The vast majority of personnel managers in the U.S have at one time or another been forced by cronyism, favouritism or sexism to hire someone they did not want, according to a poll.
The research by website HR.BLR.com found cronyism was the common reason why people were forced to hire someone, followed by nepotism and sexism.
When asked "has top management ever forced you to hire someone who otherwise wouldn't have gotten the job?" a total of 77 per cent of 610 visitors to site said "yes", against 23 per cent who said "no".
More than 500 HR managers were then asked for reasons why this happened, with the answers breaking down as cronyism (34 per cent), nepotism (21 per cent), race, ethnicity or gender (15 per cent) or "because the boss liked her for more than her job skills" (11 per cent).
A total of 18 per cent gave "other" as their reason.
Chris Kilbourne, managing editor of HR.BLR.com, said: "Frankly, we were surprised at the prevalence of the problem – this is clearly a hot button for HR managers.
"The overwhelming impression is that management meddling in the hiring process is alive and well in the American workplace," he added.
Whether or not you deserve the job, before you sign on the dotted line it can pay to let your potential new bosses sweat for a while, a separate U.S study has also found.
According to a poll of 875 hiring managers by website CareerBuilder.com, 58 per cent say they leave some negotiating room when extending initial offers.
Most hiring managers were accommodating when a candidate asked for a better offer, the survey found.
Nearly six out of 10 said they would extend a new offer once and one out of 10 would extend a new offer twice or more if they really wanted the candidate.
But haggling over your money means treading a fine line – a total of 30 per cent of hiring managers said their first offer was final.
"Attempting to negotiate a better offer is almost always in a candidate's best interest," said Richard Castellini, vice-president of consumer marketing and senior career advisor for CareerBuilder.com.
"In fact, nearly one-in-ten hiring managers say they think less of a candidate who accepts the first offer," he added.
"Salary negotiations demonstrate a candidate's determination, persistence and recognition of the value he/she brings to an employer," he continued.
The key to negotiating a better job offer is being able to prove their worth, he recommended.
A total of 34 per cent of the hiring managers polled said highlighting specific accomplishments and results wass the most convincing way for candidates to negotiate a better offer.
Have strong references also helped, with nearly one-in-three hiring managers saying they considered a candidate's references first in salary negotiations.
You also, of course, need to be sure your former employers and co-workers on your reference list are prepared to give glowing reports of your work.
It's a good idea to know the market before playing hard-ball. One-in-ten employers said knowing average salaries for your position and market was the best way to get an edge.
It is also a good idea to leverage your position with care. A total of 13 per cent of the hiring managers polled said showing an offer from another company and a willingness to walk away was an effective way to negotiate.
Yet such a tactic had the serious potential to backfire and could cost you the job completely, they also warned.