Expectations

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It is obviously far better to read the signs of potential unmet expectations

prior to hiring than afterwards, so be alert to the following during the

interview process:

The interviewee asks few questions, or no questions.

The interviewee asks lots of questions about one particular issue, and

you have doubts about your ability or willingness to meet the implied

expectation.

The interviewee’s previous employer had a culture and working

conditions that are very different from your own organization.

When you ask the question, ‘‘Why did you leave your former employer?’’

the interviewee mentions a reason that raises doubts about

your own employer’s ability to meet the implied expectation.

You feel rushed to get through the interview.

After the interview, you cannot recall discussing your expectations

or those of the interviewee.

After hiring, look for these danger signs that the employee may have

begun to disengage after realizing an important expectation will not be

met:

There is a sudden change in the employee’s demeanor, indicating

either suppressed anger or withdrawal.

The employee avoids greeting you or making eye contact.

The employee stops participating in discussions at meetings.

The employee’s performance drops off.

The employee is increasingly absent.

Of course, you may not need to watch for any of these warning signs

if the employee is assertive enough to come to you and directly voices

dissatisfaction. However, as we know, many employees, especially younger

and less experienced ones, are often reluctant to take that step.

Obstacles to Meeting Mutual Expectations

There are several obstacles to forging the unwritten psychological contract

with a new employee, not the least of which is the fact that it is not typically

put into writing, thus greatly increasing the potential for misunderstanding.

Here are few others:

The candidate lacks self-knowledge about wants, values, and expectations.

The hiring manager is inexperienced or untrained at interviewing.

The hiring manager is in a hurry to hire and rushes to get through

the interview.

The hiring manager and search team have created such a long list of

ideal candidate characteristics that no single candidate could realistically

possess them all.

The hiring manager or other managers in the organization are increasingly

unwilling to adapt to the changing expectations of

younger generations of workers or to accommodate the expectations

of diverse populations.

The hiring manager believes that new hires should adapt to whatever

is asked of them and be happy just to have a job.

The organization’s HR policies and management practices are outdated

compared to competitors for talent in the industry and the

community.

The organization’s recruitment advertising and related literature

make implied promises that the organization cannot deliver.

The candid interviewer faces the problem of getting the blame for

failing to meet hiring quotas. ‘‘You told them WHAT?!!!’’ from an

executive certainly puts a damper on honesty.

The hiring manager is aware of negative working conditions the new

hire will encounter, such as a pending downsizing or merger, or conflict

within the immediate work team, and is afraid that mentioning

it will cause the new hire to withdraw from the interview process or

decline an offer.