Q: I have an interview coming up for a part-time, temporary position until next summer. I just found out that I will need to move out of the area about four months from now, so I am also looking for shorter-term positions.
Would you recommend telling the interviewer that I need to move in four months? Or would you recommend saying nothing, taking the job if offered and then just quitting when I have to move? I am concerned about future references. Also I just started a business relationship with someone who works at the company and who urged the interviewer to consider my résumé. I do not want to jeopardize that new relationship.
A: Strictly speaking, you don’t owe the employer a detailed accounting of your plans, which could fall through next month for all you know. But you definitely shouldn’t squander a professional favor performed in good faith. Your existing connection outweighs any potential referral.
Inform your business associate that you’ve had an unexpected change of plans since applying for the job, and offer to withdraw your application, with many thanks for the opportunity. If your associate urges you to follow through with the interview anyway — maybe the job is portable? — you can do so with a clear conscience.
Otherwise, a good-for-now job is a small sacrifice to make in exchange for a reference who can vouch for your integrity.