Every once in a while you hear horror stories about the old "bait and switch" tactic: someone buys something with the expectation that they'll get what they were promised but once they money has been exchanged, they realize they've been duped. Sometimes the same scenario can happen with a job search. What should you do when you find an opening, interview for it, get an offer, accept it and when you come on board – you realize that this role is not at all what you were told it was? What now?
There is no handbook to this situation or proper protocol that you should follow. This can be a frustrating situation so I will share with you some scenarios that might give some insight if you ever find yourself in this pickle:
- Take emotion out of it. It is easy to get frustrated and feel betrayed – but this is business and those who get emotional will always fail. I had a candidate that was hired on to be a Director of Field Sales and when he came on board, he was informed that the company laid off the entire field sales team. Now he has no one to manage and he has to build the team from scratch. Instead of rising to the challenge or exploring other avenues, this candidate took it personally and left the company within a month. Now, he has no income, no referrals and a red flag on his resume all because he did not keep his cool.
- Seek information internally – go to HR or your hiring manager. Do not talk to them with the intention of cracking skulls or complaining but go with the intention of finding some direction and get a gauge on what is happening within your company. I once had a candidate that was hired on as a Business Development Specialist and after being in the role for a month, the company is having her focus on an Account Management role, up selling current accounts. She, in turn, went to her manager and presented an idea to split her time between new business and current accounts. If your company is reorganizing then they most likely will want to hear new ideas – especially if it is going to prove profitable.
- Don't beat a dead horse. I had a candidate that got a role as an inside sales rep and after being in the role for 6 months, he was fully ramped up with a strong pipeline, he started getting handed administrative projects. He is a team player so he took care of them but they just kept on bringing the projects to him. He went to his manager and discussed the fact that he is being spread too thin and cannot focus on his sales. The manager heard him out but told him that there would be no change. The company needs him to sell and complete the administrative projects and that is that. My candidate was cool, calm and collected – told his manager that he can be relied upon. Then he immediately called me with an updated resume to start his search for a new role. If there is no flexibility and you are stuck – then start looking while you work. You are always more marketable if you're still in a job.
Once you recognize what the situation is, then you can make up your mind and decide not to be a victim. These things happen to everyone but it is what you do in response that matters.