Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford

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Confidentiality & Non-Compete's Part 2 - March 7, 2015

As a follow-up to the advice I shared with a friend from last week, he took the high road and explained his confidentiality agreement concerns to the interviewing company, and here’s what happened.

 

Jim started the interview off by immediately explaining to the HR manager that he had a binding non-disclosure agreement with his current company, and more specifically, he was uncomfortable proceeding in any conversation if they were going to challenge him on disclosing certain aspects of his current role. Well, they not only were okay with the position he was taking, they felt his honesty and trustworthiness were to be commended. Then, before he knew it, they were joined by the VP of Sales and the CEO. The HR manager quickly explained the scenario and that is when reality set in.

 

The first question the CEO asked of Jim was how the current owner of the company he is with was doing. While they are not close friends, they have been members of the same country club for years, and see each other socially at least once per month. The VP of Sales went on to ask about other people in the company. And then, out of nowhere, the VP of Sales disclosed that he recently moved to a new home, next door to one of Jim’s best friends. All Jim could think of was Wow!

 

These gentlemen could have exposed Jim to others that he knows personally and professionally. He took the high road and they could do nothing but show their respect. They even went on to tell their own story. You see, they too ask their employees to sign a confidentiality agreement, and someone who was recently let go has been violating that trust. A former employee thought he could get away with discussing client engagements, being detailed in his resume, and even bending the truth to make himself sound stronger and more engaged than he actually was.

 

But here is the worst part, the former employee thought he could move under the radar, which obviously was not the case. Little did he know, or believe, just how well connected the CEO and the VP of Sales were in the marketplace. They know so many people in a variety of roles from corporate recruiters to freelance recruiters to business owners. They did not go seeking out their former employee, but rather people began to ask questions. Calls and texts began to happen about “who knows this guy” and “is he who he says he is”. All the while, he was violating the confidentiality agreement he signed, and he had no idea he was about to cause himself a great hardship.

 

The former employee became cocky and his arrogance got the best of him. He continued to push his resume into the market and it eventually found its way online on a random job board. The problem was that this job board was a public forum and his former employer accessed it. They made a copy and forwarded to their attorney. The former employee is now in legal proceedings because of his violation.

 

These are everyday occurrences. Stories like this one have sadly become the rule and not the exception. My friend Jim took the high road and it paid off. But, all too often, former employees simply laugh at the formality of their previous agreements, and they take the low road. These are people that cannot be trusted. They do not deserve to be interviewed much less hired. And so I ask all ‘A’ level sales people to remember these stories to avoid becoming one themselves. Take the high road folks, it always pays off in the long run.

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