7

I'm currently working as a contractor; in six weeks, either my current company will have offered me a permanent position or I'll be moving on to another position. If they offer, I'll accept a permanent position, unless they ridiculously undervalue me. How much of that should I disclose when interviewing with other companies? At what point in the process should it be disclosed that I may suddenly drop off the market after all?

ETA: I'm looking to end contracting, so this would be a permanent position as well.

12

You are under no obligation to disclose this at any point until you have accepted either the permanent position or the new contract.

The fact is, if you do disclose the possibility and it costs you a possible position and then you don't get the permanent position you are currently contracting at (for whatever reason), you have just closed a door that could have remained open.

Keep your options open.

It may feel unethical to you, but we can't tell the future and the unexpected can always happen - in particular in the contracting arena, though also in the permanent arena, to a lesser degree. Most employers looking for employees know that the "market" is volatile and people who are available one day are gone the next.

If asked, do not lie - you should explain your position and that if the offer from your current employer does not represent your true value that you will not accept.

  • Slight misconception, I've edited the question: both positions would be permanent, I'd like to stop contracting. – Yamikuronue Aug 21 '12 at 18:17
  • @Yamikuronue - The points still stand. Will update answer accordingly. – Oded Aug 21 '12 at 18:18
  • 2
    Yes. Taking the permanent position (if offered) is just a specialized case of "accepted another offer". Employers understand that they're not the only ones you're talking to. – Monica Cellio Aug 21 '12 at 21:39
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How much of that should I disclose when interviewing with other companies?

  • You should say you're currently employed as a contractor.
  • You should say when your contract is up.
  • If asked, you should be as honest as you feel comfortable about the likelihood of converting to full time. The standard "I like it at my current job, but want to explore my options" response is usually sufficient, and truthful enough that people understand it (and you don't need to feel bad about being deceptive).
3

You should disclose as much as you are comfortable with to each side. If you feel secure in your current position, being opening about entertaining other offers could inspire your current company to make a more competitive effort to keep you when your contract expires. Likewise for the new offer. If your current position is on the rocks, being more reserved would play to your benefit, but then I'd have to ask if staying should even be an option for you.

As far as the new offer is concerned, I find it's usually better to be honest. Letting this company know about your current position puts them in a position to fight to get you. You will quickly find out how badly they want you and what they are willing to do to get you. Putting them in the know will also buy you time to make a proper decision. They won't expect an immediate answer and they are more likely to be flexible in scheduling meetings and interviews. Making them aware that you are comfortably employed will also "keep them honest". They'll be forced to bring real offers to the table because they will know that they have to buy you out of your current position. Finally, it makes you look better to the prospective employer. An employee with a stable position is less risk than an unemployed one. Who doesn't want an employee who's in demand? It displays responsibility in that you are not waiting until the last minute to get your irons in the fire. All of which make you a better prospect to a new employer.

1

I would say that you're currently working as a contractor, that your contract expires in 6 weeks but that you are considering terms for converting to a full-time employee. In the meantime, you are evaluating your options and you're very interested in exploring what other opportunities and challenges might be out there.

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