What happens if a company isn’t honest at an interview!

Are you guilty of ‘bigging up’ your company at the interview stage? Painting an idyllic picture of working at the firm; how friendly, adaptable, invested your company is, and how an applicant would be mad not to want to work there?

We see this quite a bit, where companies build up expectations they simply can’t live up to. Their culture doesn’t allow it. Companies doing this are not only kidding themselves, they are misleading applicants , and it rarely ends well.

It can start with the job description. As a candidate, try reading between the lines. If you are presented with phrases in a JD such as “tenacity and perseverance essential”, ask at the interview what that really means. What happened to the last person who held this post? Did they leave early, how did they ‘fail’? What are they genuinely wanting from an applicant that they haven’t had before?

Sometimes the deception is by omission. A company in decline is unlikely to say they are planning a massive layoff soon, and that the successful applicant will be left with two people’s jobs to do! Potential pitfalls are rarely mentioned…

A stunning sounding job can be created out of the most mundane routine work by an enthusiastic interviewer who believes they have the ideal applicant in front of them, so beware. Interviewees are expected to paint the rosiest of pictures of their achievements, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it is one-sided, because it is not.

The results of a company behaving this way are pretty evident in staff turnover figures and people not completing their probationary period before handing in their notice. Yes, it looks bad on an applicants CV and they will have to explain their actions to future employees, but that only serves to highlight the company‘s failings to deliver against a new employee’s expectations. And it’s expensive for all involved!

The cost of recruitment on the company bottom line has been well documented. Having the wrong, or no staff, in place is rarely profitable. The first 3 to 6 months are incredibly expensive as the company inducts and trains a new employee. Imagine also, having to manage their rapid disillusionment, their growing resentment and subsequent disruptive behaviour.

Companies, on the other hand, who are generally upfront about what a potential employee can expect on joining, fare much better. Trust is interjected early on in the relationship.

Despite what many interviewers believe, people prefer to know the practices and shortfalls they can expect. Telling them that you are short staffed and you are all pulling together at the moment whilst you build the team gives them a heads up when you are too pushed to stop and help immediately. Knowing that they will be covering for others allows candidates to form an honest opinion of whether they wish to rise to the ‘challenge’ or walk away to the next interview because it’s not for them.

In a world where recruitment has become increasingly more difficult, honesty has become a vital component. On the back of the Covid pandemic much has changed. Honesty, flexibility and willingness to compromise have become important attributes, not just for the potential employee, but for the company as well.

So, have you, as a candidate, been on the receiving end of an enthusiastic interviewer who rather embellished the job prospects?

Indeed, have you been that interviewer who found themselves so keen to engage a candidate that you inadvertently did this?

Have you ever had cause to leave a job within your probation period because you had been misled?

Please, share your experiences with us; we can all learn by sharing.

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