The job that wasn’t there

Published: July 1, 2010

The latest trend in HR is fooling candidates about the job they are applying for

Getting a job is hard these days. With more joblessness in the capital, it has become extremely difficult to the right job that will pay well too.  But a new trend some companies have adopted is  fooling candidates about their designation. Last year, in 2009, we (some friends from my MBA batch and myself), were asked by our career office to visit an established local bank. We were all very excited, as the letter said:

You have been shortlisted for a test as Management Trainee Officer (MTO) at XXX bank. Please bring these documents: a copy of CNIC, copies of your latest results and degree certificates  at the time of the test. Venue and time of test is…..

Excited, we all started preparing for our test, going through GMAT preparation books, and refreshing knowledge gained in MBA classes. Those were hot days. We were asked to appear for the test on the specified date. We all went, gave the MTO test and  started waiting for our results. After two weeks, my friends and I received a letter from the HR department,

Congratulations: you have been shortlisted for the post of Retail Banking Officer. Please bring a copy of you CNIC and other certificates at the time of the second interview….”

We all reached the location, MAJU where an HR lady named Roohi conducted a psychological test on over 100 candidates. We were asked to wait for the results.

I came back home and did the usual.  “Mom! Please pray for that I get hired by the bank” I had said.

 In the meantime, the day for my MBA convocation was announced. OH MY GOD! It was the same day and time as the final interview. I was a magna-cum-laude (with honors) too. I asked my parents, “Should I give the final interview or attend my convocation?” Mom replied, “I think your final job interview is more vital. You can collect your MBA degree from the office later.”

But one thing was bothering me. The first letter had a heading of “MTO”. The second call had a heading for “RBO.” We missed our convocation and appeared in our final job interview. For about three hours, we waited and asked candidates who were coming out of the room about interview questions being asked. Extreme antagonism was apparent on their faces. “What happened, Usman?” I asked an MBA class fellow, when he exited the room.

 “Nothing.” he replied. “It is a sales job that they are hiring for. They wasted our time for about a month, kept calling us for different kinds of interviews, and now in the final interview they reveal it is a sales job. I’m not interested in it.” He left the room furious.

I asked other friends and their answeres were analogous to Usman’s. “Yes, it is a sales job that they are hiring for. First, they mailed people for an MTO opening, then RBO, now they are talking about a sales job. We are not interested in a sales career.”Another MBA classmate, Nazia said “OMG! I belong to a very conservative family. I am only allowed to work in finance, but my family won’t allow me to join sales job at the bank.”  Most of the candidates were annoyed.

“Let’s wait and see what the interview panel says. I will see myself when my turn comes.” I replied.

 My time came and I finally appeared before the panel. There were three people in all: a lady and two men. The sophisticated lady started, talking very gently. The man sounded a bit rude, he asked me “How are you at sales?” I was annoyed (I had missed the convocation too!) but replied.“Sir, your HR advertised an opening for MTO and then RBO. Now that you are talking about a sales job.”  Before I could say something more, he said, “Thank you, you may leave.”

When I came out, it was proved personally that they were looking for sales staff. Very few people  are interested in joining sales as the turnover rate is high there. .When I talked to my class fellows, they said they felt that the bank had tried to make a fool out of the candidates. If they had advertised straight about a sales job, no one would have applied. They wasted our time, as well as their own too because in the end, NO ONE was willing to join the sales job.

Out of so many candidates, I didn’t find even a single person saying  ‘yes’ to the job. They just fooled the candidates with a misleading advertisement and non-serious HR procedures. They gained nothing. but a terrible reputation. I am unable to understand whether they were intentionally fooling candidates or this was the carelessness of the HR department. God knows better. HR should know which ad they are putting up and which post the company is hiring for.

Sadaf Fayyaz

Sadaf Fayyaz

A freelance journalist, photographer, blogger and writer's take on life, culture, media and everything else.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Atiq Rehman

    I feel your pain. I went through the same thing once. I got so angry that I accepted the job and when they asked me to deliver some important documents to Pindi to a frustrated customer I casually drove home, put the air conditioning on and went to sleep, never to go back : )Recommend

  • Khurram

    Another reason for fake job vacancies is to give vague impression to stock holders that the company is growing like never before.hence attracting investments in the company.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    The pain was to miss the convocation, and how they fooled us…Recommend

  • qasim

    Feel sorry for you on missing the convocation day. Still, you should be thankful that you went for the interview due to which you shared your experience here.

