Monday, August 18, 2008

Tales from the Front

I've met a lot of people in the past few weeks. Some of them, like me, are also looking for employment. Today, I heard a story for the third time in less than a couple of months--the job that vanishes. This is where someone is offered a position, may even have a contract or a start date, and then at the last minute the company decides not to proceed.

One person was asked to start work on specific day, told that the contract was "in the mail" and then got a call from the organization's headquarters that same afternoon that they would not be offering the job after all! Another person was told the day before he was to start work that the company had decided not to fill the opening. And a person I talked to today had two offers about the same time, and accepted the one he thought was the more stable, secure company. A few days before he was to begin work, the company asked to delay the start date by a month. Then, when that date came, he was told that the board had decided to delay again--it could be September. Meanwhile, the other position he had turned down was, of course, no longer available.

There are enough of these stories floating around that the common wisdom is not to stop networking, going on interviews, and talking to recruiters about your availability, until you have actually started at the new position and are officially on their rolls. It's kind of the reverse of the phenomena I wrote about in India ("No Shows")--where candidates may not turn up for work despite having a signed offer because something better has come along. Where executive recruiters are used, the company would still be on the hook to pay the recruiter, since a lot of work goes into identifying, vetting, and presenting candidates. But unless there's a sudden and serious downturn in the company's business that couldn't have been foreseen, it seems like especially bad behavior. And the worst part is that in none of the cases I've mentioned could the person have reasonably predicted that the rug would be pulled out from under them at the last minute--the organizations seemed solid and reputable--else the person wouldn't have been interested in joining in the first place.

Well, at least forewarned is forearmed....and meditation helps, too.....

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