Bait-and-Switch Job Offers: Misrepresenting Job Information

As we sell our products and services, we also sell and advertise available positions to prospective employees. In most cases, companies and hiring managers will present an accurate picture of the position, their company’s culture and employee expectations. 

But sometimes employers will use bait-and-switch tactics to lure a talent to their firm. Inadvertent or not, these tactics are dangerous for employers. Let’s talk about how and why.

What are Bait-and-Switch Tactics?

A bait-and-switch job offer is when the actual job has large discrepancies with the job listing. For example, the digital marketing position you just started doesn’t actually embody much creativity, unlike what the description entailed. Or the hours you’re putting in far exceed what was previously agreed upon. Maybe it’s an issue with salary. 

Inadvertently or not, employers should not use these tactics as there are many consequences including disengaged workers, damaged company culture, increase of employee turnover rates and decreased productivity. They can also significantly impact your business’s bottom line.

It’s also important to consider the real cost of hiring and training someone. As a rule of thumb, remember that it often costs the equivalent of a year’s salary to rehire and retrain a new hire if the original candidate quits or is fired within a year. This also doesn’t factor in the cost of a manager’s time as well as lost revenue and growth opportunities for the company.

Expectations VS Reality 

A Reddit user shares their story: 

Outbound call center placed an ad for a receptionist. I apply, get a call, go in.

“That position isn’t available. We’re hiring outbound, commission-only sales people.”

“Then why did I discuss a receptionist position on the phone?”

“I don’t know…”

“Then I don’t know why I’m standing here talking to you. Goodbye.”

Make Honesty A Policy

There’s a myriad of things that employers have misrepresented including wages, culture, and work-life balance. The best solution is to be up front and honest. While it’s tempting to misadvertise in an attempt to get more applicants, it merely wastes everyone’s time and increases the likelihood of your new candidate leaving within their first year. 

If your work environment calls for a standard 9-to-5 hours and business attire—a perfectly appropriate structure in many industries, sell it accordingly. Involve current staff in interviews and encourage them to be honest about company culture to paint a realistic picture of the candidate’s typical work day. At times when long hours are expected in contrast to what was advertised, ignoring work-life balance will only fuel turnover and scare off new hires. To accommodate your employee’s needs, introduce policies and programs like flex hours or remote working. 

These are just a couple of ways you can mitigate an unfit hire. In today’s job market, candidates are looking for a job in which they will be valued and respected. The best way to build that trust and respect is to be transparent from the first step of the hiring process. At the end of the day, good and transparent communication is key to many issues.