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Employment through the backdoor - common ? ethical ?

Tony Jaa
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 10, 2013
Posts: 19
I heard of two cases where people got jobs at a fortune 500 company through the "backdoor" . Let me explain. These two guys had minimal skills and there were more qualified candidates in the competition. But, these two guys knew some employees well. So, their resumes were pushed up the "hiring ladder" and they got the jobs.
The job opening availability was removed much earlier than its listed date, not giving many others a chance to even reach it. At first glance this seems to be a case of employee referral, so it could be considered ethical.

But these two guys actually learned some of the REQUIRED (NOT nice to have or optional) skills on the job. I don't know if they faked those skills in the resume and were lucky enough not to be asked questions related to those skills (perhaps because the skills were important, but not the core skills needed for the job). That is where I have a question. Is the act of hiring people like this ethical? Is it common?

Source: Friend who works in that company at a senior position.
Greg Charles
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2840
    
  11

I think it's pretty common for "knowing someone" to give a leg up into getting hired. Companies receive piles of resumes, many of which contain exaggerations or outright lies. They need a way to cull these resumes, and having a personal recommendation by someone inside the company is one of those ways.

Is it ethical? That depends on the situation. It's certainly ethical for a manager to weight a personal recommendation above, say, a high GPA. If there is some sort of quid pro quo going on ... a kickback to the manager, for example ... then it would be unethical.
Tony Jaa
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 10, 2013
Posts: 19
Greg Charles wrote:I think it's pretty common for "knowing someone" to give a leg up into getting hired. Companies receive piles of resumes, many of which contain exaggerations or outright lies. They need a way to cull these resumes, and having a personal recommendation by someone inside the company is one of those ways.

Is it ethical? That depends on the situation. It's certainly ethical for a manager to weight a personal recommendation above, say, a high GPA. If there is some sort of quid pro quo going on ... a kickback to the manager, for example ... then it would be unethical.


I am tossing my resume into a trash can and heading to the nearest hangout spot (coffee house, bar etc) near a fortune 500
Greg Charles
Sheriff

Joined: Oct 01, 2001
Posts: 2840
    
  11

Sounds good, although I think recommendations like, "I've worked with this guy. He's really good," are more effective than, "He drinks his latte with soy milk."
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10171
    
    8

Happens every day. I believe, earlier, it was know as the "pull". Nowadays its called "networking"


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Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6661
    
    5

Yes this goes either way. If the hiring was unethical it becomes increasingly obvious with time who the suck ups are and it can lead to a toxic work place. Stay away from those.


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Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41137
    
  45
Yep, that's networking, and it's common. What's less common is this part:
But these two guys actually learned some of the REQUIRED (NOT nice to have or optional) skills on the job. I don't know if they faked those skills in the resume and were lucky enough not to be asked questions related to those skills (perhaps because the skills were important, but not the core skills needed for the job).

Such applicants would still be expected to be technically competent for the job. Of course, if they gave great interviews, they may have convinced the interviewers that they can pick up these skills easily, and have other compensating qualities instead.

The job opening availability was removed much earlier than its listed date

I wouldn't give any stock in these dates. An opening is open until it's filled; then it's closed.

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Peter Rooke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2004
Posts: 801

My understanding is that, this is they way companies tend to employ people:

In the job-hunt, networking is often the secret of the game. Consider: a 2003 study showed that for the companies participating, 60% of their new employees were hired through employee referrals, or the Internet. Since other recent studies have shown that the Net accounts for less than 10% of new hires, that leaves us with at least half of the open jobs being filled through networking. [taken from the JobHuntersBible.com (What Color is Your Parachute)
Job Hunters Bible.

I've seen an organisation, advertise a postion that everyone knew was going to be filled by promoting an existing employee. Legally they have to advertise and conduct interviews. The existing employee is also interviewed and already knows the role, the people, the culture (etc) - and has the skills.... No surprise when they get the job....

Is it ethical, maybe not, but its what happens!


Regards Pete
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4646
    
    5

Networking is always the best way to get a job. Its perfectly fine. I worked at a huge multinational that would give $1000 checks for referrals of folks that got hired.

Its not ethical to say this person knows internals of the JVM when they don't, but its wonderful to say "I worked with Fred at XYZ, and he's a good guy to hire"
chris webster
Bartender

Joined: Mar 01, 2009
Posts: 1621
    
  13

Well, having been on both sides of this process, I think the best thing would be simply to recognise reality rather than pretend otherwise.

Many years ago, I once got a job via a friend who was working for a big company. I'd previously done some work for that company and they were looking for a new developer, so my pal contacted me to let me know they were looking. The company advertised the job but it had already been decided I was who they wanted to get the job. So I got in "by the back door", but only because they knew I had the skills etc they were looking for and they had a personal recommendation from one of their own people who knew me. They had decided who they wanted, but we had to go through a sham recruitment process anyway. Incidentally, it was a great job - wish I was still there!

More recently I had a taste of this process from the other side. I applied for a job with another organisation I'd worked for in the past. I and several other applicants went through the whole application process - I even had an interview - but in the end it turned out there was no job: they were required to re-advertise the job of somebody who was already working there, so we all had to go through this charade for a job that was already occupied. I don't mind that they wanted to keep the other guy there (he's a friend so good luck to him), but what really pi$$ed me off was the amount of time and effort everybody else had to waste (over more than a month) because they were required to act as if they were recruiting for real. Still, I guess that's karma, eh?

But I've been through this a few times in the last year of job-hunting, and I think it's time people simply admitted this is how things work and stopped wasting time, effort and money on going through a fake recruitment process. We all know that there are lots of jobs that never get advertised and are filled via informal "back door" means. We all know that there are plenty of other jobs that are advertised but the preferred applicant has already been chosen (or is already in the job). And we all know that there are lots of other jobs that nobody will ever get a shot at because they've been sewn up by offshore consultancies who refuse to recruit locally in the first place.

So why not cut the crap and simply advertise the real jobs where recruiters are prepared to give people a fair shot, and let managers openly take responsibility for the consequences of filling all the other jobs with their friends, contacts or whatever via the "back door". Then we'll know how many real jobs are actually available on the open IT job market, and if the "back door" process works out better, well then at least we'll know we have to work harder at building our lists of contacts. Nepotism is a reality anyway, so why not bring it out into the open?


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