Don't Believe Everything you Read on the Internet

I know it’s shocking, but you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. For example, I recently came across an article entitled “30 Things to Never Give an Employer Until They Hire You,” which, upon review, contains both good and bad advice. In my opinion, there are some serious flaws both from a legal perspective and from a practical perspective with the “tips” in this article. Here are a few of the glaring issues I found:

  1. The article suggests that you may want to make “at least some of your contact list available to your employers.” This may pose a problem if your contacts were obtained through your previous employment and you are subject to a non-competition and/or non-solicitation clause. You could be sued for a violation of the agreement and the new employer could even be sued for tortious interference with an advantageous business relationship or contract. Not good.

  2. The article notes that materials you developed at your previous employment are “your intellectual property and yours alone.” However, that is not always the case. Many employers will specifically indicate that any patents or other intellectual property developed while working for them become the property of the employer. Therefore, that speech you wrote for your previous employer that was copyrighted may not, in fact, be “your intellectual property and yours alone.”

  3. The article discourages you from disclosing visa-related issues. I couldn’t disagree more. In fact, failing to disclose that you may not be able to work for the company in a few months because your visa is running out is almost like lying by omission to get the job. On the contrary, if an employer is aware of your visa situation and believes you are a good fit for the company, the employer could possibly assist you by sponsoring you for a work-related visa.

  4. The article is very negative about attending a company function before officially obtaining employment. I find this to be bad advice from a practical level for several reasons. First, even if you don’t get the job you are after, you may be able to build new business relationships at these after hours functions that could help you either get a different job or even find a mentor in the industry. Second, a huge part of an employer’s decision to hire you is whether you will fit into their culture. So your attendance at an after hours event could be the potential employer’s way of seeing how you relate to people on a personal level. In addition, it provides you with a chance to see if YOU like the people you could be working with and/or the clients you could be helping. Even if no job offer materializes after the gathering, your worst case scenario is you lose some time one evening and get to enjoy complimentary food and beverages.

I won’t get into all of the flaws of the article, but, as discussed, there are a few aresa of concern from an employment law perspective. The article does have some good points, such as avoiding discussion of your personal life/problems and not bad mouthing previous employers. On the whole though, there is good and bad advice in there. So, before you rely on something you read online, it may be a good choice to confer with an employment law attorney, a professional career coach, or other individuals who assist with job placement.

Bottom Line: When it comes to interviewing, rule one is be honest. Failing to do so could result in your termination at a later date. Rule two is do not over share or speak negatively about others. Finally, Rule three is be yourself! Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not to get the job. You are interviewing the potential employer as much as you are being interviewed. You may find that the work environment does not mesh with your personal style or that your future co-workers are not your cup of tea. Best of luck on finding and attaining the job you want!

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