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VOL. 43 | NO. 42 | Friday, October 18, 2019

You’re hired! Oh wait, there isn’t really an opening

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Hiring managers know finding the right candidate takes time. There are often multiple phone screens, multiple video interviews and in-person panel interviews.

In some cases, there are homework assignments, IQ tests, personality tests and drug tests. Typically, there are reference checks. Job seekers sometimes provide writing samples or portfolios of their work.

Thinking about this makes me tired. Don’t you agree? The point is, going through a job search is a ton of work – on both sides. It’s very important that the job seeker is honest and upfront with the company. If they misrepresent their work in any way, the company won’t be able to make the best hiring decision.

On the flip side, it’s very important that the company be honest and upfront with the candidate. For example, companies sometimes interview candidates when there is no job available.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it? How could that possibly happen?

First, it does happen. I recently witnessed someone go through 15 rounds of interviews with one company. At the end, the person was notified that they were the top choice candidate, but the team wasn’t authorized to hire anyone.

I don’t think the company meant any harm by this decision. I think they truly hoped they would get approval for the position but just never did.

But, let’s think of this from the candidate’s perspective. The candidate turned down other interviews to attend these 15 interviews. The candidate missed their own work meetings to go to these interviews. The candidate made many sacrifices of time over months in order to make this work.

They made these choices because they were investing in an opportunity that the candidate wanted.

When the company shared with the candidate that it wouldn’t be able to hire them, the company never apologized. It seems clear that the company didn’t realize how much they personally impacted that job seeker. The company never thought about the other opportunities the person walked away from to focus on them.

This is where ethics come in.

Interviewing candidates for a job isn’t the same as test driving cars at the dealership. They’re real people.

It’s not a problem if you don’t select someone because they weren’t the best candidate.

And, if the job was canceled midway through the process – well, life happens.

But, if you are interviewing candidates when you know there is not approval for a job, and you aren’t disclosing that information to the candidate in the first conversation, you are being an unethical hiring manager.

The candidate should be able to decide if this role is important enough to prioritize it, considering the potential risk involved.

Let’s agree to be honest and upfront. Ethics are important. Transparency is important.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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