It’s very hard not to feel dirty, very dirty, when you’ve been used. But according to a number of seasoned finance execs and financial recruiters, they’ve all known employers who pick the brains of prospective employees and later use the info to their own advantage. If you’re the one being used and then you don’t land the job, it can be more than a bit maddening.
According to Mitchell Feldman, president and managing partner of A.E. Feldman, an executive search firm, he’s often heard the complaint, but it doesn’t just occur in difficult times, though it may be more common then. “When you’re selling a service, that’s always the risk,” he tells eFinancialCareers. "Sometimes there’s just no way to prevent it.”
So what choice do you have when it’s necessary to be specific about your new product or client-generating idea in an interview, but you fear the firm might have less than sincere motives when digging for more details? Feldman says that you can always abort the interview or tell the prospective employer straight out that you can certainly share more specific product and client related info when you get hired.
Check out the firm's reputation
Often, you can get a sense of the motives of the employer before you head into the interview, says Feldman. He recommends looking for an investment firm that’s been known for constantly generating new products and services. In this case, reputation does matter. “It’s a calculation,” he says, but it does help to do your homework on the firm. Feldman adds that it helps to trust your intuition and to use some good old-fashioned “street smarts” when it comes to the interview.
It can also pay to get a sense of the structure of the interview. If you’re set for a daylong interview and you’re meeting with more than two players at the firm, it’s less likely that you need to worry. Usually the human resources person will give you a play by play of the day’s events, detailing the people you will meet with there, even before you get to the interview.