The Secret Marketer on the pitfalls of employment law

I am at the end of my tether with one of the brand managers. This guy interviewed brilliantly, but a few months on and I seriously regret making this appointment. I got this one badly wrong and now need to sort out my own mess.

The joys of modern employment law make dealing with such matters particularly delicate and I am advised by human resources to be very careful with what I say and to document everything thoroughly. The process feels like the start of a criminal case with carefully designed questioning, documentation and even witness statements.

I do appreciate their advice, though sometimes I am convinced that these situations would be best resolved by a very direct conversation rather than by following their carefully orchestrated track. Such foreplay leads to a predictable stand-off with the employee and by the time both parties have played the legal tennis that follows, the whole game becomes stressful and expensive leading to the inevitable compromise agreement that allows everybody to move on with their lives.

The human resources police are stopping me from expressing my true feelings towards this employee, so just as well they have no idea that I write this column.

“The human resources police are stopping me from expressing my true feelings towards this employee”

This brand manager should be rebranded as an illusionist. Rarely have I met somebody who interviewed so well yet has performed so badly. This is the equivalent of buying a product because you have been seduced by the TV ad, but then realising when you get it home that it is hopeless and you’ll never buy one again. Better still, you’ll take it back to the shop and most likely be able to claim a refund on the grounds of the product not being fit for purpose.

Sadly with brand managers, there are no such refunds available. Wouldn’t it be easier to tell this idiot that everybody has spotted he is taking the piss, that his lack of work is unacceptable, that he actually isn’t as technically capable as he advised, that he doesn’t fit in here and that he should really start thinking about a career elsewhere?

Despite the fact that we feel betrayed by his con artist interview and complete lack of output while he has been on our payroll, we will however be very understanding if he wanted to take a few hours off here and there over the coming weeks to interview for other roles. Maybe I should consider a secondment in HR.


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