Is it best to be completely transparent or selectively revealing?
August 31, 2009 1:25 PM   Subscribe

I am quitting my job and moving to Minneapolis at the end of the month. Should I tell prospective employers (in the Twin Cities) this information, or be vague about the fact that I will soon be unemployed?

Fortunately my wife has a job in MN so we won't be without income, but I know that negotiating from unemployed is a lot harder than from an employed position. I don't like the idea of lying about when I am moving or even putting a MN address on my resume when I don't live there.
posted by pithy comment to Work & Money (9 answers total)
You don't need to add the "quitting" information. The usual way to say this is something like "I am relocating to Minneapolis and actively looking for work."

I know that negotiating from unemployed is a lot harder than from an employed position.

In my experience, this is a myth. You may feel less confident, and in a weaker position, but it makes no difference to the employer. You could have other income, or a working spouse, or whatever. It makes no difference to your attractiveness as a hire.

And, since as you say you don't need the income, you are definitely not in even this weakened psychological position. You can act as confident as anyone with a secure job, or a trust fund, or whatever.
posted by rokusan at 1:28 PM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you're applying while employed in another city, it's pretty obvious that you plan to leave that job, isn't it? And relocating because of your wife's employment is a good reason. I don't think you have anything to worry about.
posted by winston at 1:31 PM on August 31, 2009

As somebody who does some hiring from time to time, I am assuming that if you're applying for a job at my company and are currently employed, you will be leaving the other job should I hire you. I don't think you need to say anything about it at all to prospective employers.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:36 PM on August 31, 2009

I have this feeling that they will all just wait until I am in Minneapolis to talk to me so they save the potential moving expense and could offer a lower salary since I don't have as much negotiating strength.
posted by pithy comment at 1:48 PM on August 31, 2009

I guess part of my concern is that I am not in MN yet and they are asking about my timeline, etc. Should I answer by saying I will be unemployed in 3 weeks?
posted by pithy comment at 1:51 PM on August 31, 2009

No, you answer by saying you will be available for interviews starting three weeks from now.
posted by rokusan at 1:57 PM on August 31, 2009

Nobody is going to pay your moving expenses when you're moving anyway.

And for god's sake, don't start a new relationship by lying to your new employer and "tricking" them into paying for your move. Bad first step.

Be honest, straightforward and positive. It does wonders, especially in the midwest.
posted by rokusan at 1:59 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Having dealt with Minneapolis/Saint Paul as an outsider...the conventional wisdom applies. It's actually pretty different from the rest of the midwest, and a I'm a lifelong midwesterner (NW Indiana.)

It's wonderfully progressive here in many ways, but when it comes to the secret language of's not so much. I wouldn't let it be known that you're a)about to be unemployed and b)following your wife. When I was relocating after my divorce, I never got calls back on "trying to move to the cities." What got me calls was "I am relocating..." and explaining nothing further, and simply repeating that I am relocating on x date when probed for further information in interviews.

I'm sure others have had different experiences, but that's how it happened for me and it still seems to be the case with jobhunting/relocating friends of mine.
posted by medea42 at 2:48 PM on August 31, 2009

Should I answer by saying I will be unemployed in 3 weeks?

Do not ever use the word "unemployed." Ever. You might as well say that you'll be "drinking Mad Dog and begging for change on a streetcorner near you!" Being unemployed is not pleasant and not something that people choose to be. One does not become unemployed by choice, one relocates. One is available for work. One is in the area starting... But never "unemployed."

The first response you got, from rokusan, is the correct one. Just tell potential employers that you will be relocating to MN as of whatever date—which lets them know that they won't need to pay for your relocation expenses!—and available to start any time after that. They will read between the lines and figure out the rest, i.e. that you are quitting your job and won't have one.

Moving to another city isn't exactly unheard of; people do it all the time. (Moving with a spouse/S.O., moving away from or closer to family, just want to try a different city, whatever.) It's understood by most intelligent people that if you do that and don't have a job offer already, that you're moving and will be unemployed when you get there.

This is putting it strongly, but outside of the entrepreneurial Silicon Valley culture, and perhaps less so in the midst of a recession but even still, there's a certain stigma in the U.S. that comes with being "unemployed." It's something we have government programs for, after all, and have to pay into insurance against the eventuality of. It has an air of desperation to it that you don't want to give off. Hiring someone who is "unemployed" makes it seem like the employer is doing you a favor. You don't want them to feel that way; even if there's a line of people a mile long at their door, you want them to feel lucky to have found you. If you don't begin from that stance (not obnoxiously so, but just self-confidently), your whole negotiating position is going to suffer.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:25 PM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

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