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Ask the Headhunter/ General Management

New Job Was Misrepresented

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by Nick Corcodilos
Contributing Writer
CMO.com

See More by this author >

Article Highlights:

  • The purpose of job search is not to "get a job." The purpose is to win the right job.
  • Too often we invest too much in winning a job, when we should be more focused on illuminating the work an employer wants done.

Question: I just started a new job. My new employer lured me away from a very good job at a very good company and moved me to a new city. I have been at the new job for one month and am beginning to see a not-so-pretty picture of what my job actually entails, compared to what was originally sold to me during the interviewing process.

I have a strong feeling that things will not improve. I want this to work out and I have spoken to management, but I honestly do not think anything will change. What is the best route to take here? Should I speak with the company’s recruiter, who sold me on the job?

My Advice: The bottom line is, you're on board now. There's no turning back, unless you try to return to your old company and they're willing to have you. That's doubtful.

You can speak to the recruiter, who probably can't do much. But it’s worth a try, as the recruiter might be able to serve as your advocate. I'd do this right now—the sooner, the better. Just don't expect much.

If I were you, I’d continue to work with your manager to turn things around. It may take time, and you need to be very positive in the way you present this. You must convey your interest in doing your work in the way that will be best for the company, and that “the way" is what you agreed to from the beginning. Don't start with recriminations—that won't help at this point. Approach it as a partner, because that's what you are.

In the end, the only real solution may be to move on. What I try to teach in these columns is that the purpose of job search is not to "get a job." The purpose is to win the right job. The traditional search and hiring process too often neglects the very issues that have put you in the spot you're in. Before you took this job, you should have asked these questions—and you should ask them before you accept your next job:

Has the work been clearly defined?
Do you truly understand it? Don't count on the employer to lay it all out for you—you must triangulate and talk with lots of people to figure it out for yourself.

Can you do the work?
The only way to determine this for sure is to ask for the opportunity to demonstrate your ability in the interview, so potential employers can see how you will approach it. This also gives you the all-important opportunity to get a clear definition of the work. Too often, there's little agreement about what the job really is, until it's too late. I suspect that because this was not clearly explored in your interviews, you've been taken by surprise.

Can you do the work the way they want it done?
Clearly, there's a disconnect here, and you and your employer are not "matching." Again, this needs to be covered during the due diligence phase of the interview process, and it's as much your responsibility as the employer's.

Can you do the work profitably, for you and for the employer?
I doubt this ever got discussed, and it has likely contributed to the misunderstanding. If you had raised this issue, and discovered what really matters to the employer, you may not have taken this job.

Too often we invest too much in winning a job, when we should be more focused on illuminating the work an employer wants done. (For more about this, please see The Basics.) We believe what we want to believe, then we realize too late we made a mistake. My goal is to help you understand what you’re getting into. If the four questions above are not clearly and fully addressed in the interview and hiring process, people wind up job hunting again.

I hope you can work this out. You may even want to show your boss this column, as a way of starting the discussion. Never take a job--or hire someone--until you've addressed the four questions above.

About Nick Corcodilos

Nick Corcodilos writes "Ask The Headhunter," a weekly blog on CMO.com in which he shows you how to tackle the daunting obstacles that job hunters and managers face when trying to work together. From time to time, Corcodilos also will provide feature stories offering insights into various management career strategies, In addition, his newest books, Keep Your Salary Under Wraps, How to Work with Headhunters and How Can I Change Careers?, are available as PDFs.

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