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My company is exploring an exit opportunity so that the founders can move onto better things. They've put forward a significant retention package to keep people for the next ~12 months. I'm interested in exploring new job opportunities, but it's not likely that I'd find an offer competitive with the retention package.

How do I tell recruiters/employers that I'm looking, but I have a date of next year to start? Is it appropriate to disclose my reasons?

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IMHO, the best you can do is to tell recruiters that you are not in the market right now, but that you would like to keep then in your network for the future.

You see, in most cases the problem is that both the companies that are hiring and first/third party recruiters are going to expect you to join in a short period of time (1-3 months, sometimes ASAP). It is going to be very difficult to find a company willing to wait for a whole year.

In any case, if you are 100% committed to stay in your current company for the next 12 months, you can also use this time for training yourself, learn new skills to make you more marketable, and even get some interviewing experience. There are many things you can do while you wait for the end of the retention period.

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