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I just started a "dream job" for a big IT company. I was hired to be responsible for their market strategy for in the territory. I was previously covering the whole region, and I was told that once I developed the strategy, it would be applied to all of the region, and when the position opened I would be the most suitable candidate.

After starting, I realised that:

  • there is already another team covering the (greater) rest of the region, and they already planned to hire somebody for next year. This team is complementary but independent: I would have to change manager to cover the region.

  • there is already somebody else in an independent division of the company, who is responsible for strategy in that division; my manager asked me not to replicate his efforts, which means that I will effectively have to execute his strategy.

  • I was told I would be building and managing relationships with key stakeholders over a number of years: I was immediately approached by salespeople telling me that I would not own any relationship, and shortly after that my manager told me that "I will be to busy to manage any relationship anyway".

The way things are, I am being technical support for salespeople, indirectly following orders from my equivalent in another division.

This job is not what I was told during interview. I want to believe there are professional ways and appropriate processes to get formal commitments to the nature of a role.

Independently from where I go next, which steps do I need to take to prevent this situation from repeating?

  • 4
    The key here is to remember that spoken words mean nothing. – Fattie Apr 10 at 0:34
2

I'm not sure you have to do a ton to prevent a company from lying on this scale to you; while companies might embellish how attractive a job is, completely lying about the scope of your job and the type of work you'll be doing is fairly rare. Here are a few things that might reduce the possibility of this happening:

  • Check the glassdoor.com (and/or similar) ratings and feedback about companies to which you're applying.
  • Look to work for larger, more established companies with more stability. Sometimes companies shift people around due to having needs to fill, although it's still extremely rare for a job to go from something that sounds director-level to being IT support for marketing.
  • Don't put stock in maybes and future promises. The longer out a promotion, raise, etc. is the less likely a company is to follow through on it. If you're going to take a job based on something it might become, make sure you're still willing to take the job based on what the initial offer is.
  • Make sure the salary matches the job you're being promised. If someone is offering you a job where you're being groomed for a major, influential role, but they're paying you a small fraction of what that major, influential role would be, then my guess is they're less sincere about you really getting a massive role. You can always experiment with this one by asking for some of that money upfront instead of having it all hinge; that should help you gauge things as well. (If the money matches, at least you'd be getting paid director money to do IT support work.)

Of course, I hope you're making the most of it while you try to move on as immediately as possible. I would also leave them a public review describing the vast differences between the job you were offered and the role you moved into.

5

First of all, try to understand that this happens really frequently. So unfortunately you are no exception.

There is no good way to prevent it. You will probably receive answers that you should ask questions about the role and look at how your interviewers answer them. However, the truth is if someone wants to mislead you or is just misinformed, this won't help.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of double standards when it comes to hiring. When I was in your position and was straightforward about it while applying for new jobs, I heard comments like "well, you decided to take the job, so no matter what, you should try to make the best of it". If a candidate lied about their experience, surely the employer wouldn't be so nice about it.

You can read online reviews. They may be helpful. You can try to network as much as possible and keep your ears open for information about companies and teams. Even if you live in a city of a considerable size, there are probably some main employers you are interested in. Try attending events they organise. Try networking with employees. This has helped me enormously. Apart from that, there are no good ways to prevent this situation from happening.

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    "really frequently" How frequently ? In my experience, this is pretty rare. Yes, sometimes you're asked to do some tasks outside of your job description, but here the job is completely different. That level of deceptiveness is in my experience not that common. – MlleMei Apr 9 at 20:46
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    @MlleMei I work on a Javascript team and one of my teammates is on the team even though the company explicitly hired him as a Java Developer (and he didn't do ANY development work for the first 2-3 years at the company). Not sure how common it is but from personal experience I know a handful of people who have encountered it – chevybow Apr 9 at 21:02
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    I'm with @MlleMei. I've heard of and seen overselling a job. This is the first time I've ever heard of something this deceptive. – dbeer Apr 9 at 22:03
  • @MlleMei, it's not. When I applied for my current job there were 2 types of reactions: the one I describe in the post and, much more frequently, "the same happened to me x years ago". It may be better if you work in tech, I imagine it would be more difficult to lie about "hard facts" (technologies used, etc.) than softer ones. – BigMadAndy Apr 10 at 5:25
  • @BidMadAndy Then to you and chevybow it's frequent, me I don't have a colleague or a friend who has had this issue (that I know of). Anyway your advice is still solid : online research and networking. And if it still happens, job search immediately, you don't have to make the best of it. – MlleMei Apr 10 at 6:16
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The way to prevent this is to ask them to put the description into writing in the contract. In fact, I would propose a job description to them that you would like to see in the contract. In your case, that might look like

