I don't want to look like I'm ready to abandon ship any given moment.
February 24, 2013 6:59 PM   Subscribe

How do you respond to people who want to hire you or people who are looking for someone with your skills and qualifications while you're on duty for your current employer?

I once had a meeting for work and the person I was meeting told me that she's looking for new people in her team, just in case I was interested. I just smiled because I didn't know how to respond appropriately, though I did want to explore the opportunity further. I got flustered.
There was another time when I bumped into a couple of people on a work day, and they told me that the Country Head of a company that they were with was "looking for somebody like me".

How do I respond with my interest without looking like an opportunist? For future reference, hopefully.

posted by drea to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
"Thank you! That's very flattering!"
posted by xingcat at 7:08 PM on February 24, 2013

Switch it to a lunch invitation. "Well, I don't know, but perhaps we should have lunch sometime," or "I'm pretty happy where I am, but I'd be delighted to have lunch with him sometime to hear about what Company X is looking for."
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:09 PM on February 24, 2013 [6 favorites]

I usually say something like "I'm not currently looking, but thank you!" Possibly also adding "I'll let you know if that changes..."
posted by rmd1023 at 7:17 PM on February 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

The lunch invitation, or something along those lines, is the right way to go. Take it out of the work environment, with something non-committal like Monsieur Caution's "I'm pretty happy where I am, but...". After all, you can't say for sure whether you'd be interested in the position unless you learn more. And if you say you want to learn more about what they're looking for, it might not even be because you're interested; surely you have other friends and contacts in the industry who you might be able to refer to the position.
posted by Lady Li at 7:54 PM on February 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

It depends on if you're interested or not.

If you're not say, "Gosh, that's so flattering, I'm very happy where I am right now, but if things change I'll let you know."

If you are interested (and you really should explore all of your options.) "Wow, that's great to hear. While I'm happy where I am, I'd love to hear more about it." Leave it open for them to invite you out, or to carve out time for an interview or whatever.

If it's within your current company, mention it to your boss. "When I was meeting with Dina in Finance, she mentioned that they were looking to expand the team and thought I might be interested. What do you think about that?"

You should have a decent working relationship with your boss though. A good boss will say, "That's interesting. Let me know what happens." A GREAT boss will say, "Terrific! What can I do to help you with that?"

In a good, functional company, managers want the employees to be growing and moving and improving their situations. That's how you retain great employees and have them working optimally for you.

In dysfunctional companies, there is fear, envy, etc.

You know where you work. At the end of the day though, if it's within the same company, your boss will need to give permission for you to move to a new job. Act accordingly.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:23 AM on February 25, 2013

I don't think you have to worry about coming off as an opportunist, especially if they approached you.
posted by radioamy at 10:38 AM on February 25, 2013

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