    Just one of the lessons about the professional life.Recommend

  • S.A.R.A

    Sadaf… name the bank pls! It will help with others rationalizing their time.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    Guys i am sorry,,,I ll give you some hints….I dont know whether the tribune allows organization name publishing or not….But in order to help you people, i ll do so…Recommend

  • Ahmed Khan

    You should name the bank, if not, at least give a hint because this is a scam!!!Recommend

  • Mudassar Khan

    Rightly said! But even more than this, do you know that some companies post jobs on job boards and in newspapers etc. as a “branding activity”. They do not have a position but they keep on posting job openings to build their image and give an impression of business growth etc.Recommend

  • Saleha Khan

    Yeah! Please name the bank…Recommend

  • Abbas Syed

    Let me tell you guys about the third angle i.e. generation of the data of the prospective employees for various reasons, including, sharing it with data providers as well as trading it with other organizations.

    Unfortunately, many organizations are not aware that the HR practices they adopt, if not professional & ethical, can cost them their reputations & good will.

    Its a pity that many people who claim themselves to be the gurus of HRM are not even aware of the importance & role of the HRD.

    I had the opportunity to serve as an HR MANAGER with an International organization, with a workforce of over 7000 employees, with multicultural & multilingual backgrounds, And; I was hiring people from various sources but there wasn’t one case of hiring where any applicant was given a false or fabricated picture of the organization or the position he had applied for.

    Whilst sharing the link of one of my articles on HRM, I wish you all great success in your future endeavors.


  • SadafFayyaz

    @Muddasir,, I dont mind their job posting,, but inviting us for interviews for one month and wasting our time for a Sales job??? We gave tests too…Recommend

  • whitewhale

    i can sympathize with you on missing your convocation and you are rightfully annoyed. The bank was also wrong in first interviewing you for MTO and then offering you the RBO position. However, as MBA grads you and your friends would be expected to know that an RBO in a Bank IS a sales job. You also don’t get any points for not calling up the HR and confirming when you first noticed the discrepancy.Recommend

  • blackfish

    name of the bank! this is a renowned newspaper! you must name the organization!Recommend

  • Muhammad Wasif Javed

    Though haven’t experienced this kind a thing in my life but really valuable post.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    “Retail Banking Regional Sales Manager:

    Job Summary:

    XYZ Bank is seeking an experienced sales manager to join our retail banking team as a Regional Sales Manager. This individual will be responsible for managing sales attainment through multiple banking centers while striving to increase the profitability and community awareness of Flagstar Bank.


    Accountable for maximizing revenue, sales and customer satisfaction while minimizing expenses, the Regional Sales Manager will guide regional development by coaching branch managers. This person will be responsible to:

    * Develop, lead and execute regional sales initiatives to drive revenue and reduce operating expense.
    * Drive employee engagement and team development, to include hiring, counseling, training, performance evaluation, and coaching.
    * Ensure compliance and operational integrity through conformity with bank policies, procedures and regulation.
    * Conduct regional sales meetings to drive results, increase team motivation, ensure consistent compliance with rules and regulation, introduce new bank initiates and launch product sales strategy.
    * Build relationships internally and externally; represent the bank in local community organizations; generate customer loyalty by invoking an exceptional, engaging, service oriented culture.
    * Deploy regional resources to optimize team performance.
    * Resolve complex customer questions and concerns.
    * Take on additional responsibilities as assigned by management.”

    “Banking Management Trainee:

    Job description:

    The template includes the following job summary: The primary function of this management trainee position is to become familiar with banking operations and procedures by performing assigned duties, responsibilities and projects throughout the bank system. Additional information available includes essential job functions, additional responsibilities, and education and experience requirements.”

    Should have been something like this…..Who bothers to write so much? long job descriptions…(Sales come under Retail, dif from Corporate and investment banking)…….This is a foreign bank…Recommend

  • Dr. Adnan

    It happened with me when I was searching for some part time work to gain some experience in Pakistan … I went out of control and threw the documents on their faces and walk out of that place, the guys outside asked me what happened and when I told them they said the same happened to them … after that I stick to my morning job .. and that’s about it ! ..Recommend

  • Danish Butt

    yup!!! i have experienced it too! i m an engineer and i gave my CV to a PTCL Franchise. They called me for an interview for a Marketing Job.. i was like wat da F*** :@Recommend