The employee will be the sole person in charge of sales for the XXX region at the start of his employment. More stuff...

At this point, they will see that that is not true and will probably start backtracking. It would probably at this point come out exactly what the work conditions will look like. You should iterate on this description until you are in 100% agreement on what the job would look like. If they don't put the description you want, then you simply don't sign.

Of course, they could still flat out lie at that point, but I think it would be much less likely and would possibly open them up to legal repercussions.

IANAL, but I would guess that if the contract explicitly states a false description of the job, then you might be able to quit and sue them for loss of income (presuming you quit another job to take that one), and probably also relocation costs.

In general, the employer should view this as beneficial as well, because if they give you a task and you cannot accomplish it, then they can point to the contract and say, "This is precisely what we hired you to do". Presumably they could fire you at that point.

When telling an employer that you would like a description in the contract, I would explain the benefits from both sides.

Hi Sally/Bob,

Can you please put a more precise description of the job in the contract? We discussed a lot of things during the interview process, and I just want to make sure that it is clear to everybody exactly what I am expected to do. I would like such a description because accepting this job is a big move for me, and I want to be sure that I am capable of accomplishing the requirements of the position.

EDIT:

FWIW, I have this in my contract. I work in Germany. At the beginning of the contract is this language:

  1. The Employee shall be employed by the Employer as XXX. A detailed role description will be added to this contract as appendix 1.

Then in Appendix 1:

Description for the role of XXX:

• ...

• ...

• ...

  • Have you tried this? It seems a good idea, but I have not seen any work contracts that specify roles and responsibilities in detail like this, so asking for this may come across as weird. However, I have seen contracts that mention a job title and role with a reference to the job description which covers standard duties, which is a separate, less legally tight description. It's still more formal than the interview discussion though, and could maybe help the OP to work it through as you describe – Neil Slater Apr 10 at 10:44
  • I agree that it is not common. I have this in my contract. I will edit the post to give more details. – bremen_matt Apr 10 at 10:52
  • My job contract has lots of information, and I signed dozens of documents (it's a BIG company), but role description is "Mr. Smith will work in the role of <role>". No description of duties. – Monoandale Apr 10 at 18:49
  • I understand. As I stated, I do not believe that it is common to list the duties. However, it IS possible (e.g. my contract). Furthermore, I believe that this approach is the only way to really prevent deception in a legally binding way. Every other approach seems to me to be less reliable. – bremen_matt Apr 10 at 18:58
  • Also, it may be just my point of view, but this request doesn't seem too unreasonable. They should have already defined the tasks in the job ad. So what rationale would seem legitimate for them NOT also defining the tasks in the contract? – bremen_matt Apr 10 at 19:03
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A: Find a new job.

B: Write scathing review of their practice on employer review sites. You may want to create a throw away ID for this.

By writing solid, but no holds barred reviews pointing out company's deceptive hiring practices you put pressure on the company to do better. Just like consumer reports on Amazon, enough bad reviews, and the market for that product, or the good appicants for that job decrease.

While this does not have a short term effect that will fix it next time, it's a long term effect if enough people become active doing it.

This is NOT an immediate solution for OP. It IS a solution for how social action by the workforce in general can solve this sort of situation.

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    This is not answering the question of how to prevent this from situation from repeating. See the bold text at the end of the question. This is not a "what do I do?" question. – doppelgreener Apr 10 at 10:41
  • This does not answer the question...at all. – Mister Positive Apr 10 at 11:20
  • I have attempted to add an explanation for what I thought was obvious for why this is an effective, but long term solution. – Sherwood Botsford Apr 10 at 12:29

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