I wish I didn’t have to write this article about the dark side of the job search process, but I’d be remiss in not describing some tricks and ploys that are played on the unwary. By the way, these “tricks” are done on both sides of the job search process, by organizations and individuals alike. None are illegal, just shady.
On the recruiter or company’s side:
Sometimes a contingency recruiter finds their files short in a particular function and will run a blind ad to fill up the empty file, even though they don’t have a search in hand
A hiring manager may initiate a search, already knowing whom the finalist will be. It may be someone internal or external, but the die is caste as to the ultimate winner
An unethical organization that has no moral center may hire away a key employee from a competitor, get the information they want, then move them to the side or worse
Create a blind ad to see who applies from their own organization: A gotcha!
Initiate a search for a targeted position and interview competitor’s staff in order to get competitive information or strategies
“Buy” the star performer from a competitor to eliminate them from the marketplace
Offer a job then change the function or pay after the candidate has committed.
Sometimes the employee plays the “trick”. Here are some questionable tactics, whereby the applicant/candidate uses the system in an underhanded way:
Interview with the knowledge that you’re not interested in the job, but seek competitive information about strategy, budgets, talented staff or new products/markets
You want to find out what your references are saying about you, so you have a friend call the reference and say, “I’m the President of XXXX and we’re interviewing XXXXXX. You’re listed as a reference. Can you comment on his performance and character?”
Interview with a competitor to use as a wedge for more money in your current job.
Fabricate credentials or results that are fictitious. A very bad idea but done all the time.
Three points are important to pass on to you:
1. These tactics may work once or twice, but sooner or later the word gets out into the marketplace, and the recruiter, organization or individual is shunned in the future. Your reputation is more valuable to you than a short-term advantage. If you’re talented and a performer your star will raise on it’s own merit.
2. My experience has demonstrated that organizations and individuals who use these tactics eventually lose their momentum. Those who use these underhanded tactics will be found out. It’s not worth it.
3. By having the knowledge of these dirty tricks, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Forewarned is to be forearmed.
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