Explaining to my references why I'm already looking to leave my new job
September 21, 2016 5:27 AM   Subscribe

I recently started a new job, and quickly realized it was a big mistake to accept the position. I'm searching for other opportunities but don't know what I should say to my references about the situation.

I relocated for a new job at Company A about a month and a half ago, and things aren’t going as well as I hoped. My actual job responsibilities are OK, but I just can’t see myself getting used to the office culture and location.

After realizing that this position probably won’t be a good long-term fit, I’ve been applying for jobs back in my previous city. I’m starting to get requests for interviews, but am stumped as to how to explain the situation to my references. My references know I’m working at Company A, and I’m worried that my plans to jump ship after a couple months will cause them to think I’m unprofessional and flaky. Normally I would never even think about leaving a job before one to two years, and feel kind of ashamed to admit things aren’t working out so well here.

How do I explain this to my references in a way that is professional and doesn’t make them less enthusiastic about providing a strong reference for me? Would it help to give details about why I’m looking to leave, or is it better to be vague about the reasons?

Also, I've been omitting Company A from my resume entirely. Should I tell my references this? I don't want to seem deceptive, but I'm also wouldn't want them to mention anything about Company A during a reference check.

Any other tips on what to say would be greatly appreciated!
posted by oiseau to Work & Money (6 answers total)
You mention something about returning to a previous city. Could you say something like "For personal reasons I am looking to relocate back to CityX" - which, you know, is true.

If your previous job history shows commitment (a few jobs in the 2-3 year range) I would not worry about omitting this one, presuming you leave within 3 months. If for whatever reason your job search takes closer to 6 months, I think you will need to amend it to add this job back in or else you will need to explain what you've been up to during this time. You can still use the "I want to move back to CityX" reason.
posted by like_neon at 5:39 AM on September 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

AskAManager usually just advises you say something like "the job turned out not to be a good fit" or (if true) "the position turned out to be somewhat different than it was described during the interviews".

This is pretty common. I wouldn't sweat it.
posted by anastasiav at 5:49 AM on September 21, 2016 [7 favorites]

The thing with this route though is that you should also be prepared to answer if they ask you what about it was not a good fit. If I was a hiring manager I would follow up for sure, not to be nosy or try to call you out, but so that I make sure that *this* job is a good fit. This is not necessarily a bad thing if you can spin it so that you don't sound like you're putting down the current environment and just being honest about what is important to you.
posted by like_neon at 6:51 AM on September 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

If you're moving back to your original city, that gives you a good out. I'd use that as the reason you are "unfortunately" having to leave this new job.
posted by xingcat at 6:52 AM on September 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

Don't obsess over the two-year thing, it's just not that much of a thing anymore unless it is a long-term chronic situation. Also, do your references even know a) you got one of the jobs they referred you for b) that job wasn't a contract/short term gig?"

Don't overexplain, just be like "Hey, would you mind if I used you for a reference again?" Say nothing, if they ask say it turned out not to be as advertised.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:01 AM on September 21, 2016

It's too late for the jobs you've already applied to, but personally, I would remove your current job from your resume (assuming you were employed directly before accepting it.)
posted by Automocar at 8:19 AM on September 21, 2016

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