Is it Necessary to Discuss your Self-Employment During a Job Interview?

Looking for a job to put food on the table while trying to set up your business project at the same time is quite legitimate. But should you discuss it to a future employer? And if so, how to discuss your self-employment during a job interview?

Mathieu Guénette, guidance counsellor and founder of the company Les Chercheurs de Sens, is familiar with this dilemma. And for good reason – he has had his own experience in making the transition from a management position in the human resources field to being self-employed. “It’s more delicate if the services which you are planning to offer on your own are the same as those of the potential employer. There is a question of conflicts of interest to consider,” he emphasizes.

“But at the same time, it lets us get experience and create a network,” he adds. “In my case, my credibility at starting my own company was linked to the fact that I held a management position in the same field.”

Is it better to keep quiet about our future self-employment projects? The answer is no. According to Mathieu Guénette, transparency is always in order. “The best is to be open. Explain your intentions, by saying that you will work on your project in the evenings and outside work,” he advises. Try therefore to convince the employer of your expertise and professional abilities, while reassuring of your loyalty over the short and medium term.

In any case, he will very soon doubt the worker’s long term intention. Does the employee present a vision? Is he trying to climb the ranks and distinguish himself? These are things that become clear easily. Obviously, it is better to leave this part of the conversation to the end of the interview, after taking the pulse and giving a good impression. There’s also no point in discussing this in a cover letter – face-to-face is more appropriate.

A trademark

Another reason to be more transparent from the start is to create a positive impression, which will follow you well after you leave the company. “An entrepreneur must be proactive, caring, genuine, etc.,  It’s the trademark that follows him, whether he makes cakes or builds websites,” Mathieu Guénette affirms. Who knows, an open employer could even become a mentor, or refer potential clients to you. “When launching out on your own, you need a network. And in this network everyone counts!” he concludes.

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