This is not the job I applied for

20 October 2019 Debbie Morrison

Dream job

The new year is often the trigger to find a new job, or even a new career. While starting afresh can be an exciting time, it’s vital to be sure any new job you accept is actually what you think it is – and not just a case of ‘false advertising’.


Candidates hold the cards

With unemployment at historically low rates in Australia, 2019 is likely to still be a candidates’ market across most industries. This means employers will have to work hard to attract the best talent. Trouble is, in trying to sell the ‘dream’ it can be easy to distort the reality, be it innocently or intentionally. That’s why having a healthy dose of suspicion isn’t necessarily a bad thing when searching for a new role.


Early warning signs

If you’re lucky, you might start to realise early in the process, ‘this is not the job I actually applied for’. During the interview stage you may get the feeling it isn’t quite the right job for you, or perhaps it doesn’t sound as good – or even the same – as it did in the advertising. Question is, do you drop out immediately? Or are you jumping to conclusions too soon, or perhaps letting yourself be baulked by something new and not challenging yourself enough?


Ultimately, only you can make these decisions. But our advice would be listen to your gut – it’s usually right. If you decide to press on with the interview process, be sure to ask some pointed questions to help clarify any lingering doubts you may have. It’s always better to find out before you sign a contract!

Too good to be true?

The perfect job description doesn’t always translate into the perfect job. In fact, when absolutely everything about a role sounds fantastic, it’s almost certainly been embellished. A good job description shouldn’t hide the challenges of a position – every job has those! Giving a clear 360-degree understanding of what’s required is important as it will help you decide whether or not you really are the right for the role. Just as importantly, it can also help employers eliminate unsuitable candidates, saving them time and money.


Too bad to be true?

At the other end of the scale, does the job description sound ridiculously demanding? Sometimes otherwise good employers can go a little overboard by listing every possible skillset they can think of. Maybe they’re inexperienced? Maybe it’s just a poorly written ad? Then again, perhaps they really do have unrealistic expectations and are best avoided? It’s important to consider these possibilities before deciding whether to proceed or not.

Reality bites

What happens if you get the job, only to realise – once you’ve started – the reality is different to what was explained during the interview process? Do you pack your things and head straight for the door? Or do you give it a chance to work? The first thing to do is speak – directly, but still professionally – with your manager and/or the person who hired you. Explain your concerns and see what they say. Who knows? It might simply be a misunderstanding. If it’s a new position within the business, maybe they’re still figuring things out for themselves and your feedback can actually help them get it right.


Exit strategy

Of course, when it’s clear you’ve been deceived there’s little point sticking around. It may be inconvenient for everyone involved, but there’s no shame in giving your notice after just a few weeks if an employer hasn’t been up front with you. Our advice is to follow the correct process as outlined in your contract and to be as professional as you can. While frustrating having to start the whole job search process again, it’s far better than working in a role that makes you feel unhappy and betrayed every day.


Truth in advertising

Just finally, some words of advice for HR departments and hiring managers – keep it real! As tempting as it is to write job descriptions that sound better than they actually are with the  aim of attracting more candidates, it can create far more problems than it solves. For example, when the majority of the candidates apply for a role under false pretences, a large proportion will probably withdraw during the interview process. While if a strong candidate accepts, only to soon realise they’ve been misled, they may quickly resign leaving you back at square one. Even if the role is proving difficult to fill, staying truthful about what is – and isn’t required – will ultimately save time and money in the long run.


Need assistance in writing a job description? Prefer the whole hiring process to be handled by a professional recruitment company? Contact ELR Executive today.​​​