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Misrepesenting Roles at Interview

Why 'Shift Shock' Can Damage Your Reputation

As a former manager who transitioned to Engineering and the Cloud in 2017, my prior working life has given me deep insight into leadership practice, the context it sets for the daily working life of team members alongside the resulting culture it creates. After reading an article by The Muse, it would appear Millennials and Generation Z workers also rate their workplace culture and believe in the values it sets. The article was insightful with 72% of the 2,500 respondents in the survey reporting 'Shift Shock', which is basically tech workers moving jobs and finding out the job they have moved to is not what was advertised. 

Whilst we as interviewees need to take responsibility for our own actions in reaching a decision to accept an offer, the employer making the offer needs to consider their responsibilities also. There are many reasons to gloss over or misrepresent details in relation to the working environment, including hiring higher technical skills for a role to ensure quality, plus more. During COVID, the need and insistence by tech workers that life is too short to not be happy in the workplace somehow convinced some employers to abandon the accurate representation of the roles they are hiring for allowing supposition and projection of interviewee need to fit the company role they are defining; leaving out areas that actively clash with the interviewee's perceived wants and needs. Thankfully, this appears to me in practice to not be widespread but for those who do it, it is malpractice that will damage your company's long term view in hiring good tech workers. 

I would advise any company who honestly self reflects seeing these deficits to never misrepresent roles to tech workers in particular and consider the following:

  • You are hiring tech talent who have the ability to create, analyse and think outside of the box by the job description they applied for. Be sure the job description is accurate and honestly portrays the operating environment even it is unattractive to talent.
  • If you are facing problems negatively affecting your operating environment, then you are likely engaged in change. You need honest buy-in from all staff, especially new hires who can add value if they feel like they are been treated fairly, honestly and with respect. Don't parse your answers to omit key details that will impact a new hire. Explain the current operating state and where you are going with the change initiative and pitch your future state 1/2 years down the road. You would be surprised by the impact a committed tech worker can deliver inside and outside of their roles if they trust the leadership vision.
  • If the interviewee considers the pitch unattractive and decides to pull out don't pivot your pitch. Instead, network with the interviewee selling your 1-year view of where the company will be indicating a genuine wish to stay in touch as a hiring manager or recruiter. Be sure to keep the potential new hire updated once you see a match in the candidate to where you are bringing your organization. They will respect you for it and positively reflect on the experiences if it amounts to a re-interview invitation down the road. This long term view bodes well for the company's reputation in the tech community if that re-interview invite materialises.
  • If you are in change, then invest accordingly and include a plan to have a vetting process for contractors on day rate via term contracts for their services to fill gaps created by change and deliver value in their hires by fulfilling change objectives so your new operational context can be set bedding down a culture that you can pitch to potential perm employees as the new way of doing things.
  • Be your culture, if you set the wrong leadership context you will set the wrong operating environment versus what you pitched. Be consistent and be genuine.

There are plenty of skilled tech workers happy to work for companies that they see as buying into the values they share with the company. Creating this reality and presenting it transparently at interviews will attract skilled talent that connects with your company, bringing technical skills, creativity and a competitive edge that you will sew benefits often unforeseen as the relationship grows over time.

Stay tuned for more on Writing in this blog along with articles on other areas of interest in the DevOps and Infrastructure arenas. To not miss out on any updates on my availability, tips on related areas or anything of interest to all, sign up for one of my newsletters in the footer of any page on Maolte. I look forward to us becoming pen pals!

Best Regards

John 

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