A reader writes:
I’ve been with my current employer for just over 5 years and have a really great relationship with my boss. While I used to love my job, over the past year or so, I’ve started to lose interest and have started looking for another job. An opportunity presented itself in another city which I’m currently interviewing for. They head-hunted me and so far the job is looking promising – after a phone interview with HR and an interview with my potential boss, they’re flying me out to meet the team (paying for my hotel, car and flights).
My problem is I have a performance review with my current employer a few days before I fly out for my interview. My boss has hinted at the fact that she knows I’m unhappy at the moment and has asked where I see myself going in the company, which she said we could discuss in my review.
My question is – what do I say in my review? Should I be honest and say I’m interviewing for another job? I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot and give her a reason to fire me off or treat me unfairly if I don’t get the job (though I do expect she would reply reasonably). I would feel bad about misleading her in any way (and am a horrible liar), so if she asks me straight up where I see myself going with the company, I’m not sure how I should respond, especially given that I don’t see myself staying there too far in the future.
Don’t say that you’re interviewing for another job. You may not get it or you may decide it’s not for you. There’s no reason to be that specific, until you get an offer that you’re going to accept.
However, you should talk to her honestly about why you’re not as content as you used to be. Think about the factors that pushed you to start looking, and talk to her about those (without mentioning that you have a job search in progress). You never know — if you talk to her honestly about that, she might be able to address those things. You might get offered a different job with your current company that would make you happier. Or you might not — but you’ll have been honest with her about your thinking, and if you do end up leaving sometime soon, she’ll appreciate that you didn’t let her think that everything was fine. Good luck!