  • latif kashmiri

    actually, banks give out jobs if you bring them big accounts. that’s what they are looking for. that’s the easiest and by far the surest way to get hired. if you have a mamoo/chacha/taaya/nana and other mehrbaans who are willing to move a few million here or there, you could easily find a job. and this, by the way, works across the board — in local and foreign banks.

    good luck with the job hunt. luvzz.Recommend

  • Piscean

    well Ms. Sadaf I too feel your pain,although more and more of us business grads are doing their m.phil and phd to keep the ball rolling or maybe get a teaching job at some institute so to say.

    well I would go a step ahead and name the company which did this sort of thing in june ,its UBL in hyderabad .So there you have it folks.
    And i must say it that its just not the banks but almost every ther company, if we ask them you have advertised a managerial position not a sales one ,thy mostly answer you are marketing grad what more would you do
    for most companies I have been to marketing=sales
    or any business discipline=salesRecommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    You know what? Most companies in Pakistan take “Sales” and “Marketing” as the same thing too…Selling is only an activity of the entire marketing process.Sales is a part of marketing…..I have one more example of a famous cement company..where i went for an interview for a “Marketing” job,,,,They told me infact it was a “Sales” job….Recommend

  • Tayyab

    well, that’s sad and creepy …
    some software houses also take a series of interviews and don’t even bother to call u back in the end to tell whether u r selected or not.
    i) TRG

    my personal experience.Recommend

  • Jia

    I have to say that this actually highlights a very common problem these days. Have never experienced anything like this in my life ever but yes, I can understand how it must have felt. As I have heard that many people have gone through the same dilemma. Truly sad!

    Very very well-written Sadaf! :)Recommend

  • Usman Ali Farooq

    Well first off I’d like to thank you for sharing this valuable info. Unfortunately it’s a reality here in our country, but what can you expect? I haven’t really had that bad an experience yet but I can imagine how offputting something like this is.
    I mena you spend all your time meticulously planning & preparing for the interview & in the end they give you some other task which basically precludes all your skills & abilities. I guess that’s why people flock to other countries for jobs; no respect for the individual or the talent over here.Recommend

  • Ali Haider

    You should seriously name the bank. Many people will save time and effort.Recommend

  • Syed Hassan Talal

    I m going through this same situation. Once, at an HR Seminar, an HR manager said tht “v dnt have potential candidates! I dnt knw how to bring donw this gap”! Well i may sound rude bt i simply ask’d tht “Sir! Have u ever consider’d to devise the JOB Descriptions (JDs) of our own … u jst simply Copy paste it. HAve u ever consider’d the Course Outlines of the universities or educational institutes before mapping out the JDs??” …. [tht ignit’d a series of arguments tht last’d for more thn 30mins]

    My point over here is that the corporate sector is deal’n the potential candidates as the consumers/customers. Who r desperate;in their opinion; to join their company or they would be desperately look’n for the jobs.

    HR Managers should knw that …. the companies mst knw that, what, why &who they hir’n for ??Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    very right….They are paid for getting good work force for the organizations….My brother went to MTO test in 2008 June to Lahore…(Bank again).he cleard it, stayed at a dirty guest room alone…Cleared one test… went again to lahore for the same bank MTO test part 2…cleared that too… Only in the last selection interview, he was asked, “You have a reference or appeared yourself?”//He didnt have a refrence…Was rejected in the final interview….he heard HR people talking on phone to people (their relatives etc) “Fikr na keren ji, ho jayega… apna bacha hey”…..Came back extremely depressed……Recommend

  • Omais

    Sadaf .. You are 101% right abt SALES & MARKETING misconception in Pakistan,,, though i am Finance guy but i personally experienced this in Middle East where i refered my Frend’s Resume for Job in Marketing at my company and very 1st question of Director Marketing was ‘Is he in Sales? or Marketing?’ cuz it was written as Designation: Executive SALES & Marketing on his Resume (in Local Pakistani Company)DM was literally surprised & so i…Recommend

  • Waqar Ahmed

    I Know Sadaf What Are You Feeling After That interview Because I Had Also Give The Interview And did the Job In A Sales Department And Have Very Bad Exprencies. In my Opinion All The Bank Are Cheter with Their Customers And Staff.Recommend

  • AliZaidi

    New way to attract people for sales job at banks.
    Else its a daunting task to sell credit cards, consumer loans and other liabilities products to individual and institutional clients.Recommend

  • Muhammad Sarmad Hafeez

    I solemnly agree with the article and the description. I would like to add hiring companies should consider appliers as skilled graduates rather than peasants bought in whole sale.Recommend

  • Erfan Afghan

    Well that’s Pakistan for you where there’s no accountability. I mean we could have taken them to the court for misleading but no one will ever do. Why don’t you people take action against them? Seriously lets do something about it.

