Career Advice Tuesday – “The Ol’ Bait and Switch”
July 31, 2012
For the past two months I have been in the middle of an interview process, for what I believe to be a pretty senior role. The role was a promotion from my current duties, and it was to provide me with a larger team of people, a bigger scope of responsibilities, and a larger compensation package.
During the interview process, I confirmed that the scope of the role was larger with both the hiring manager, and the hiring manager’s manager. This was confirmed both on the phone and via e-mail. I also had detailed discussions with the human resources person at the onset of the interview process about my compensation requirements and what it would take for me to give up my current role (where I am quite happy). I received assurances that this would not be an issue.
Well, I finished the interview process and the offer was incredibly disappointing. First of all, the role on the offer was for a lower level (similar to my current job) and the compensation was for 20K salary less than I requested.
The hiring manager told me that I should “trust them”, and they just had to smooth things over with the incumbents before they made the announcement. They also blamed the whole compensation thing on the HR team, stating that “they’d see what they could do”, but could not go much higher than the initial offer
Do you have any advice for me? Should I trust them? I feel so deflated as this was a job that I saw as the next step in my career and I feel that I have been “bait and switched” and taken for a fool.
Dear “Cadillac Man”:
Beware, if you take this job, you are going to get a “Clunker”
There is absolutely no excuse for two hiring manager’s to tell you something in writing about a position, and then not be able to back it up in writing and in an offer. The concept of “Trust Me” should be applied to minor details of a job offer – like a work at home policy, or extra vacation – but for something as important as the core reason that you were interested in the job, NO WAY!
Secondly, think about the organization that you are heading to. The hiring manager blamed the HR person. Whether that is true or not, this is very telling of their personal style and the corporate culture you will be heading into .
At this level of a search, if you were a key hire and being recruited for a “Senior” role then compensation should be something that should be able to be worked out if both sides are reasonable. Without having the details, maybe a request for 20K more than they offered was a bit aggressive – but I would figure that they would have taken a much different approach.
Also, at this level, if they really want you and you really wanted the job, this process of compromise would be easy.
The translation of their offer is as follows:
We liked you a great deal. We feel that you would be good for the role/level where you are currently performing at (at your other company). We do not mind paying you a little more to do that role at our company. It is possible that you will have the ability for a larger role, but it will not be on DAY ONE! You are welcome to try out for that role once you are an employee and prove yourself in our organization.
However, they have elected to be dishonest with you and try to sway you otherwise. I can assure you that if you accepted the offer to work for this company, that this would not be the last of the unwelcome surprises.
Hope this helps,