victor stesiak

Senior IT Recruiter

The phrase, “I’m happy where I am, but I want to keep my options open” is one that puts me immediately on edge. It’s one that tells me a candidate may not be entirely truthful about their motives when speaking with me about a new opportunity. 

To me, when a candidate is happy where they are, but keeping their options open, they’re more than likely searching for a counteroffer from their current place of employment. 

In most cases, a candidate is hoping to go through all the hiring motions until they get an offer from a company, likely higher than what they’re currently making. Then, they take that offer back to their company and threaten to leave unless their employer can match the new offer. 

While this may work in some cases, I urge against this tactic. Here’s why: 


1. Counteroffers rarely work in the long-run 


I have already written about why counteroffers rarely work in the long-run (link to first post above). If you’re unhappy with your salary at work, that is something you should discuss with your manager. There’s no need to take such drastic action as fishing for a counteroffer when your salary issue could be solved through a simple discussion. 


2. You’re ruining a potentially beneficial relationship 


Most recruiters will not want to work with you again when they discover you used them to leverage job offers. 

Recruiters can benefit job seekers in many ways; we save you time and expand your networks, just to name a few. 

But when candidates double-cross us, they immediately become untrustworthy and we’re usually not willing to put our eggs in a basket with that candidate again, meaning they won’t get exposure to the opportunities we could have for them had our relationship gone differently. 


You should be open to better opportunities instead 


My gut intuition, which has been honed in 16 years of experience as a recruiter, just tells me that the candidate I’m interacting with, when he or she uses the phrase “I’m happy where I’m at but I want to keep my options open,” may have underhanded motives. 

What should you say instead? 

Recruiters are much more open to the phrase: “I’m always interested in a new or better opportunity.” Though this phrase doesn’t seem all that different from the other, it raises far less red flags. 

So, are you interested in a new or better opportunity? Reach out today!

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