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I am finishing my probation at a new company. Colleagues are nice, I am quite independent and it's an OK job. On the negative side, I got a 5% pay cut and I am commuting more, and there are no clear plans for my role. I had to setup an internal facility but now I am just working as internal consultant.

A big company, the biggest in my field around the city where I live, called me for an interview (they had my CV from before I got this job). I am tempted to interview with them. But I just started at my new job. They could pay me more, and with the cost of housing in UK that is very tempting. Do you think I should interview anyway? Moreover, is there a decent way of handling this interview as leverage to get a higher salary at my new job, without destroying my relationship with my current company?

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You should definitely interview. It may be that you don't like the environment in the new place but the worst part (for me anyway) is the "what if" question as you'll spend your time wondering what might have been if you'd gone for it.

I wouldn't even tell your exisisting company you have an interview. It's not their business and they could turn round, see you're looking elsewhere and tell you your services are no longer required. A problem if the new company doesn't offer you a position.

If the new company does offer you a job then you can use it as leverage if you want to stay with your company and are trying for a higher salary. You can say something along the lines of: "Company XYZ has offered me a job, they're offering £££ in wages. I like it here and would like to stay but I want to buy a house and can't turn down the extra money."

You could also use it to work out exactly what your role and responsibilities are and will be going forward.

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Do you think I should interview anyway?

Yes, go on the interview. It should not do any harm and you might get an excellent offer that makes you want to jump to the larger company. If they don't make an offer, or don't provide an offer good enough to make you want to leave, then stay where you are.

Moreover, is there a decent way of handling this interview as leverage to get a higher salary at my new job, without destroying my relationship with my current company?

An interview isn't really something to use as leverage IMO, as it isn't really anything tangible. If you try to use the interview as leverage with your current employer, you run some risks. The worst case scenario I can think of is that your current employer decides to terminate your employment (after all, you must be unhappy with the job if you're interviewing already, and they don't want unhappy employees) and you don't get the other job. If you get an offer from the other organization, you might be able to use that as leverage for a better salary from your current employer.

That said, after only a few months on the job, you probably haven't built up a lot of value with the organization you currently work for. Thus, it's more likely they will let you go to the new job than to try to keep you. However, if that gets you a raise and shorter commute, you are probably better off in the long run.

One caveat: Jumping ship after just a few months can be done once or twice in a career, but don't make a habit of it. While employers no longer expect you to stay at a job your whole working life, they don't want to hire people with track records of staying in a job for only a few months.

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    Re: "jumping ship" -- the OP says he (or she) is still on probation, which works both ways. It is as much about determining if the employer is a good fit for the employee, so leaving before the probation period is over should be fair game. – mustaccio May 12 '15 at 19:09

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