Red Flags To Watch For In A Job Search
When you’re searching for a job that typically means you’re unemployed or unhappy in your current role. If you’re not actively searching right now, keep these red flags in mind for the future.
“No person or organization has a perfect employment history, and there are always professional gaps or deficiencies. So, even if you relate to some of the “red flags” below, you can still go on to have success and satisfaction at work. Of course, the items listed below can also teach you ‘what not to do,’ to improve your job search results.” (https://careerpotential.com/career-advice-article/red-flags-warning-signs-job-search/)
Red Flags During the Research Phase
Before we talk about job searching, we need to address your must-haves.
What are the five qualities or elements your job must have so that you will feel satisfied and happy?
If you cannot identify what you’re truly looking for (beyond job qualifications and tasks), the odds are that you will continue to find yourself in jobs that leave you wanting more.
You are craving something from your job, whether you know what it is yet or not. If you find yourself compromising on your must-haves, and then rationalizing those compromises, don’t make a rush decision.
If you’re actively job searching, you should be researching the companies you apply to.
Ideally you would do a little digging before submitting your application, but if you’re applying to a lot of places, you may decide to wait for interest from the potential employer before you put effort into researching them.
No matter your method, you must research the company before going in for an interview.
If you can’t find a lot of information about the company, that is a red flag.
Search sites like Glassdoor to find company reviews from current and past employees.
Don’t let one bad review scare you away from going in for an interview. Some employees and organizations are not the right fit, which can result in a negative experience. This does not automatically mean that your experience will be negative.
If you go in for an interview and experience additional red flags, take that as a warning sign to stay away.
Searching for the company on Google should reveal more than just the company website. If they have many years of
experience, or claim to be industry leaders, publications should have picked up their story.
Red Flags During the Courting Phase
The courting phase is part of the hiring process. It begins when a company reaches out to you after receiving your resume and lasts up until a signed job offer.
During the courting phase, a company may reach out to you to request more information about your resume or examples from your portfolio, they may request a phone or in-person interview, and they may continue to request follow-up interviews.
Is the company in a rush to hire you? While this may feel flattering, it is a red flag.
The hiring process (or courting phase) is expensive. If it is rushed, mistakes are more likely to be made and the employer is not putting
hiring the right person for the job.
While we want the courting phase to be long enough to fully consider what is best for the company and the potential new hire, we do not want a lack of communication.
A lack of communication from the company to you during the courting phase is a red flag.
The company should show that they value the hiring process and that they also value your time.
If they consider you a valuable candidate, they should be reaching out to maintain your interest in the position at their company.
If the job description and/or title is changed throughout the hiring process, the company may not fully understand the business pain they are trying to solve.
If the company is unclear about the position they are trying to fill, this sets you up for a negative working experience. Senior managers in the company may have different opinions about what your goals are, how you should be spending your time, or they may have no idea what you should be doing.
You may have the experience necessary to take a position like this, set clear boundaries and help the company move forward. Just consider all of the potential red flags before you sign the job offer.
Red Flags During the Interview Phase
As we mentioned before, the hiring process is expensive.
If interviews are not taken seriously by the company, that is a red flag.
If the interview gets rescheduled, the people responsible for the interview change, or you are rushed through the process, either your potential role or the hiring process is not a high priority for the company.
If prospective employers are frugal with their time or do not respect the hiring process, it’s highly probably that they frequently make hiring mistakes, have an inconsistent company culture, or experience a high turnover rate.
Take the time to ask questions during an interview.
It is as much your time to learn about the company as it is their time to learn about you.
Asking questions in an interview is often a method for companies to weed out candidates who are not truly interested in the position or the company. If you are interested, take the time to consider all of the important questions you need to ask before signing a potential job offer.
You should discuss both the frustrating and exciting elements of the job. Every job has pros and cons, so being open about those is important.
If the interviewer dodges any of your questions, both for the frustrating or exciting elements of the job, that is a red flag.
During your interview, the company may not be open to discussing all of their strategic ideas or how they see their company
. However, they should be able to confidently tell you how the role fits
the larger company picture, how success is measured for that role, and who measures the success of that role.
Not having clear company goals and a strategy in place that aims to meet these goals is a red flag.
While you need to be formal during a job interview, there should be time to discuss your personal hobbies, interests and goals so that the interviewer can get a sense of who you are.
If the interviewer doesn’t ask questions about your interests, it will be difficult for them to determine how you will fit in with the culture of their team.
Asking an interviewee to perform a work task during or after an interview is common, but don’t give away more than 1 hour of your time for free. Not all companies are asking you to do this just to get work done for free.
It is difficult to judge a book by its cover letter, resume and an in-person interview. Asking you to perform a work task shows the company your time management skills, your working style, your ability to take direction, and much more.
If the company asks you to complete one or more tasks that will take you longer than 1 hour, Liz Ryan recommends informing them of your hourly consulting rate.
Asking you to perform a work task that takes longer than 1 hour is a sign that they may only be soliciting work from interviewees and are not looking to hire.
Not paying you the consulting rate you ask for is another sign that the company does not value your time or the work of this role.
Politely decline to do more than 1 hour of free work, and be ready to move on from the opportunity.
Red Flags During the Job Offer Phase
After all the interviews, you might think all the hard work is over and you are just ready to sign on the dotted line.
Don’t miss other red flags if they happen during the job offer phase.
The company should have sent you all the necessary documents
an employee handbook if they have one, the health plan, etc.
Look over the documents carefully, and enlist the help of someone you trust and/or a lawyer to make sure it all looks legitimate.
Getting a job offer in an interview is a red flag.
You may be the perfect person who comes in at the perfect time, but signing a job offer in an initial interview is not in the best interest of you or the company.
Make sure the company has a long-term plan for your position before signing the offer.
When you get a job offer, even if you feel like it is too soon, tell the interviewer that you’re excited about the opportunity, but you need more time to think over your decision.
Getting a job offer that is lower than the amount or range you discussed.
Talking about salary expectations before receiving a job offer used to be taboo. It is now common practice and you should walk into an interview ready to explain the amount of money you are worth based on your experience, your industry, and data from a site like Payscale.
While you may discuss the salary expectations you have, the interviewer may not be in a position to tell you if they are reasonable for what the company can afford or not.
If you receive a job offer that is lower than you discussed, speak up. Reiterate how your experience and the data back up your expectations.
You should be ready for the company to stick to their initial number, but working in a review period
3 or 6 months that opens an opportunity to negotiate a raise is important.
Red Flags at the Beginning of the Work Relationship
During the interview process, ideally you should have asked about the onboarding process and if there is a training period.
Typically for all
there is a minimum of 2 weeks for you to get up to speed at a company and begin performing.
Depending on the job it can take up to 2 months for you to complete an onboarding and training process to
If you get into a new job and there isn’t an onboarding or a training period, this is a red flag.
You might be able to pick up enough information from your colleagues to piece together everything you need to know to start performing in your role. However, you should compile a list of these questions and approach your manager to discuss how you can implement an onboarding or training process.
Ideally an onboarding process and training period equip employees with information to get working efficiently as quickly as possible.
When you’re searching for a job, keep these red flags in mind so that you can make a fully informed decision.
No company, interviewer or interviewee is perfect. There will be mistakes along the way, and only you will know how bad certain red flags are, or if you’re able to look past some flags instead of others.
We wish you success in your job search!
If you have any questions about the hiring process, don’t hesitate to reach out to our recruiting experts at Peoplesource: http://www.peoplesource.ca/