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Doing The Unthinkable In Job Search. Do You Dare?

This post is about sharing hot job leads with a direct competitor during job search.

hot job leads

I would never ask you to do this. If I didn’t think it was absolutely essential. Some of you may, in fact, shudder at the thought. As if a cold wind just blew right through your cheap windbreaker and cut into your skin. But the reality is that you have to sacrifice important things when looking for a job.

And if you are not willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, you may find yourself, well, out in the cold.

The sacrifice?  Sharing hot job leads with a direct competitor.

A few years ago, during my 2007 job search, I found myself in an interesting position. I was driving to Los Angeles with a few newly found networking friends. Carpooling to a MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group) Event. To save gas and to get to know each other a bit better.

Of course we started talking about companies in the area and past experiences interviewing with them.  Amazing how many similar experiences we had. I learned a lot about a few of my target companies – some good and some not so good.

What we were initially hesitant to share?

What was happening now! At the time, I was interviewing with two local companies and trying to angle for an interview with a third.

So I did the unthinkable. I told these guys what I was doing. I gave up a big secret.

Why would I do that? Why would I add a competitor to the mix when I was feeling good about my chances to get to round 2?

But I had a feeling . . .

So I shared company #2 and company #3 with him. And as I started doing that I felt a sense of relief. It felt great to share a lead. Even if it could potentially cost me getting the job a month or two later.

Well, the truth is that it’s a small world. Turns out that my big secret was not a secret at all. One of the guys was already through the interview process at company #1. He didn’t get an offer, but had some great experiences to share with me. It wasn’t right for him. He was also at the same point in the interview process with company #2.

Imagine the weird feeling of seeing a networking friend in the lobby of a target company. A week after you each provided an update on what was happening. How do you explain that to each other? And what happens if only one of you told the truth? What happens to that new “friendship”?

Now, let’s be clear. I am not suggesting that you send an e-mail to every group you know telling them about all the hot job leads you see. Especially if you are struggling financially. Not very targeted.

But in your network. Among the people in your circle that do what you do. I’m saying yes.

Because if you don’t get the job from one of those hot job leads, someone you know should. And by helping them get in that job, you’ll have a friend for life.

So take that privacy screen off your laptop. Let your network in on your secrets. Tell them everything you know about the hot job leads in your area.

Because if the job is meant for you, you’ll get it.

If not, someone close to you will get it.  And that’s a good thing.

What are your thoughts on sharing hot job leads with your competition? 

Have you done this?  Have you hesitated and felt bad about it later?  Or got caught?  Or do you see job search as a war – everyone for themselves?

Comment here or join the discussion on the Tim’s Strategy LinkedIn group or Facebook Fan Page.

Thanks Mike Mozart for the photo via Flickr.

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Career Networking

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