You talk about red flags for companies hiring employees. What about red flags for us job seekers? What should we beware of in a potential boss or company?
Dear Wary Larry,
After last week’s post on what hiring managers should avoid, let’s turn the tables and outline the warning signs job seekers should steer clear of in a prospective employer.
- Disrespect. A hiring manager who keeps you waiting for 35 minutes without a very good excuse is not offering you the same courtesy you showed when you arrived for your interview on time. If they seem unprepared for the interview, strike two.
- Anger Management Issues. If you overhear your future supervisor castigating a subordinate or rudely yelling at a vendor on a phone call, run, don’t walk, to the exit.
- Low Morale. You may me able to sense the stress level when walking through the office, or the demoralized mood may only be apparent when you peruse workplace reviews on Glassdoor or a “rate your boss” website. Online reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, as statistics show that 95% of people who’ve had a bad experience will tell someone about it, and only 87% will share a good experience.
- Unclear Job Description. The human resource professional conducting the phone pre-interview may not be able to answer “What is a typical day like in this position?” But if your future supervisor is vague, how will you know if you will be a good fit, much less excel in the post?
- Tight-Lipped About Key Criteria. Unless you really do need security clearance to discuss certain aspects of a government job, your potential employer shouldn’t deflect questions about success benchmarks, compensation, bonus structure, or benefits. What are they trying to hide?
- Illegal Questioning. You want to work for a company that is up to speed on employment law. Check out my post, 20 Interviewer Questions that Should Not Be Asked, to see the difference between right and wrong ways for interviewers to obtain information.
- Chaotic Environment. The hiring manager’s desk doesn’t have to look he has OCD, but a disorganized office can indicate a lack of business systems and a helter-skelter approach to such important duties as performance reviews, salary increase and bonus submission, and even day-to-day workflow.
- Immediate Job Offer. While being offered a job on the spot may be good for your ego, don’t give an immediate “yes!” It takes an average of 9 days for employers to thoughfully fill open jobs. A desperate employer who hires the first warm body may have a high employee churn rate, and you may not last long.
- No Follow-Up. It’s a pet peeve of mine when companies don’t acknowledge an application or résumé submission, if only with an auto responder. A company that does not follow-up after you’ve taken the time to interview is not the type of company you want to work for. A hiring manager who is uncomfortable giving you the news that she’s chosen someone else is not a good leader.
- No Opportunity for Growth. Make sure you are satisfied with the answer to your questions, “What kind of person gets promoted in your department?” or “What is a typical career path from this position?” If professional development is not encouraged, you may be headed for a dead-end with this job.
- Doesn’t Align with Your Goals. Through no fault of the employer, you may discover after a learning more about the company that its mission statement – or just the open position – doesn’t align with your career objectives.
Even if none of these red flags are present but you have a nagging feeling of unease about the opportunity, listen to your gut and decline the position. Your intuition won’t steer you wrong.
Readers: Have you experienced these or any other red flags when exploring job opportunities? Tell us about it.
Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.
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