Who is fooling who in this case?

  • Post published:03/05/2023
  • Reading time:7 mins read

Shoot yourself in the footWe also call it Shooting Yourself in the Foot. Who’s fooling who when HR is overselling the job at the interview, just to see the newly hired resign months later?

It was just the other day that I talked to yet another candidate who left a job after just months of employment: “The job turned out to be very different to what they told me it would be”

So, I don’t keep records of how many similar candidates that I have spoken to over my 20 years in executive recruitment.

Let me be nice and say that the candidate the other day was far from the first and I’m afraid not the last.

How employers make positions more appealing

Are you oversellingWe all know that finding candidates is no longer a walk in the park. It’s been difficult.

Overselling is a strategy used by some companies. They make their vacant positions more appealing to have any chance of attracting the right sort of people.

  • Rely on the corporate brand (typically only possible for the world’s most famous consumer brands).
  • Reporting to a manager whom the candidate met during the rounds of interviews – but without saying that person is leaving later that month and a new manager arrives. You learn this on your first working day, and it turns out the chemistry with your new manager is not there.
  • Providing competitive compensation and benefits including a flashing title like CEO for a company of only five people. LOL.
  • The new company car you were promised is no longer a new Toyota Camry but a second-hand Toyota Vios. What will your neighbours think?
  • Sign-on bonus paid with first month’s salary, with a Catch-22 that it must be paid back if the employee leaves within 12 months.
  • The “promised” once-a-month Zoom/Teams meeting with the head office, in a time zone 12 hours behind or ahead of your own, turns out to be a few times a week. So, you repeatedly work with meetings at 5am and 11pm while doing your normal 9 to 5 job.  
  • Work-From-Home and flexible working hours when the job actually dictates you must be at the office every day of the week to manage your team.
  • The beautiful office downtown in the Central Business District is your office for a few weeks and to your surprise that office is closed and all staff are relocated to the factory outside the city.
  • Offering potential growth and career paths that don’t really exist. Or perhaps involves moving to another country that you know the family will object to.

Consequences of overselling job opportunity

About to resignWhen companies oversell the job opportunity during interviews, they can create a number of problems for themselves and for the candidates. Here are some potential issues:

Unmet Expectations: When a company oversells a job opportunity, candidates may get the impression that the job is more interesting or better-paying than it really is.

If candidates take the job based on this false impression, they may be disappointed when they find out the reality of the job.

This can lead to decreased morale, job dissatisfaction, and ultimately, turnover.

Trust Issues: If a candidate realizes that a company has oversold the job opportunity, they may begin to question the company’s integrity and honesty.

This can lead to a breakdown in trust between the candidate and the company and can make it difficult for the company to retain the candidate in the long-term.

Negative Reviews: If candidates feel that they were misled during the interview process, they may leave negative reviews on employer review websites or social media.

This can damage the company’s reputation and make it more difficult for them to attract future talent.

Legal Issues: In some cases, overselling a job opportunity can lead to legal issues if candidates feel that they were discriminated against or misled during the hiring process.

This can lead to costly lawsuits and damage the company’s reputation.

In conclusion

It is important for companies to be honest and transparent with candidates during the interview process.

Make sure to talk about the less glamorous sides of the job and your company culture. Present the plans that are already known to avoid the new employee complaining you should have shared at the interview.

While it may be tempting to oversell a job opportunity to attract top talent, the potential long-term consequences can far outweigh any short-term benefits.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.