    The situation is really bad in Pakistan, I work for a company where we have got people who works for free. That’s how desperate people are here. And companies take advantage of this situation.Recommend

  • dhiraj beniwal

    i feel really sorry for you and your friends. why didnt you give the name of the bank. you should have written the name of the bank. these type of bank and companies must be exposed. it is ridiculous practice prevailing in our region in recent times.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    Plus I have seen ridiculous HR ads in which they state “Age shouldnt be more than 25,,,at time of test” and expect an experience of at least 4-5 years…Hello….In Pakistan matric is done in 18….Bachelors (4 years) makes 22…(if your time isnt wasted and you clear the university entrance tests easily) add masters (2 years ) make 24……add 4 yrs exp…..=28…..(It seems possible if you start working in bachelors…only) If your university time table is from 9-5….etc…How can you work?Recommend

  • Habib Ahmad

    guys i am realy sorry to hear all about bank did you and your friends, this is not ethically and profesionaly right for the companies to deal with the new job seekers, we should highlight these companies so the other people should aware about these types of comapnies who making fool the candidates for sake of meeting their own hidding purposes. one thing i must share with u that now a days mostely companies given ads in newspapers for specific opening and call candidates for interviews, they conduct interviews only to fulfill their company’s hiring procedures, and as far as candidates are concerns , they have already selected the candidates by some reference. by this way they only give ads in news papers to make fool of candidates, dishearted them and waist their precious time wihch they can use in finding some right jobs.
    i must say at the end to those companies ” please be professional and dont spread disappointment among job seeker”.

    Thaks you Sadaf for Sharing this experience with us.Recommend

  • Nadia

    Most of the corporate companies cheating since the day 1st from interview to shortlisted, unfortunately we’ve corrupt politicians and corrupt corporate culture “so called Entrepreneur cum cheater” who always playing game in the name of “job opportunities”. There are many banks who collect the CVs and conduct interviews just for fun with girls, shame on those bastard bankers who are misusing their positions.Recommend

  • Suzanne Bowen

    A salesperson has a very difficult job. It is a challenge to be quick about knowing exactly what your prospect is all about and to help that person realize they need the product or service you provide in order to meet their personal, social, familial, professional or other goals. To convince to spend money on something.

    You cannot be afraid to be rejected or to work hard to gain someone’s trust and respect so they will buy from you. So no wonder you don’t want to be a salesperson.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to work for a company which is that sneaky. It is a sign of their dishonesty.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    Foreign banks while hiring,,,state different job descriptions for a Sales and Retail Banker…There is slightly little difference between the two…In pakistan, the terms are used synonymously….It can happen that an MTO who joined as an MTO later is transferred to sales or any other department…..Retail banking is a little broader context….The job description (as I have stated above) as sample,, is a bit different too…HR people must know the difference between the two….The job functions may overlap at times……Recommend

  • Ammar Faheem

    It is indeed disturbing to know that a bank would do something of such a fraudulent nature. Had the justice system been reliable, this incident could have even been filed to a ourt of law.

    And regarding the profession, Sales is not as bad a profession as your post makes it sound. It is probably one of the most exciting and engaging of all professions.

    A good write-up of a personal experience in the end. Keep it up, Sadaf!Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    Who says sales is bad? No profession is bad….Only Not my cup of tea,,,,,not according to my skills…..This is a kind of example HR people… I have been a salesperson too….:)) Its only on how HR people take things easily….Recommend

  • Moazzam

    To summarize this all, what a fresh graduate should do under such testing times?…..should wait for things to happen or what else?Recommend

  • MelvaSharp

    A lot of specialists tell that business loans aid a lot of people to live their own way, just because they are able to feel free to buy needed things. Furthermore, some banks present term loan for different persons.Recommend

  • SadafFayyaz

    Just using his/her close network….and not saying “yes” to every offer, like I used to do some years back…..
    melva Thanks Recommend

  • Naz Ebr

    I can tell you the name. Its probably Bank Alfalah…..which’s got so much fuss even about its new account procedure. Recommend