Vincent Zhang was fresh out of college when he landed a business analyst position with retail titan Target. In November he posted a celebratory announcement on Facebook: He was moving from sunny California to Minneapolis. He'd gotten an apartment, packed his winter clothes, booked his flight for a January start date.
On New Year's Eve, Target HR called him up. They were so sorry, they said, but they had to rescind job offers for the entire class of new hires that year due to budget constraints. There was an awkward silence. The HR rep nervously asked him what was on his mind -- encouraged him to vent if he wanted to.
"I'm just sitting there thinking I have nothing to say," Zhang said. "Even if I complain, I'm not getting my job back. And it's not even like, 'Oh, we'll bring you back at another time.' It was like, 'You are no more.' I was infuriated for like the first three days."
Zhang, who asked that we not use his real name, says he's never going to interview with Target again. He has no complaints about HR -- they let him keep the $5,000 moving package, and he gets that management put them in the horrible bind of lifting and subsequently obliterating dozens of young people's dreams of job security before their careers even launched. It's the people on top who straight up suck.
"I can't deal with that kind of management," Zhang said, recalling the whole process of interviewing over the phone in October, flying out to Minnesota in early November, learning about the job, and preparing to move. "Don't tell a whole class that they're super special, awesome, and perfect for the job if you're gonna treat us simply as another expense."
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder could not confirm exactly how many new hires the blunder derailed. She said in a statement that the corporation needed to control costs.
"Target leaders have shared over the past several months that we are taking a hard look at our business," she said. "We recently communicated to a small group of candidates, that in light of the changing needs of our business, we have elected not to move forward with bringing them on board at this time. We apologized to each of them and communicated the decision as soon as it was made."
Reviews of Target on Glassdoor -- essentially a Yelp for the workplace -- show that this isn't the first time Target's pissed off new hires by rescinding their offers with short notice. Which begs the question of whether Target is learning from its mistakes.
Chuck Conine, a human resources consultant with Consilium Advisory Services, says it's rare in his experience for a company to retract job offers for an entire class of new hires on such a short schedule. Usually, jobs don't pan out because employees who continue to job shop after they accept offers back out of the deal themselves, or because employers renege after running background checks or double-checking references.
"If I were the individual who'd gotten such a letter, the big issue for me would be what did I give up in order to take this offer?" Conine said. "Did I quit another job so I could have the opportunity to work for a major retailer? Did I turn down equally generous offers in order to take the Target offer?"
If the scorned hires still believe Target is a company that is worth their talent at some later point, then maybe they should contact the company and ask if they can sit on a waiting list for a future job, Conine advised.
For Zhang's part, he simply has no interest.
"I'm saying on the positive side. Fuck Minnesota and fuck Target," he said, laughing. "I'll find a job in California."
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