Interviewing @ a nearby company

So I’m currently junior ID at a job I really enjoy. The pay is slightly below average though, and I am also looking to climb the ranks beyond jr designer as Ill be 27 this year.
My dilemma is I’ve just been referred for a senior industrial design position about 30 miles from my current job. I’m leaning towards not applying tho since I do enjoy my job, but is it a better idea to keep an open mind? Who knows maybe the pay raise / title would be worth it…
The risk is that my current company could find out since both companies know each other more or less.
Anyone have any advice or thoughts?

I would expect conversations/interviews with the potential new company to be in confidence and confidential. How long have you been a junior designer at your current company for? It’s difficult to climb ranks if you don’t apply for higher level openings because you like your junior job…

The main reason I’m hesitant to apply is because I dont want my boss to find out. I would expect confidentiality too but it’s not a legally binding is it?
I’m approaching 2 years now at my current job

All good bosses know that people interview. Your boss’s job is not to prevent you from interviewing, their job is to keep you. Keeping employees takes the form of a number of things, a great workplace, continual learning and challenges, benefits, promotions, and pay. If you feel like you are not getting those needs met it is within your right to interview other places. No one can fault you for that. A boss who did find out and was retaliatory would not be being a very good boss.

One thing I will say, if you love your job and your boss but feel under compensated based on market value, I would have that discussion with your boss before applying anywhere else. You might get what you want right there. Your boss also might say prove it to me, which means go interview and they might counter offer. This happened to me and when I interviewed somewhere else I got an offer for 35% more! So I went back to my boss and he was able to get me a 30% raise and I stayed. 30% to not have to move and stay at a company Ioved, not a bad exercise in market value. On the flip side I had a designer interview for a job and their offer was more than I could counter and I wished her the best of luck, I was happy for her. It was a short term pain, but that’s life. It helped me show the CEO what we needed to be paying people to keep them.

Of course it could also backfire. Everything brings risk. Doing nothing brings the continual risk of being undervalued.

Thank you Yo, those are great points for me to think about…

Money and seniority of title won’t make you happier, but could be a stepping stone to being employed at that level at another company that you would enjoy more in the future or leverage to get your current company to promote you.

In the UK references are not typically asked for unless and until the company is interested in offering you something from your CV etc. You could just write “References available upon request.” on your CV and if they contact your boss anyway they would surely be breaching some kind of privacy laws? I don’t know the US at all.

30 miles is nearby? Either you live in a really big city, or a really small one :wink:

Interviewing and comparing is normal. You need to look after yourself, just as the company needs to look out for their business.

Agree with Yo that it can be good to voice your dissatisfaction with your current position/salary with your current employer. You could be helping your boss letting them know how to stay competitive and retain talent.

Most larger salary increases happen when you move jobs. Most local markets have multiple jobs where everyone knows everyone anyhow and it’s routine that people move between competitors. As long as it’s handled professionally, it should be problem.

Best of luck!


This exercise becomes easier with the world of Linkedin. See if your boss is connected to the hiring manager or anyone on that team.

In general:
-Assume that they do know each other. If you are interviewing at a competitor, be very closely guarded about what you say or do. A former coworker once showed confidential materials during an interview from a big client. That big client was friends with the hiring manager, he called up his buddy and my coworker lost their job after finding out he showed their latest non public designs. There are other threads about this specific topic. If it’s public and out in the wild, go for it.
-It’s OK to interview as mentioned above. All of that advice is relevant. I probably got 3 job offers during my 9 year tenure with my first employer and went on several other interviews. I never left, but each time used the exercise to better understand what I wanted in a role (more scope, more management opportunities, etc) and was able to leverage pay bumps and more confidence once I had the offers in hand.
-It’s also fine to have conversations either before or after your interview. If you are unhappy, it’s always useful to surface that information sooner rather than later, otherwise you give your boss no opportunity to fix it. If you have surfaced your concerns (work atmosphere, pay, etc) then it’s all the more reason why you should be looking. You may get a counter-offer out of the blue just to have your employer encourage you to “stop”. I regularly had to review people who I thought were flight risks and see how I could entice them to stay either by shifting their workload, bumping their pay, or offering other benefits (remote work, conferences, etc) - but it only sometimes works. Once someone really wants to leave it’s hard to change their mind, usually you just prolong the inevitable so you can better plan for the change.

It is amazing the bone headed things people do sometimes. In general, if you wouldn’t be careful with the world hearing what you said or seeing what you are showing, then don’t say it or show it. This is a little OT, but a funny anecdote. A co-worker of mine from early days at a design consultancy went off and became a design executive at a company. She interviewed a senior designer who used to work for one of our old clients. This designer’s portfolio was stacked with my sketches that I had done as a consultant for him on a project and my old co-worker who was interviewing him was also on that project. Now she knew he was on the client side, and gave him every out asking “so is this a project you managed, did you contribute to the ideas, or are these actually your sketches”. He should have taken the out and said “I managed the project” but instead he claimed the actual sketches as his own at which point she said that she and I used to work together and were still friends. His face went red and the interview was over.

Don’t do stuff like that. We all work in teams, and it is rare a single person does everything by themselves. Unless you are a solitary designer maker it just really isn’t possible. But if someone asked a direct question like that, be honest.

Back on topic. Mike brings up a good point, do a LinkedIn research… but even so, no guarantee they don’t know each other, or aren’t friends of friends. So be on your best behavior. That is why I suggest to talk to your boss first to let him know you feel that you deserve better pay and a higher title (come prepared with proof by the way, salary comps, job descriptions, otherwise it is just complaining). Once you do that your boss has been notified. If they hear you are interviewing they will think to themselves “well, he did talk to me about a raise and brought salary comps, and competitive job descriptions, and some sales data for his projects, this isn’t a surprise then”