When the job description doesn't match reality

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Six in ten employees have found aspects of a new job differed from the expectations that they acquired during the interview process. This is the finding of a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of US careers site Glassdoor earlier this year.

Interestingly, more men than women said that they found aspects of a new job differed from their expectations (65% versus 56%). The five factors of the job that they were most likely to find didn’t accord with what they believed beforehand include:

  • Employee morale: 40%
  • Job responsibilities: 39%
  • Hours expected to work: 37%
  • Boss’ personality: 36%
  • Career advancement: 27%

The business of ensuring that expectations set during interview match the realities of a new job should be shared between the employer and the candidate, according to Glassdoor HR director Amanda Lachapelle. With that in mind, here are her top tips for managing job candidates’ expectations:

  • “Ensure every person interviewing a candidate has a clear role”: Everyone who meets with a job candidate should know which topics to discuss with the candidates during the interview. A clear plan of action can help ensure that candidates get a full understanding of how their role would fit into the company and what its responsibilities are.
     
  • “Engage in social technology”: Job seekers are turning to social media to research companies, and those companies should, too. “Make sure your voice is heard. If you don’t engage, you’ll be left out.”
     
  • “Engage with candidates before and after the interview”: Email candidates before and after an interview to see if they have any questions about the job or the company. You could even schedule a follow-up call.
     
  • “Leverage your own employees”: Encourage employees to increase a candidate’s understanding by having them share what it’s like to work for said company via social media – both the good and the bad.
     
  • “Be honest”: Candidates will appreciate it if you let them know about the things that the company knows need improvement and are working on.
     
  • M_Web on 2013-06-05 8:49:25 AM

    I can relate. I left a job that was Ok, for a job which I THOUGHT was going to be a career advancement. What I didn't know was that the Director of the department (the one who interviewed me) had resigned and was on his last week before leaving at the time of my interview. On my first day on the job not only do I find out that the person who i thought was going to be my boss was gone, but the people that were in the office didn't know what job I was interviewed for. The work that needed to be done was actually a step down from what I had been doing at my previous job. End result was a loss of thousands (tens of) of dollars due to housing prices and relocation costs, and it took me 2 years to get back to where I was professionally. Since then whenever I interview for a new job (thankfully not that many) I actually ask the interviewers for the names and phone numbers of the people that I would be working with and do a reference check on the organization. I find out from them what they would be expecting of me, plus i get a small snapshot of what my potential environment and co-workers would be like.

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