How can I frame my willingness to leave a job after only a month?
August 6, 2016 2:31 PM   Subscribe

I recently started a job that ranks between okay and good. I have now been contacted about a job that would be OH MY GOD HOLY SHIT WHOAAAA. How can I possibly interview without revealing what a jerk I am for leaving a job after only a month?

I accepted and began a job in mid-July. The job is fine--not great, but certainly not terrible. I could easily see myself staying there for a couple of years.

In June, I'd applied with a company I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to work for. They pay $10k-$30k more than I make right now, with benefits a bazillion times better too. It also has many other perks that are important to me. They didn't have any openings at the time but agreed to keep me on file, which I assumed was just them being polite.

Yesterday they emailed me to request an interview because they're hiring for a position I'd be qualified for. This job would definitely be better than my current, brand new job in nearly every single way as far as I can tell. My current job is pretty laid back and I enjoy that and the potential job could be more responsibility and more stress, but...for that much more money and flexibility, I think it would be more than worth it.

I said yes to the interview. But! In the email the person sent, they made a reference to a line I used to have on my LinkedIn profile that was very much related to my former job title. My former job was at a well-known company, which is likely why I am even being considered. I'm afraid that means that they haven't checked my profile since I updated it with my new job. I know how bad it looks to be willing to leave a job after a month. I hate to do it. I really normally wouldn't even consider it, but the differences in the entire compensation packages, growth, duties, culture, etc., are SO stark I would be shooting myself in the foot if I didn't at least try.

The options as I see them are:

1) Not mention this job at all, pretend I still work at the old place (I really don't want to lie but it certainly exists as an option)

2) Say this job is contract work that I took to enable me to move (sort of true--I did get this job so that I could move but this job is a full-time regular job. Again, I really don't want to lie.)

3) Say I'm in a probationary period at this job and it doesn't seem to be the job I signed up for, or some other excuse along those lines (Most jobs seem to have a 90-day period like that so it seems believable, but...this job didn't mention a probationary period, so it's technically a lie.)

4) Just be totally honest. Tell them I recently began a new job and would never ever ever do this, but considering who they are it would be a huge mistake to let the opportunity go. I know their company is aligned with my values, the job looks challenging and rewarding, and it would be a dream job for me. I hate to leave my current place in a bad spot and will do everything to smooth the transition, but working for this company is so incredibly great that I would jump at the chance. (Telling the truth, yay! But doesn't that mean they know I'm flaky and have the potential to leave them after a month, too?)

5) Be totally honest but without all the ass-kissing. Assume they DID check my Linked In, they know I got a new gig, and they still want me. Negotiate for the top end of their range, because it would take a lot to lure me away from a brand new job I just spent a month learning how to do. (This would feel super strange, for me)

So, if you were an interviewer, what would you want to hear? I would absolutely stick with my current job long term and be fine with it if this doesn't pan out, but this new opportunity has the potential to seriously change my life.

Should I just skip it and be grateful I have a job? Should I tell them "Thanks for getting in touch but I actually just got a job, me in a year"? Should I lie? Be honest? Should I be kicking myself more for even considering this? Help!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
" I have recently taken an interim position to work on X skills, and am excited to explore an opportunity with your company." Less detail, the better. And do not lie.
posted by raisingsand at 2:37 PM on August 6, 2016 [35 favorites]

You're totally overthinking this. Be totally honest without the ass-kissing. You've started a new job -- that's just a minor update. Meanwhile, you're appropriate for this open position for reasons X, Y, Z. Negotiate for a salary that's appropriate for the job with your level of experience, separate from the fact that they're luring you away from your current position.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:46 PM on August 6, 2016 [7 favorites]

I've interviewed candidates for a company that many would describe the way you have described this dream company (it may even be the same one), and we were well aware of how our candidates felt about working there. In other words, I never thought our candidates were mercenary for being willing to leave their current job for us because I knew that they viewed the position the way you view this one. I can't speak for everyone at my old company, or anyone at the company where you're interviewing, but I don't think this is a big deal.
posted by telegraph at 2:47 PM on August 6, 2016 [5 favorites]

Your honest options sound fine to me. Leaving soon isn't ideal but it happens all the time.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:48 PM on August 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

"I am not actively looking to leave my current position but the opportunity to pursue x with y organization/company is compelling because of my z interests/skills/goals."
posted by headnsouth at 2:50 PM on August 6, 2016 [12 favorites]

Say something like:
Since we've last been in touch I've taken up a position at New Company and was not actively looking for a job. However working at your company has always been a dream of mine, so I'm excited to start the interview process.
posted by peacheater at 3:06 PM on August 6, 2016 [7 favorites]

Yeah, it's OK if you just took a job but then fell into an opportunity for a much better one. Just say that the opportunity is too good for you to pass it up and that even though you aren't unhappy in your current job you knew you'd be kicking yourself if you didn't take a shot at this one.

Yeah, you'll seem eager and they might try to take advantage of that. Don't let them. Just because you really want to work there doesn't mean you have to let them walk all over you.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:25 PM on August 6, 2016

They contacted you. This is not about you being disloyal or just bouncing from one job to another. IF you get an offer, your current workplace can decide they want you and make a counter-offer. If they do, you get an improved choice; if they don't, well you are not irreplaceable after all ...
posted by GeeEmm at 3:27 PM on August 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Whatever you do, don't be totally honest. Never be totally honest in a job interview! Spin the facts to your advantage.
posted by paulcole at 3:45 PM on August 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

I did this. Took a job, in the interview process assured them I'd be willing to stay long term. Soon afterwards, I interviewed for and got my dream job, more than double the salary, excellent benefits, the whole deal. New job was uninterested in intermediate job. Intermediate boss said something like "we figured this would happen, sounds like a great opportunity". I worked a few more weeks and left on ok terms. I leave that job off my cv. I feel like a probationary period goes both ways: you should feel ok about leaving if the job isn't right. Good luck!
posted by Valancy Rachel at 4:36 PM on August 6, 2016 [5 favorites]

You should take the job. As to how to explain your situation, just matter-of-fact:

You applied to them first because they are the company you want to work for. There wasn't a position available when you applied, so you accepted a position elsewhere, but they remained and remain the place you most want to be. They have always been your priority.

ie I think you can make it personal without ass-kissing.

Skipping out on the last company looks bad if it suggests you're a flake that might do the same to them, but you have a track record of treating their company as your top priority, which can imply dedication to them instead. So point to your track record and what it means.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:56 PM on August 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

"I wouldn't skip out on this new job for anyone else, but I have always wanted to work for your company". They love that stuff. Everybody wants to be a special case, wants to be wanted.
posted by w0mbat at 5:03 PM on August 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

It is business nothing personal. If it was a business decision your company wouldn't think twice about letting you go or replacing you, they call it lay-offs. So drop the guilt, this is strictly business. Nobody should be holding you to a high level of loyalty. Your first priority should be your career. But do give them enough time/ notice if you get this new job.
posted by metajim at 6:04 PM on August 6, 2016 [4 favorites]

A probationary period works both ways. I always see the first 3 months as a "grace period" in a new job - if it doesn't work out then you leave, and leave it off your resume. Unless you've had a few successes in that time, or even gained some market-specific knowledge, that may mean you want to include it, with the explanation for leaving being that "it wasn't the job that I thought it would be when I took it". And that's fine. Up to 3 months, no recruiter will bat an eyelash (unless it's a consistent pattern, which is not your situation). Nthing the "focus on the fact that you applied to them first, and tell them why you want to work for them and why they want to hire you". Good luck!
posted by finding.perdita at 1:49 AM on August 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

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