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I work in a very specialized area within healthcare. There are only a few competitors in our area, and one of them has reached out to me directly (the hiring manager, not HR) about an open position they have. The department director saved my resume from another posting a few months ago and shared it with this manager, thinking I'd be a good fit.

At my current organization, I've been repeatedly told how valuable I am to this department. I have a good relationship with my boss. I've asked for a position like the one this competitor has open, and I'm told "we want to put you in that position, but it takes time". It's been months, and there's no movement. I'm going to discuss the opportunity with this competitor, because it's the position I've been looking for. However, if my current employer offered me something similar, I'd stay because I like my team.

Do I tell my employer I've been reached out to by this competitor in the hopes it speeds them along if they're actually considering giving me that position? When do I tell them (now, after interview, if I get an official offer)?

closed as off-topic by PeteCon, DarkCygnus, IDrinkandIKnowThings, gnat, scaaahu Nov 8 '17 at 3:30

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51

No.

Don't set fire to your bridge until you know you can reach the other side safely.

If your boss thinks that you're wanting to move, he'll either let you or counter-offer. If he can't counter-offer, then it's going to leave you in an uncomfortable position. Sure you want a peachier role, but you don't know what's blocking that move, and you don't know what's blocking your boss from letting that happen (it seems as though it's not down to his choice).

By all means investigate this other job and then go through negotiations if you feel that the other job is attractive.

Using this offer as a stick in your current role may well backfire.

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    "I'm going to leave unless" negotiations almost always mark you as not contented with your role and no matter how good you are, usually moves you to the list of people that are preferentially considered when it's time to make cuts. – Joe McMahon Nov 7 '17 at 19:06
  • If something is blocking his boss that means something wants OP in his place. Then setting fire to the bridge would not be what something wants. – mathreadler Nov 8 '17 at 2:43
8

Only tell your boss after you have a written offer for the other position. Then you have a backup and will do fine regardless of how your boss takes it.

You don't want to end up in a situation where for whatever reason the new job didn't work out, but everyone at your current job knows you are looking to jump ship.

Other things to consider:

  • Even if you do leave your current position, it's not forever. Who knows what will happen in a year or two? Perhaps they will have the position you wan, or an even better opportunity and you would be well positioned to return.

  • [Edit: this does not apply in this case since companies are competitors, but could be worth exploring in other situations.] Even if you leave, you may be able to work out a part-time consulting arrangement for a period of time, which will allow you to keep feet in both buckets, so to say. This is advantageous if the new job turns out to be not so great, and might make it easier to return to your old position.

  • Consider 'intangibles' of the other position: not only pay and benefits, but location (is commute longer or location less ideal?), company's reputation and long-term outlook, strategic issues at play that might impact the department/team/product you would be working on, etc. Think long term. Is the new position actually better or does it only look better for reasons that are obvious, but might be a toss-up when you factor in things under the surface?

  • Assuming the other position still looks more attractive after you've done your due diligence, don't wait too long before you act. Your current company may take its time promoting you, and the other opportunity might disappear. So don't drag things out -- go after the new opportunity and secure a written offer, then leverage it to negotiate with current employer. Whichever way it works out should be a win for you. Good luck!

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    Re: "Even if you leave, you may be able to work out a part-time consulting arrangement": Given that the OP describes the companies as "competitors", I think this is very unlikely to be a good idea. (But +1 other than that.) – ruakh Nov 8 '17 at 0:57
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If it was me this is what I would do:

The first thing I would do is inquire about the position with the competitor. What is the pay, what responsibilities I had, the usual stuff. Check Glassdoor. If this sounds like something you would like, I would ask about a time frame. Do they need you immediately or can they wait three months? Hopefully that later.

Then I'd ask for a meeting with my current boss. I would tell him that I really like the company and the team and all that, but it is time for the promotion. When can we get this accomplished? I think 6-8 weeks is acceptable with an x% pay raise.

If he says that is not possible, then you have a choice either live with your happy position or jump ship. What is very likely is he will say sure, but 10 weeks will pass with nothing. Again you have the choice.

Doing the whole counter-offer thing rarely works out.

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    I've done "the whole counter-offer thing" twice and it worked both times. YMMV. – Rupert Morrish Nov 7 '17 at 22:18
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I find it is generally really bad style to pit competing employers directly against one another.

First, some bosses don't take it well when you are talking to the competition, so you could be immediately out of your current job - without knowing if it will really work out with the other offer.

Second, even if you succeed into pressing them to give you the position you wanted now, you will burn some ground in doing so. They will most likely feel coerced and quietly accuse you of being opportunistic. You will probably feel the effects in the years after - when you ask for a raise next time etc.

Better to just request another meeting with your boss, where you demand clear and written commitments to when and how they will be able to offer you what you want. If they deny you this, just thank them for the discussion and quietly accept the other offer. Hand in your notice as soon as you have your new starting date in writing - or just soon enough that you fulfill the minimum notice period, if you want to play it safe. Resist any urges to react to any counteroffers by your previous employer.

1

First thing you should make sure you not being played for a fool. Before making any move, check if offer is genuine. if it is and you have written offer, you would have to jump ship. Unless you can leverage it to change job at your current company for different department. otherwise your boss will always remember you coaxing the raise with third party offer.

Also there are some "independent" recruiting agencies that shameless with efforts to pad their docket. Also all the newly hired "managers" and "HR Specialists" shopping around for any option to show as "work" to justify their time and salary.

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I'm going to disagree with the other answers, and say yes, you should talk to your boss. Not specifically about which competitor is approaching you, but that you feel it is time you moved into this new role. Tell him you'd prefer to do it within your current organisation, but if they can't make that happen soon then you will have to go elsewhere. Tell him you know that other organisations are currently recruiting for this role.

That way he either gets into gear and gets you the promotion you both agree you deserve, or you can tell him "I told you so" when you quit.

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    Re: I told you so. In the case of my current job, it was my manager's manager who did nothing about extending my contract, and now they're losing me right before go-live. I like my manager, and feel good that his ass is covered by having passed along the warning weeks ago. – Rupert Morrish Nov 7 '17 at 22:26
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    Good, but it would behoove you to get the offer in writing from the competitor also. – Wildcard Nov 7 '17 at 22:45

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