Stay Away From This Hiring Hack

 Serial entrepreneur Codie Sanchez has built a pretty substantial empire, with a net worth of $17 million--all by her mid-30s. Obviously, she's doing something right. But just because she can make money doesn't mean you should follow her advice in everything.

For instance, this hack is for solving problems in your business. Sanchez recently tweeted:

"Hack that no one does?

"Interview as many smart people as you can for every job, ask them how they'd fix your problems.

"Free consulting."

Shall we discuss why this hiring hack is not new and also not good? It's immoral, unethical, and possibly illegal.

Stealing ideas from candidates is old news.

Way back in the 1900s, I had a company interview me and give me a take-home analysis to do, which I did and submitted. I never heard from them again. I don't know if they used my analysis or not, but it wouldn't surprise me if they did.

A quick Google search would have shown Sanchez that her new hack wasn't new, and is in fact very common. For instance, here's a story from Quora from two years ago:

"Yes, it does happen. I applied for and interviewed with a local city government for their Water Conservation Specialist. I came up with a brilliant idea for my cover letter that would involve the use of Geographic Information Systems. It had a lot of potential.

"When I was interviewed one of the people in the panel was their GIS manager. He asked a lot of specific questions about my idea. I answered all of them. A year later they were being recognized for their new way of doing things that conserved a lot of water and millions of dollars over time. I was never credited."

"Before my second interview, the employer asked me to bring in some ideas for his website and social media. During the interview, he took notes on everything I said and told me he was really impressed with my marketing background.

"Ends up not hiring me. I just looked the company up again out of curiosity and they literally implemented 90% of what I told them in my interview."

The Reddit story is eight years old, but there are probably stories from prehistoric times when people stole ideas from individuals they did not hire.

Wasting people's time is immoral.

If you bring someone in for what they think is a job interview when you only want some free consulting, you are a horrible person. 

This is not to say that you can't ask about ideas in a job interview. But if you wish to use them, you either need to hire the person and have that person implement those ideas or pay the candidate for their ideas.

Work your employees do for you is called "work for hire," and you own it. Projects and plans that other people develop and tell you about are not work for hire, and you do not own them. The candidates own them. You can buy the ideas from them (most likely), but you can't legally use them.

It's one thing to interview a bunch of people, hire the best one, and keep the ideas talked about in the back of your head. And let's be honest--multiple people often have the same solutions to the same projects. So, it's not unbelievable that the idea that someone presents is a solution you've already thought about.

But if you are bringing people in with a plan to steal their ideas? You're acting unethically.

Stealing is unethical and illegal.

As mentioned above, you don't own the work your job candidates do for you--even if you asked them to do the work. They own it.

If your candidates find out that you used their ideas, they can sue you and win. Of course, some things are easier to prove than others. But just because it might be difficult for your candidate to win in court doesn't mean you can just take their idea.

Remember, copyright attaches as soon as you create something. You don't have to register it with the U.S. copyright office to have copyright protection. Yes, it's easier to prove it was your idea when you file for official copyright, but it's unnecessary.

Just because that analysis the candidate turned in, or the slides from their training session, don't have "copyright Candidate A" written on them doesn't mean it's fair game.

If you want to use an idea, just ask.

You'll probably find out that your candidate will be happy to charge you for a few hours of consulting or to license the design to you. But if they say no, you need to respect that as well.

And if you're looking for ideas, hire people as consultants at the beginning. Be upfront. Say, "I have a problem I need solved. I'd love to hire you for a few hours to get your ideas." Offer a reasonable rate.

If you wouldn't want someone stealing your ideas, don't steal theirs. This hack is a very bad one -- which may be why Sanchez took down her post. Don't even think about it.
   Certainly! Here's a rewritten version of the job search tips article:

Job Seekers, Take Heed! Rudeness and Unprofessionalism Can Cost You a Job Offer

Job seekers beware: being rude or unprofessional during the hiring process can lead to a missed job opportunity. A recent survey by staffing provider Express Employment Professionals found that 68% of hiring managers said a candidate being rude would cause them not to hire that person. Other factors regarded as deal-breakers include a candidate being late (55%), wearing unprofessional attire (53%), and not asking questions (27%).

Other candidate blunders that can cost them job offers include being uninformed about the company or position (47%), unprofessional body language (44%), and oversharing personal information (36%). Some hiring managers have even encountered more unusual difficulties, such as a candidate coming in late for an interview and demanding immediate employment (“I have conditions, though”), or a candidate pretending to receive a better job offer during the interview (“[A candidate] pretended to get a phone call from another employer offering them more money”).

To avoid these common mistakes, it's essential to be punctual and professional throughout the hiring process. This means arriving on time for interviews, dressing appropriately, and conducting yourself with poise and respect. Candidates should also be prepared to ask thoughtful questions and share relevant skills and experience to show their qualifications for the job.

In addition to these basic courtesies, candidates should also be aware of their surroundings and the expectations of the hiring process. For example, some interviewers may have unusual or demanding work environments, and it's essential to be flexible and adaptable when faced with unexpected challenges.

Ultimately, both candidates and hiring managers should prioritize mutual respect and professionalism throughout the job search process. By doing so, candidates can increase their chances of landing a job offer and hiring managers can find the best fit for their company's needs.


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