I once sent my resume to a potential employer who posted an “Accountant Wanted” ad. Specifically, the ad stated that the employer was looking for a Controller, which was a job I was interested in at the time. There were a few other details that caught my attention in the ad, and it looked like a good potential opportunity.
The owner of the business called me, and we set up a time to meet. The weather was cold and snowy, but I was excited to have the interview.
Five minutes through the meeting I determined that the “opportunity” was nothing like what was represented in the ad. Apparently, the owner thought that “posturing” the business and position as something of high potential would get good candidates in the door.
Well, I certainly made it through the door, but I didn’t stay very long and I was determined never to go back. The business owner called me several days later, and I politely declined a followup meeting.
I reasoned, quite simply, that if the business owner would misrepresent the opportunity so blatantly in the ad, there was no telling what he would do if I came on board with his company.
Early on in relationships people tend to “put their best foot forward.” If you encounter severe red flags from the get-go, be sure that things will likely only get worse.
Incidentally, this is a good principle to apply in business, as well as personal relationships such as getting to know a potential “significant other.” Not that one should automatically assume that a person who makes a good impression is the “real deal,” but if a person makes a bad impression and does nothing to remedy the problem, run in the opposite direction.
I spent some time and had to maneuver through unpleasant weather to gain this experience. However, I was grateful to see first-hand the tremendous damage that lack of integrity can cause in earning trust and building relationships.
Taking the low ethical road might seem to make sense and bring gains in the short-run, but there are always consequences later. I have seen situations in which management of businesses with good potential sacrifice long-term credibility and relationships for the sake of short-term advantage.
Always maintain integrity. Earn trust and build credibility in your relationships. Not only will this help you sleep better at night and help you to proceed through life with comfort and confidence; you will enhance your career and development as people determine that they can trust you to do the right thing no matter what.