Your real competition isn't some job hunter off the street. It's the candidate who was
coached by The Headhunter. Use The Headhunter's insider perspective to your advantage;
don't let it sneak up and bite you. And don't miss the Croc
How to avoid a "bait
and switch" job offer.
There's a new reason people are changing jobs: they get hired to do
one thing, but are assigned to do something else. Nothing takes the
bloom off the rose like finding out you're expected to make the
coffee (it happened to a new manager) or that the design engineering
job is really customer support. These are extreme situations, but
many people find themselves performing tasks unrelated to their job
descriptions. While we all know that job descriptions change and
evolve, it's something else when you never get to do the job you
were hired for.
Protect yourself before you accept a job. Ask to have your main
responsibilities and tasks put in writing, along with the
assurance that at least 75% of your time will be devoted to those
tasks. You should also "vet" the job during the
interview process. People rarely do this, yet it's critical to
your success and happiness on the job.
- Ask for a brief written description of the work you'd be
doing day one, week one, month one and through the year. Few
employers will spell this out, but their reaction when you ask
will reveal a lot about their integrity.
- Request wording in your job offer that says if the company
needs to reassign you, this must be negotiated. If the
reassignment is a step down or outside the work you were hired
to do, you want the option to leave with a defined severance
- Ask to see your work area and the tools you'll be using.
This is a good indication of whether the job is what you were
- You must ask, dig, poke and demand the information. You must
"triangulate" and talk with others in the company to
figure out for yourself what the work really is. If you get
the runaround, reconsider accepting the offer.
Make no mistake: good jobs evolve and you should expect the
nature of your work to change, too. Even in companies with high
integrity, changes in the economy can mean shifts in job
responsibilities. You need to be flexible. But that doesn't mean
an employer has a right to unilaterally determine that you'll be
doing work different from what you agreed to do when you were
When job candidates don't assure themselves what a job is
about, they wind up job hunting again very soon. Don't get
suckered into a "bait and switch" job offer. Before you
accept an offer, make sure the work matches the job.
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