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by HR Guy | March 10, 2009

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Dear HR Guy:
I'm a manager at a mid-sized manufacturing plant. Over the last year, the management has gotten worse and worse as revenues have dropped further and further. In particular, several projects have been taken on with little regard to whether they can be completed on time or not. Needless to say, many employees are dissatisfied with the situation, including myself. The reason I'm writing is that part of my duties involves interviewing new candidates. Since I am unhappy here and would like to leave, I feel dishonest leading candidates to believe this a good company. However, I don't know of any tactful way to let them know they'd probably be better off elsewhere. And besides, can my employers fire me or take legal action if they were to find out I'd said something unfavorable about the company?

Thanks,
In a Bind

Dear In a Bind:
There is nothing worse than having to pretend that everything is fine when you don't feel that way. As a professional however, you must either toe the company line or leave. Saying negative things about the company to a prospective new employee would most certainly be grounds for immediate dismissal. I'd never tell you to lie, but blatantly saying negative things can and probably will get you fired. You also don't know how this new prospective employee would fare in the company. Perhaps, this person could to help turn the company around! At the very least, s/he might not find the situation at the company more tolerable or be willing to put up with the aggravations for the sake of collecting a paycheck. To some, working there might be better than not working at all or better than where they are currently.

The key is being honest. You can let the candidate know that times are tough and management is under tremendous pressure to makes things better, that you can't guarantee anything (which you never can do anyway!!!), and let the person make up his own mind.

As for you, if the job is causing you to feel this conflicted, you need to start looking for a new job!!

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Filed Under: Workplace Issues

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