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flickr: Lara604

With apologies to Langston Hughes, but a new trend is making its way through banks, consulting firms, and law firms: the deferred start date. Employers are hiring now—when there’s a glut of top candidates on the market—but telling their new hires not to report for work for a year. Sometimes, HRRecruitingAlert reports, these deferred dates come with cash incentives—I’ll gladly pay you today for a hamburger Tuesday, that sort of thing—but often applicants are so desperate for a job that they’re willing to take one where they won’t get paid for a year. In the meantime, candidates travel or do volunteer work.

The risk is that a candidate could get an immediate offer three months into her deferral and renege on her original commitment. And candidates that accept a job offer from a company that can’t afford to pay them now should think seriously about whether that company will still be around in a year, suggests ABA Law Journal.

So yeah, we work in media, not law, but if things don’t get better, watch for this trend trickling down to us creatives soon.