Lies Employers Use To Trick You Into Working For Them

I got this letter from a LinkedIn reader:

Dear J.T.,

Why do employers lie to get you to take the job? The last two companies I've worked for have done the same thing. They promise me things, but once I'm in the job, they don't deliver. I'm tired of getting taken advantage of and don't now how to make it stop. What am I doing wrong?

This happens a lot. And frankly, it's going to get even worse as the talent shortage increases and companies play dirty to get candidates to take their jobs.

Why Some Employers Have Rose-Colored Recruiting Glasses

While some employers are starting to properly reveal their Employment Brands, it could take a while for others to recognize the need to accurately convey what it's like to work for their company – and that will hurt their ability to hire effectively.

For example…

Companies that pull the bait-n-switch (like what the poor professional experienced above), are usually desperate to improve their troubled company – and assume hiring new talent will fix their problem. They make promises to themselves,"If we can just get the best talent in here and turn things around, we can actually make good on all these promises we're making while recruiting them."In their minds, hiring you will give them the results they need to make those promises a reality. Unfortunately, hiring alone can't fix a failing company or a broken corporate culture. Before you know it, the company is making excuses why they won't deliver on those promises – and may even try to make you feel bad for asking. As if it was your fault!? Sound familiar?

7 Potential Lies Told In The Hiring Process

Any time a company makes the following claims, you should push back and try to get more information before assuming it's the truth. While some can deliver, others can't – and it's up to you to figure out which ones are sincere.

The potential lies are:

  • There's a lot of opportunity for advancement.
  • The bonus structure will double your income.
  • Your territory is protected and we won't change it.
  • You'll get extensive training.
  • You'll have scheduling flexibility and can work from home on occasion.
  • We'll hire you some help when it gets busy.
  • Once you fix this problem/department/project, etc., you'll get to work on something new and exciting.

In order to avoid being taken advantage of, the secret is to learn to master the very same technique recruiters have been taught to spot a fake in an interview.

Use "Reverse Behavioral Interviewing" To Reveal Employer's True Self

Behavioral interviewing is a technique recruiters use to help determine the personality, aptitude, and true experience level of a candidate. They're historically open-ended questions designed to force candidates to provide more detailed answers to questions that address things like their:

  • ability to work in teams
  • work style
  • track record of success
  • ability to overcome adversity
  • capacity to cope with change

Recruiters use behavioral interviewing to explore candidates' depth of knowledge and ability to answer the questions in a way that matches the goals, values, and needs of the organization. They're also trying to identify and eliminate any liars, under-performers, or high-maintenance candidates. Hiring is expensive. Behavioral interviewing is meant to help minimize bad hires.

What If You Could Do The Same?

You can!

When your turn comes to ask questions in the interview (usually, at the end of the conversation), you can prepare a list of open-ended behavioral questions that will force the employer to articulate more clearly how they deliver on the promises they're making. For example, check these seven questions as they relate to the potential lies above:

  • Can you give me an example of someone who was hired in the last two years to a similar role who has already advanced in their career here? In particular, can you explain what they did to make that happen?
  • Can I meet someone in the company who has doubled their income with the bonus structure? I'd like to learn more about how they accomplished that.
  • I know territories can change as the business changes, what do you put into place to ensure this never happens? Is there a written legal contract of some sort?
  • Can you break down the formal training versus the informal training I will receive? And, may I speak to someone who has been in this role a year to see how they best used the training to their advantage?
  • What is the procedure for requesting to work from home? Can I speak to someone who uses this scheduling flexibility so I can learn what he/she is doing to make sure she is meeting the company's goals when working remotely?
  • Can you share with me a recent example of someone who was hired on to help due to growth. What is the company's process for identifying and funding additional headcount?
  • Can you share with me a recent example of someone who was hired on to fix a problem and has now gone on to a new project? What did they do to ensure they were given the opportunity to move on?

Each of the questions above are positively framed to show your sincere interest in the company's approach to delivering on these promises. It's up to them to give you an answer that sounds accurate and compelling. If they start to dance around the subject, or don't have a clear cut answer, you know they aren't telling the truth.

Difference Between Working "For" An Employer & Working "With" Them

Learning how to reverse behavioral interview a potential employer is a very important step in becoming a more sophisticated and successful job seeker. When you realize you want to work "with" employers and not "for" them, you can begin to approach the job search with your eyes wide open. You deserve the best opportunities, and that means improving your interview skills so you can spot the less-than-ideal employers. Use the technique above to help you get better at finding the right fit for you!

One last thought on being a better job seeker… If you really want to become a more sophisticated job seeker, I strongly suggest you take control of your search by creating an "Interview Bucket List" of employers you'd like to work with.

PS – Watching people's careers suffer in the last recession is what made me start a company.

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Our mission is to provide elite level performance coaching at affordable prices. We're disrupting the marketplace and making career coaching accessible to all. Our dedicated team of virtual career coaches help people all over the world take control of their careers once and for all. For a taste of what we do, check out the FREE VIDEO SERIES.

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