Catfishing — when someone purposefully creates a false identity to lure you into a relationship — isn’t only for love, money or revenge.
You can even get catfished by employers. It may have already happened to you: You hired on to what you believed was going to be a great new opportunity and then discovered that the job wasn’t remotely what you signed up for. The training you were promised never materialized, the flexible schedule described during the interviews turned out not to be flexible at all, the quiet workspace you were shown on the tour was a decoy, and so on.
Fortunately, most companies are honest. But when a new employer overpromises and underdelivers, what do you do?
First off, remain calm. Your manager may not be aware of what you were told by a recruiter or HR. Moreover, for the first few weeks many jobs seem to be heavy on minutiae. Give it a chance and try to be patient.
But if you don’t see substantial improvement within a reasonable amount of time, then by all means speak up. Ask to meet with your manager. Bring along the original job posting, your offer letter, notes from the interviews and any other written documentation. As much as you can, frame your approach from a business angle. Remain friendly, keeping in mind that most misunderstandings are unintentional.
You should learn a lot at this meeting. Your manager might be cooperative and accommodating, or even apologetic, in which case you may choose to give the job a second chance. But if your concerns are dismissed or belittled, you’ll probably have to start exploring other options. Maybe some of the other jobs you interviewed for are still open.
In the future, you can avoid being catfished by always making sure to get job descriptions in writing. Ask about turnover rates. Find out why this particular position is open. Get in touch with former and current employees to learn what the workplace you’re considering is really like.
Above all, always be suspicious if any company woos you in overly glowing terms. The old axiom, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” still applies.