Preface: I'm currently very satisfied with my job, and it's everything I wished for when I finished my Masters (4 years ago). Now, I'm considering applying for a new job, because my current company is not doing well, and I think some of might be laid off in near future.
The job I'm applying for is in the same field I work in now (say energy efficiency of buildings), but instead of being a consultant to construction firm as to how they can reach their goal, I'll now be selling heat pumps.
They want an engineer with technical experience, not a person specialized in sales. It's relevant, I know about heat pumps, but I like the technical aspects, the analyses, computations etc.
(Assuming I'm called into an interview:)
When I apply for this new job, should I be honest when the interviewer asks:
- "Why do you want to get a new job?"
- "Because I like new challenges, and this seems like a natural step up from being a consultant. Also, the firm I work at now is not doing well financially and I would rather work at a place where the morale is high and where there are things to do."
or even (this is a borderline dupe of this. The difference is: I'm not laid off yet, but I might be later):
- "Because I like new challenges, and this seems like a natural step up from being a consultant. Also, I've been given a (formal) warning that people in my company might be laid of in the near future. I would rather work at a place where the morale is high and where there are things to do."
Normally I think the answer would be: Don't say anything about the financial situation, it's irrelevant for the job you're applying for, and normally I would agree. However, the field I'm in is small, and the moment someone at my firm gets a message saying the company might have to lay off someone, the people at the other firm will know straight away. I have reasons to believe that some of us (or all) might get this message before the other company decides who to hire.
I believe this will put me in a bad light, because they'll probably see through it and assume (correctly) that I applied because of the situation my company is in now. They'll also think I'm dishonest. If I say it as it is in the interview, I will have "control" of the situation (but maybe reduce my chances at getting a job).
What should I do if I think such a warning might come, but I haven't received it yet? And what to do if I get the warning before I'm called in to an interview?
Edit regarding the potential dupe:
IMHO, I don't think this is a duplicate. It's known that the company is not doing well. The mother company is listed on the Stock Exchange, and the financial records for 2015 of the daughter company I work in are publicly available. Most companies in my industry struggle at the moment, and many companies have already had several staff cuts already. It's not a matter of ethics towards my current company (I won't reveal anything not publicly known), it's a matter of appearing professional and honest. If I say nothing about the financial situation being a motivator, and the news about staff cuts are out in the media two days after then I have some explaining to do (if I even get to come back). I could say: "The company is having financial troubles but that's not why I'm applying for this job", which would give me better odds, but it would be a lie.