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VOL. 129 | NO. 159 | Friday, August 15, 2014

Angela Copeland

Keeping Your Search Secret

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Can you keep a secret? Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” Keeping private information private, especially about your job search, can be a tall order.

Getting an interview can be exciting and exhilarating, especially if it goes well. If you’ve wanted to leave your company for some time, the hope that a new job presents can leave you feeling on top of the world. And, the more interviews with one company, the surer you are you’ll get the job, right?

Some of the reasons I’ve heard for sharing this secret include, “I know this person is my friend, so it’s OK.” “My boss and I are close friends; they won’t mind.” “My company needs to know I’m looking, so they’ll be prepared if I do leave. I feel obligated.” “I want to see if my company will give me a higher salary to stay.”

First, none of these reasons provide you any personal benefit. They simply give away your power and put your current job at risk.

When it comes to interviewing, nothing is a sure bet. Even if a company has talked to you 10 times and is in love with you, the position may be put on hold for budget reasons. The hiring manager may leave, and the process may halt. The company could reorganize and the job may no longer be needed.

Until your offer is officially in writing and in your hands, there’s no offer. It could take you as long as a year or more to find a job. In the meantime, you still have bills to pay and a family to feed. Why would you put that in jeopardy?

So often, a boss you perceived to be your friend feels an obligation to let their boss know you have disclosed this information to them. Even if they like you, your job search may be perceived as being disloyal to the company. In the worst-case scenario, you may be fired and asked to leave immediately.

Keep this in mind when it comes to asking for more money. If you don’t have a written job offer, what incentive does your company have to give you a raise? They don’t. There’s no good reason they should offer you any more money just because you’ve been interviewing.

If you begin to tell colleagues about your search, don’t be surprised if the news gets around. People love to find something, or someone, to talk about. If you share information about your search, you’re setting yourself up to become next. The last thing you want is for word to get back to your boss before you’ve actually found a job.

As exciting as it is to share information about your job search, it’s 100 percent unwise to do so. You set yourself up for failure and disappointment on multiple levels that can be difficult to repair. When it comes to job searching, there’s no better alternative than to keep yours secret.

Angela Copeland is CEO/founder of Copeland Coaching, CopelandCoaching.com, and author of “Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job.” She also hosts the Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Copeland Coaching on Twitter (@CopelandCoach) and Facebook (facebook.com/CopelandCoaching).

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