Re: interviews and ethics

Subject: Re: interviews and ethics
From: "Brautigam, Curtis" <cubrautiga -at- state -dot- pa -dot- us>
To: 'TECHWR-L digest' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 07:35:50 -0400

I have always felt that the practice of some employers who post job ads just
to collect resumes is a bit unethical. I also find it unethical for
companies to post job ads and interview job candidates to tell them that
they are awaiting budgetary approval for the position, although this is
probably better than if the company interviews candidates and is not up
front about this. I know that the federal government often does this. It is
really aggravating when one is unemployed and looking for work to find that
probably a large proportion of the resumes and cover letters sent out are to
bogus positions or to unfunded positions. The thing about unfunded positions
is that sometimes they pan out and sometimes they don't, but being put
through the agony of more waiting is hell for the unemployed job seeker.
When I was unemployed last year, I vented about the practice of posting job
ads for non-existent positions and how it was a form of lying to a job
counselor at my local one-stop career center. He told me that companies post
job ads and collect resumes and cover letters in the event that they may
anticipate an opening for the position in the future, so that when the
position opens up, they have a ready supply of potential candidates from
which to choose. He told me that this was the unfortunate reality of the job
seeking process.

One interview situation that I was in did not involve technical writing, but
involved an unethical situation involved a public policy analysis position.
I responded to a job ad in Princeton, N.J. for a public policy analysis
position that involved an international affairs and foreign language
background. The president of the company sounded interested and decided to
gove me an interview, but he did not reveal the type of public policy that I
would be analyzing. I was living in Israel at the time and the interview was
in London. I got to the interview, and the president told me that his
company served as "the CIA for the tobacco industry." The interview went on
for a few hours and then he asked me how I felt about smoking and tobacco. I
gave him a blunt and honest answer about how I felt, and I left the
interview quickly and caught the next flight from London back to Israel. It
was the shortest foreigh trip that I ever made (I spent only 10 hours in
London that day). I figured that if he had told me in advance that he was
with the tobacco industry, I would have never gone to the interview. I could
not accept a position with his company in good conscience. That is my
unethical interview situation.

Chaim Brautigam
Descriptive Statistician 1
Center for Workforce Information
PA Department of Labor and Industry
cubrauti -at- state -dot- pa -dot- us

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