..I brought this same idea up on my radio program today and here is what one listener wrote…interesting perspective…
I was listening to your segment this morning on your radio program regarding what to say if asked by your boss point blank, “Are you looking for another job?”
I turned to thoughts of my nephew who has Asberger’s. People with Asberger’s are extremely literal. One time I called and asked my nephew what he was doing, and he answered, “Talking to you.”
I really liked your “answer a question with a question” approach. But if one were pressed for an answer, would one not be able to take a literal approach to the boss’ question by answering, “Not at the moment” or “Not at this time”? In strict literal terms, the answer is truthful, even though evasive.
Just thought I’d share the idea. Feel free to comment or not!
not a bad perspective…
So, what do you say when your boss invites you into his or her office and asks you if you’re looking for a job… when you are? Do you try to live up to the standard your mom taught you, “thou shalt not lie?” Or, realizing that you’re likely to get fired if you tell the truth, do you lie and deny that you were looking for a job.
Most of the people I’ve read… career coaches, counselors, etc. will tell you that you should admit you are looking for a job, explain the reasons why and see if they can be rectified or fixed. B—l S–t! Don’t you dare do that.
Now I know Sr. Mildred, my first grade teacher at the very Catholic grade school, Monte Cassino, will turn over in her grave when she hears that I’m going to teach you to lie. And you may have to go to confession for telling a lie, but the consequences of telling the truth in this particular case are terrible.
Most companies with any sense, once they find out you are looking for a job are going to fire you on the spot. If they don’t fire you on the spot, they’re going to figure out a way to replace you as soon as they possibly can and then let you go.
Most of the time, when someone’s supervisor calls them in to ask this question, the supervisor really isn’t quite sure if the employee is looking for a job. If they were certain, they’d probably fire the person without asking any questions. They have probably heard a rumor through the company, aren’t really certain, so they ask. Unfortunately, most of the time the fact that an employee is looking for a job reaches the ears of a supervisor because the soon-to-be unemployed employee shared the fact they were looking for a job with someone in the company. Stupid!
I can’t tell you the number of candidates I’ve had over the years that swear up and down they have absolutely no idea how the boss found out they were looking for a job right before they were fired. 99% of the time the employee told one of their “trusted” cohorts they were looking to leave and never imagined it would get around to other people in the company. So, one lesson is to never, ever, ever discuss your job search with someone you work with. I don’t care if everybody in the company is looking to leave, don’t discuss it with anybody you work with.
Unfortunately, if you’re asked this question and you are looking for a job, you have no choice but to deny it. Please don’t try to tell me you just don’t want to lie. Maybe you don’t want to lie and maybe you’ll feel great about telling the truth even though you get fired. Maybe… but if you are like most, you can’t afford to be without a job. This job market is just way too difficult. So, please try not to get yourself in a situation where you’re faced with this challenge. But if you do, you have to protect your job.
Often times candidates will experience a long, drawn out interviewing process… and come in second, or third, or fourth and not get the job. They often get frustrated, downright pissed off and sometimes make the mistake of expressing their anger and frustration to the interviewing or hiring authority. This is a big mistake.
I can’t tell you the number of placements I’ve made over the years where my candidate came in second, third or fourth and eventually got the job. How? Well, the person that was first offered the job may have turned it down, not shown up for the job… don’t laugh, even on the professional level it happens one out of every 22 or 23 times… and the second or third or fourth candidate in line gets a shot.
I had a fellow stop by my office a year or so ago and ask to see me. I went out to the lobby and as he shook my hand, he reminded me that I placed him 20 years ago at a company he was still with. He reminded me of the fact that he was the ninth candidate they offered the job to after eight people had turned it down. It was a relatively entry-level job in the chemical lab of a company that manufactured solvents. It was a dirty, stinky operation. Eight people didn’t want the job, but he needed it. He was driving by our office and wanted to thank me for getting him the job. He told me he now owns the company and they were a multimillion dollar chemical distributor. That was nice of him to do.
The lesson here is to be gracious even when you don’t get the job. This is especially the case when you come close but don’t get hired. I assure you, when it comes down to the difference between the candidate that gets hired and the one who comes in second, the difference is minimal. It is likely that either candidate could probably do a good job, but the one that gets hired most likely get hired for very little difference.
You want to be sure you keep the door open for any opportunities that might come along in the company. Just last year I placed a candidate with the company who I referred to the client five years earlier! They didn’t hire him at the time, but they remembered him and continued a relationship with him by keeping in touch. He even changed jobs once in the meantime.
So be sure to be graceful… even thankful to the people doing the interviewing and hiring even when you don’t get hired. Keep the door open. You want them to think highly of you. Highly enough to call you back if any other opportunities arise.