Job hunting is tough. Really tough. Even with extensive academic credentials, strong references, a solid resume, great experience, and exceptional interpersonal skills, finding a job that is the right fit for both you and the employer is a rigorous process. That said, choice between employment and unemployment is a no brainer for most. So we push forward in our search.
When in the hunt for a new position we are always looking for that perfect opportunity. While there are many cases of job seekers landing their dream jobs, there are more cases of them finding positions that, while solid, earn more of an average score in the dream job department. And that is ok – to start.
Then there are times when the search can turn desperate. For one reason or another the need for immediate employment can become critical. It happens all the time. But when you’re backed into a corner is it worth taking a risk and accepting a position that leaves you with more questions than answers?
Unfortunately, sometimes desperation can leave you with blinders on. But do yourself a favor and don’t ignore the warning signs before making a decision that can impact both your professional future and your emotional well-being.
Here are five red flags you should consider before accepting a job offer:
- “The guy who interviewed me may be the spawn of Satan”This is one of the most commonly cited red flags. Let’s face it, on any given week you probably spend more waking hours with your colleagues and boss than you do with your family and friends. The people you work with and for can easily make or break your work environment.If you get the feeling your potential superior is condescending, insulting, manipulative, overbearing, or in any way just an all-around jerk it is highly suggested that you pull a Usain Bolt and get out of there as fast as you can.
- “Well… I’m not completely sure what I will be doing…”
When a friend asks you what the job entails after you have researched, applied, and interviewed with a company and you cannot give a specific answer that is a very bad thing.How can you be expected to know if you can do a job effectively if you don’t even know what it will take to do that job effectively? How do you know if you will even like the position? What if the nature of the work changes? There are just too many questions that arise when in this kind of situation.
- “I’ve heard some not so great things about that company…”
In this digital age immense amounts of information travel faster than ever before. This includes bad press and poor reviews. If a company is in the news regularly for negative reasons, if you have read bad reviews or heard unpleasant things through word of mouth, or if the company in general has a bad reputation, heed the warning sign. What can be seen on the outside is usually a reflection, at least somewhat, of what is going on inside.
- “You’re hired. You must accept immediately”
Be wary if the company expects you to accept the job offer right then and there. These kinds of decisions require patience and consideration by both the employer and the applicant.Employers should give you a least a little time to think it over and this is important for them as they expect you to consider whether or not you will be the best person for the job. Rushing into something just because you got an offer could set you up for failure.
- “I don’t really know that much about the company”
Obviously there are certain things that an employer is not at liberty to tell you about the company you are looking into. But if they are completely non transparent about things like company culture, organizational structure, operational challenges, and other information that is not confidential or sensitive, that could be a bad sign.Being a part of an organization is more than just about the job. It is an environment in which you will invest a great deal of time and energy. If you don’t know about that environment how do you know you’ll be able to thrive in it – or even survive in it?!
It can be hard to not get wrapped up in the excitement, and/or necessity, of finding a new job. Like all big decisions in life it’s important to be patient and think through every aspect of the job selection process. This includes being mindful of the aspects that give you a bad feeling. A gut feeling can be more telling than many people believe.
At Goodwill of Greater Washington we believe in making sure that the right people make it into the right jobs. That includes encouraging those who we serve through our free job training programs to think critically about the places where they may be employed. We want to help them transform their lives through employment. A big part of that process is helping them set themselves up to succeed by choosing the right job.