Interviewing Employees: The Do’s and Dont's
Print this article
Font Size
Stay Away From Promises You Cannot Keep
View ArticleView Article Comments
As an employer, do not make promises you cannot keep. For example, do not tell a candidate that he/she will only be laid off for poor performance when other reasons (that you don’t even know about) may require you to lay off an employee (e.g. a downshift in the economy, a buyout of the company, a loss in revenue, or other reasons). Even if your projected business indicates that the company will meet certain thresholds within the year, and the candidate should expect to receive a bonus, don’t explicitly state that the candidate will receive a bonus if hired (unless that is absolutely true). It is generally better to simply say that bonuses may be offered at the discretion of the employer, and the company has paid out bonuses for ____ out of the last ____ years.

If you offer a benefits package to a candidate, do not mislead the candidate about the details of the benefits package. As the employer, you should know the details of your benefits package and prepare to answer such questions. However, if you don’t know certain details about your benefits package, tell the candidate the truth, and let them know you’ll find out the answer and get back to them (or have your human resource manager get in touch with them).

In short, as an employer, it is generally better to err on the side of caution when talking about future expectations. This does not mean you should stay away from all promises. Rather, it is generally better to stay away from absolute promises (i.e. no wiggle room at all) and instead use relative promises (i.e. with wiggle room).

An example of a relative promise with wiggle room could sound something like this:
We generally give out bonuses, but they’re dependent on many factors, including ________. The Company does reserve the right not to give out bonuses for many reasons, including but not limited to, _______ .
An example of an absolute promise with no wiggle room could sound something like this:
We always give out bonuses, and if you’re hired, you’re sure to receive at least a $5,000.00 bonus.
Stay away from any language like this, or your employee could reasonably expect this to be part of the contract with your company (unless you will absolutely follow through with the promise).

Next, we’ll finish this article with a few key points to keep in mind.