Career catfishing can have an extreme impact on both your emotions and your overall prospects. Businesses are at fault a lot of the time because they are so desperate to plonk someone in a vacant position meaning they end up with fluffy, inaccurate job adverts, rainbow and sunshine interviews and verbal benefits promises that never come to fruition. Employers find it very easy to adorn a job opportunity with promises of progression, responsibility and exciting projects, but in doing this, they fail to really recognise how negative an impact this can have on you, the candidate.
What does it mean for the candidate?
EVERYTHING. It means everything to the candidate. Even worse is when it happens consecutively. A major pull-factor for employers where the candidate is concerned is loyalty and longevity in a role. Obviously it's not the be all and end all and some employers are more empathetic than others, but you hear of this being an issue all the time. Yes you can argue that times are changing, especially with the millennial generation who appear to chop and change jobs quicker than they change their socks, but generally speaking, when you see a number of job hops on a candidates CV, you're going to bring it into question.
Unexplained gaps on a CV can actually prevent a candidate from getting through the front door for an interview in the first place. Not only does that prolong the length of time the candidate remains unemployed, it almost makes them more unemployable as businesses don't see the real reason for it.
What else does it mean for the candidate?
It's disheartening. Changing jobs can be incredibly stressful. From handing your notice in, to the general build-up to starting that new role, it really is quite an ordeal for a person to go through. To go through all of this with high expectations and promise of what looks like your dream job to be greeted by the total opposite can be a really desperate situation for someone. So what do you do if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation or if you THINK you might be in this situation?
1. Don't jump to conclusions
The first few weeks in a new job are always pretty daunting. You're learning new things, meeting new people and generally just trying to fit into a strange environment. If you get there on Day 1 to discover that some things perhaps are not what they seemed during the interview process, don't descend into immediate panic. There could be a number of reasons for this. The business itself might be stretched, working on a huge project or going through a transition of its own. Businesses and the people within those businesses have off-weeks. Sometimes it's difficult to mask these, especially in a smaller team or business environment. You need to give it at least a month or so.
2. Put a bit of effort in
You don't know straightaway whether you have been totally catfished or not, so don't just throw your toys out the pram and abandon ship. Put a bit of effort in and make it as positive as possible for yourself. This might be bonding with co-workers, putting in some extra time to get up to speed with unfamiliar systems or simply just getting comfortable in your new surroundings. If you like a chocolate digestive, keep a cheeky pack in your draw. Nothing can ever be that bad when you've got chocolate biscuits in proximity.
3. Be open about it
You're going to gain yourself far more respect by being honest about how you feel rather than pretending you're fine then disappearing after 2 minutes. After a month or so, if you still aren't happy, speak to your boss about it. If the role you're doing isn't necessarily what you thought you'd be tasked with, be open about it. Businesses can be very accommodating at times. They might be able to adapt your role slightly or switch it up altogether. The worst thing you can do, is join and quit after 2 days. The amount of work that goes into you before you've even sat down is more than you imagine, so you need to remember to respect that even if you think you've been deceived. You may actually have got the wrong end of the stick somewhere down the line, so don't pass blame to them until you're 100% there's blame to pass.
4. Have a backup plan
If you're sure you've been lead into the business under false pretenses (sounds so criminal doesn't it?) and you are truly, cripplingly unhappy, consider your options. Upping and leaving with nothing to go to can be risky and it won't look great on your CV. You don't want to appear desperate to recruiters and other employers. The best thing you can do here is create yourself some alternative options and (hopefully) nab yourself a new job. Even if it takes you months and months, just grit your teeth and stay where you are. It really is not worth the risk of months of unemployment and further damage to your CV with gaps, not to mention a very peaky looking bank account.
If you're working in marketing and you've been over-promised in your role or it's simply not what you thought it was, then well done for considering your options. Have a look at the marketing jobs we currently have waiting for you to apply to. It's got to be better than where you are right?