quickly, it can backfire if you don’t get out ASAP and/or change your mind and decide to stay at your current company.

5. Know that finding a new job takes time.

Along similar lines, finding a new job can take considerable time, particularly in today’s competitive job market and with the uncertain economy. The average job search takes approximately five months, and you don’t want your work to be scrutinized during this time as a result of telling your boss you’re looking for something new.

Moreover, disclosing that you’re looking for something new can also lead you to be more at risk of being cut if the company faces potential layoffs. Right now, you want to do anything you can to recession-proof your career.

Conclusion: “Should I Tell My Boss I’m Looking For A Job?”

Once you’ve weighed your options and the pros and cons of each, you ultimately have to go with your gut, because at the end of the day, only you can decide whether you should notify your boss that you’re searching for a job. You’ve got this!

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).



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