Benjamin Franklin once said, “Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.” Keeping private information private, especially about a job search, can be a tall order.
Getting an interview can be exciting, 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 more confident you are that you’ll get the job.
It is tempting to share the secret of the possibility of a new job with friends or with a boss you are close to like a friend. Employees may also choose to let their company know they are looking for a new job, so the company is prepared when they leave or to try to negotiate for a higher salary at the current job.
None of these reasons provide any personal benefit. They give away the power and put the current job at risk.
When it comes to interviewing, nothing is a sure bet. Even if a company has talked to you ten times, the position may be put on hold for budget reasons, the hiring manager may leave, and the process could halt, or any number of other issues could arise. The company might reorganize, and the job may no longer be needed.
Until the offer is in writing and in your hands, there is no offer. It could take as long as a year or more to find a job. In the meantime, there are still bills to pay and a family to feed. Why put that in jeopardy?
Often, a boss you perceived to be your friend feels obligated to let their boss know you have disclosed the information about your job search. Even if they like you, your search may be perceived as 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, the company has no incentive to offer a raise. An interview is not a substantial reason to offer more money.
If you tell colleagues about your search, don’t be surprised when the news gets around. People love to find something, or someone, to talk about. The last thing anyone wants is for word to get back to the boss before they’ve found a job.
As exciting as sharing information about a job search is, it’s unwise to do so. It could backfire and end up in disappointment on multiple levels that can be difficult to repair. When it comes to job searching, there’s no better alternative than to keep it a secret.