Recruitment Woes, Part 2: Could You be Catfishing Candidates?

Written by Michael Riall

July 29, 2021

In our last blog we discussed a fairly new phenomenon that’s become more widespread with remote hiring and the pandemic—candidates who catfish their employers. These are candidates that either make up credentials or pretend to be someone else entirely in order to get a job, and we’ve heard from quite a few organizations who have personally experienced this.

The other side of this topic is candidates who are lured into new jobs and have been told certain things about the benefits, hours, expectations, and organizational culture, only to find out after they’ve been onboarded that they as a candidate have been catfished.

Not only is this a problem for the candidate, if your organization is guilty of catfishing it’s going to have a major impact on your reputation, bottom line, and corporate culture.

Why it’s a Problem

If it’s particularly difficult to attract the best and brightest talent in your industry or you’re facing heavy competition, what’s the harm in creatively describing your organization or a position to ensure you get the best candidate for the job?

You’ll get a candidate who’s looking for what you told them the job and your organization would be, and they won’t want to stick around when they find out things don’t match up—which means:

  • Both turnover rates and the associated costs of employee replacement will go up;
    • And upheaval and change, even when it has to do with something routine like filling a position, will have major consequences for employee morale.
  • Projects and work will be delayed, which potentially impacts finances and operations.
  • People talk;
    • If a candidate feels catfished and spreads the word either online or on social media about their negative experience it might keep other candidates away and impact your organization’s ability to attract top talent in the future;
    • If shared with co-workers it could cause existing staff to questions what they’ve been told, leading to additional turnover.

The biggest issue here is that it could also be highlighting the need for more systemic organizational change.

Find the Disconnect

If you’re experiencing turnover or you’ve gotten feedback that candidates or employees feel like the description they were given of a certain role or your organization doesn’t match up with what they were told—the first step is finding out why.

  • What are your employees’ expectations, wants, and needs?
  • What expectations are leadership, HR, or the staffing organization you use setting?
  • Does your organization’s definition of what’s expected and what’s being offered for candidates and employees match?

The answer could be an easy and straight forward fix of improving communication or redefining and updating role descriptions, or you could need in-depth help to find the root cause.

Address Things Directly

If your organization is facing this issue, don’t back away from it because it seems like a big challenge during an already difficult period of time.

Are you concerned that your organization may be catfishing candidates, or have you been struggling with a change in employee expectations and workplace demands? We’re here to help.