Blind Signing

A new phenomenon is currently emerging in the job market and is causing a lot of frustration among job changers: they notice shortly after starting their new job that it’s not a good fit. I call the cause “blind signing” – signing an employment contract too quickly or without thinking. About the background of blind signing and what job changers should pay particular attention to so as not to slip into unsuitable jobs too quickly:

It’s really striking, because in the last few weeks more than one in two clients have told me in the preliminary consultation for coaching that he or she had just recently changed jobs and realized after a very short time that it would definitely not be a good fit there in the long term. Because the tasks are different than discussed, the next reorganization calls everything into question or the boss and the team are under so much pressure that they become bored without training or cannot get there properly.

Some of them have already resigned of their own accord during the probationary period and would like to search with me again in a more targeted manner, others are still waiting and asking me how long they have to hold out. I’ve been working as a career coach for 12 years now – I’ve never encountered so many obvious bad decisions by job changers and employers and, as a result, terminations during the probationary period.

A phenomenon that is extremely frustrating for both sides and, above all, very costly for the employer. I call it “blind signing” when job changers or employers sign an employment contract too quickly or without sufficient information, without knowing what really awaits them. You’re buying a pig in a poke.

Blind Signing – When applicants or employers blindly sign employment contracts

When I talk to my clients about how the application and recruiting process went beforehand, it always turns out that both sides didn’t exchange ideas and get to know each other intensively enough.

“ I didn’t really know what exactly my tasks would be there until I signed the employment contract ” or “ There was only one online job interview and then they sent me the contract ” are typical statements that I have heard from fresh people in the last few months job changers over and over again. Many applicants also accuse employers of concealing or misrepresenting aspects in the interviews.

One of my clients, who has a master’s degree and 15 years of sales experience, was lured with a variety of responsible sales tasks and the title of “ key account manager,” but now she is just making lists on the phone every day in her home office. I ask myself how stupid or short-sighted you can actually be as a recruiter or manager in such blatant cases.

In my opinion, there are at least three factors that are currently clashing in the job market and leading to “blind signing”, which leads to people changing jobs or employers signing contracts without thinking or too quickly:

Recruiting processes too short

Many employers have lowered the hurdles in the recruiting process. Often the CV alone is sufficient, sometimes it is simply the XING or LinkedIn profile as a business card for expressing interest as an applicant. The first conversation now takes place remotely almost everywhere – this is quick and reduces costs for both sides. It’s good that applying is becoming less of a barrier and you’re losing some of the fear of the tough exam. But this must not lead to job changers and employers making their decision about an employment contract too rashly, hastily or superficially. Ideally, it’s about a relationship that lasts for years and another step in your life – not about choosing the right butter from the refrigerated counter.

Sometimes it seems to me as if employers no longer dare to closely examine applicants due to the shortage of skilled workers. If you have a candidate who seems promising at first glance, you need to convince him or her to sign the employment contract as quickly as possible. Anyone who has already had two interviews runs the risk of applicants dropping out – that’s how recruiters sometimes think. After all, GenZ in particular is in such high demand and can choose their employers today, a recruiter recently told me in an interview. Anyone who isn’t quick enough in the war for talent will come away empty-handed – when we already have a shortage of skilled workers.

“ The people I spoke to only talked about themselves and said how great everything is there. “ You were hardly interested in me,” one of my clients recently wondered after a job interview. He actively decided against this position, but if an employment contract is concluded on the basis of such a rudimentary discussion, then it doesn’t surprise me that the big surprise follows on the first day of work.

Applicants too panicked

What applies to employers also applies to many applicants. Too many job changers are currently too quick to accept a contract offer, especially because they are afraid of the infamous gap in their CV. Later in coaching I always, really always hear: “ I actually knew when I signed the employment contract that it wouldn’t fit, but I did it anyway. “

Through my work, I can easily empathize with the situations and fears of applicants and I was looking for a job for a long time after I finished university and completed my doctorate. It’s annoying to receive rejections. It’s boring to search through the same job advertisements over and over again. It hurts your self-confidence to be out of the race after the second interview. And it’s frustrating as an applicant to never receive feedback.

It is clear that the time between two jobs should be as short as possible and that all those who change jobs want new professional and financial security for the future. But if this leads to “blind signing” on the part of the applicant due to panic or fear of the gap, then there is a high risk that the stressful time of looking for a job will begin again after the first day of work.

Conversations too superficial

In many job interviews, there still seems to be more emphasis on picking apart a candidate’s resume than talking about their future together. We complain about weaknesses and gaps instead of creating real clarity about mutual expectations and goals.

Sometimes it seems to me from the stories of my clients in their role as applicants that employers first use the interviews to see for themselves what the playing field of a position is really like and what makes a good candidate for it.

There are applicants who, after the third interview, still cannot tell me what their tasks will be in the new position and what their day-to-day business might look like later. There is a lot of intensive talk about the industry and its current challenges, about the employer and its excellent employee benefits, hip New Work as well as the work and management culture, but the job itself and its day-to-day operations are often neglected.

I recommend that all applicants ask a future manager the following question: “ How will you know in six months that I am doing a good job here?” “It’s about expectations and the question of how performance in a position is measured. Most managers are apparently overwhelmed by this question and cannot give a concrete answer, I find out from my clients after an interview. Both sides should not be surprised if (unknown) expectations are not met later.

Really getting to know each other instead of blind signing

Today, as so often, my impulse goes to both sides of the table: Get to know each other better and more honestly before an employment contract is signed! Neither a shortage of skilled workers nor the fear of a recession and fewer vacancies justify blindly choosing the first job or applicant that comes along. Precisely because the world out there is currently full of crises, it is all the more important to make the decision on something as big and long-term as an employment contract with as much security as possible.

Dear employers and recruiters, it’s not about grilling applicants harder and putting them through their paces. It doesn’t have to be the smartest IQ test, the psychologically safest assessment center and ultimately the best business case with a convincing elevator pitch that gets candidates through to the employment contract. They are simply good, honest conversations in which both sides get to know each other personally and on an equal footing and have the space to ask all the questions that are important for their decision.

Dear applicants, the time of supplicants is over. Allow yourself to get to know potential employers as organizations and their people as well as possible. Ask the questions that are really important to you: about the future tasks, the area of ​​responsibility and your creative options, a typical day in this job, the meeting culture, the colleagues in the team and the collaboration between the manager and the team. Questions about management culture, the company’s strategy, working hours, home office regulations and so on. If crucial aspects remain unclear or your gut feeling doesn’t yet give you the green light, then ask for another round of discussions even if the tempting employment contract is already on the table.

Anyone who signs blindly runs the risk of sending out applications again after a short time. “ What do I do now with this station on my CV? “ is the first question that all clients ask me in this situation.

Employers re-advertise a position – this is their expensive day-to-day business. But after this experience, many employees lack the necessary strength to start the next application phase strong and self-confident. Maybe this article will help ensure that I have to answer the question about the shortest job on my CV less often in the future.


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