I got really good vibes from the manager that interviewed me. The offer was very good, and everything went so well that I turned down another offer to take this one. After a week of training, POOF! I learned there was a management upheaval, with my new boss and job eliminated. I may have to take a salary cut and get reassigned, or just leave and start my job search again. But what I want to ask you is, is it even possible to avoid something like this? Is there anything I could have done?
This is a twist on the rescinded job offer. You’re still employed — with your boss and job eliminated, and your salary cut! While a company’s imminent restructuring may be highly confidential, there’s a way you might have gathered critical information that could have kept you out of trouble.
The key to this approach is understanding that people love to talk and to gripe. Help them do it. No company can totally hide upcoming management changes, especially from employees. If you have enough conversations with a company’s employees, I think you’ll find that more than one will hint at imminent changes and potential problems — if they don’t come right out and tell you what’s wrong.
Chart the players
A legitimate approach is to chart and meet the players. It’s prudent to know who you will be working with, how good they are at their work, and how they will affect your success. These are also the people who can tip you off to possible problems in the organization.
While you may not be able to actually pull off what I’m about to suggest, consider this an exercise to work through. I think as you try it, you’ll come up with one or two tactics that you can actually apply that will be helpful in the future. When you’re done, you should know enough about the organization to avoid getting blindsided by a management change that could hurt you.
Does it all add up?
Look for inconsistencies across all the conversations you have. Does information add up about the job and who the boss is?
- Before and during your interviews, draw an organization chart around the job you’re considering.
- Overlay a picture of what your workday and your work month would look like.
- Lay out the tasks you’ll be doing, and then draw lines to all the departments and specific people who will be working with you and whose work will impact your ability to do yours.
- Ask the manager to help you create this chart.
Then explain that you’ll need to meet some of these people — all of them, if possible. The meetings can be brief, but they’re critical.
Sound farfetched? If you were a professional sports player, you’d know who’s on the team you’re joining, and exactly what your role would be. That would affect your decision to join up. It’s the same here.
Look for the truth
If the employer balks, explain yourself simply: “I work hard and I’m a great producer. Some people will be significantly affected by my work, and they will affect my ability to do my work as well. It’s in all of our interests to make sure we can work together. So I’d like to meet everyone.”
You need multiple data points to get an accurate picture of this “opportunity.” The more people you meet in the organization, the better.
Managers are a special case in your little drawing. If you had met more managers in the company, I’m betting you would have learned the truth, that a change was afoot. (Such a thing is difficult to hide.) Once an interview gets serious, it’s reasonable to ask, “Will I be working for you personally for the next year? If I’m your direct report, will I report to anyone else on a dotted line? Do you foresee any changes in this job in the coming year?”
Of course, they might lie to you. All you can do is test them.
I’m sorry you were blindsided. Companies are of course free to eliminate jobs and change managers. That’s why you must control your interviews and learn all you can before they leave you holding the bag. You deserve to know in advance whether a job is about to be eliminated, your pay cut, or the boss removed.
Ever report to a new employer only to find the boss and job eliminated, and the pay not what you were told? How do you ensure you know what you’re actually getting? Should this reader just quit and try elsewhere?