What to Do When Your Boss Finds Out You Talked to A Recruiter

Imagine – you’re sitting at your desk, when you receive a call. On the other end of the phone is a headhunter. You react perfectly, having followed our tips on how best to handle a call with a recruiter. Maybe you’re not currently searching for a new job, but this position sounds very tempting.

What to Do When Your Boss Finds Out You Talked to A Recruiter

So you make an appointment for an interview, feeling flattered. But with all the options in front of you, you realize that your current job is actually very satisfying. Then, a few days later, your boss appears next to your desk, asking you for a private conversation – he wants to discuss your new job opportunity, and when you decided to leave the company.

You take a deep breath, and start to think: How in the world does your boss know about this? A thousand thoughts race through your head, the joy and satisfaction you’ve enjoyed at your company in the last few days are eclipsed by insecurity and fear. What do you do when your boss finds out you talked to a recruiter?

Relax, it was all just a bad dream… But a scenario like this, in the age of mobile recruitment and the ever-closer relationship between headhunters and recruiters, isn’t totally unrealistic. Therefore, an article from Lisa Quast inspired us to present the possible options of how to react in such a situation.

CAUGHT: What to Do When Your Boss Finds Out You’re Looking Into Other Career Options?

The first step is to consider your relationship with your boss. Maybe the whole issue can be fixed with a simple explanation, but maybe they would really prefer for you to consider another job option, but waited for you to deliver the bad news. The following options for reactions are strongly dependent on several conditions:

  • How good is your relationship with your supervisor?
  • How realistic is a new career option for you?
  • How serious is the burden of proof against you?

Let’s say your relationship with your boss is a disaster, the option on the table looks appealing, and your boss found your application lying in the printer… In this case, the situation is fairly obvious, and you can only work to limit the damage. Even if the possibility of leaving your current company is 100%, it’s in your best interest to try and leave your relationship with your supervisor on the best possible note. It’s cliche, but true – the world is a small, and everyone meets twice in a lifetime. In other words, don’t think this will be the last time you’ll work with your boss. Chances are, you’ll see each other again, and it benefits you to leave under good circumstances.

But in case you’d like to hold on to your current job, and your boss simply overheard your conversation with a headhunter and jumped to conclusions, you have several other options:

1. The Lie: This option is certainly the easiest, at first glance – but it’s also the choice that could bring you the most problems. By denying everything, you may find out how your boss came to learn about your conversations. But if you choose to leave the company later, your supervisor will realize that you deceived him, and you can consider an entire network of contacts, all connected to your boss, destroyed.

2. The Excuse: You’re helping out your partner or friend, who is actively searching for a job – not you!! – and they desperately need a print-out of this job description, but would you imagine, their printer is broken… oops! This option is only for creative thinkers, quick on their feet.

3. The Half-Truth: Rather than denying everything, try instead to be very honest about your career ambitions. Use your faux pas as an opportunity to discuss your company’s perspective on talent management. Explain to your boss that recently, you felt underwhelmed at work, and the new year has inspired you to further develop your soft skills and talents. Job postings and descriptions are helping you to recognize which qualifications your competition is looking for — and show you how to drive the success of your own company.

4. The Honest Answer: If you’re truly frustrated in your current position, and this is the reason for your prospective job search, then speak openly with your supervisor about this subject. Make it very clear to your boss that you are searching for other positions and challenges, both within and outside of your company. Avoid making accusations, even if you feel they are justified. Maybe your honest answer can help to improve your current situation at the company.

At the end of the day, this decision is personal – only you know what’s best for you. But one thing you can count on for sure… become a member of Experteer and benefit from our discrete method of job searching. We wish you the best of luck in your career journey!

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