Often times, a job hunt in a professional environment can be grueling, exhausting, and depending on the circumstances of your current job, urgent. Even with great connections and a stellar resume, a professional trying to find the right fit can struggle for months with a job search. But this doesn’t mean that you should take the first thing that comes your way. There are many red flags that you might have that you would rather ignore in favor of finding something quickly that seems good on paper. Here are some warning signs that mean you might be better off continuing your search rather than settling for a job that won’t make you happy in the long run:
- They want to hire you for the full duties of two or three separate jobs. Obviously, don’t be shy of hard work and a full schedule. Any professional worth their weight is willing to roll up their sleeves and dive into a full workload. But there comes a time where a company refuses to hire the right amount of competent staff for the right positions and puts the full weight of multiple job descriptions on one person’s shoulders. Even if they pay you the salary of two people, how long will it take before the stress and the workload becomes burdensome? This alone may not be a make-or-break factor, but it is worth taking a deep breath to contemplate before accepting an offer.
- They rush your start date and pressure you to do the same. If you have obligations like working out notice at your previous job, training your replacement, or lining up childcare at home, or they send you an offer with an earlier start date than you agreed to, take heed. It’s understandable when a business has emergent needs and has to move quickly, but it is not okay for them to push your needs and professionalism aside to meet those ends. Again, maybe this, on its own, is not a deal-breaker, but also don’t take the decision to put you low on the priority and autonomy list lightly.
- Gut feeling. This one on the list is one of the biggest warning signs but also the most commonly ignored. Be it body language cues, or company culture fit, sometimes your subconscious brain picks up on signals that you wouldn’t otherwise see. If you get the gut feeling that a job isn’t right, or something about it is off, listen to it.
- Shifty or noncommittal job descriptions. If during the interview process your job description seems to keep changing, or they won’t commit to a detailed list of expectations, or they refuse to nail down the specifics, look out. How can you ever succeed if you can’t define the position, let alone what success in the position looks like? That’s a recipe for stagnation and confusion about your responsibilities for the length of the job.
- Noncommunication. If you are treated poorly by a potential company, be it from your employer-to-be or their representatives, watch out. Maybe they don’t return your phone calls or emails. Maybe they cancel interviews at the last moment repeatedly. Maybe they leave you waiting by the phone in silence for weeks. Maybe they give you a date by which you can expect to hear from them, and then you never do. Maybe you have to track them down actively and make yourself a nuisance just to get a few answers to your questions. Maybe they contact you after the interview process is theoretically complete in order to add more to your to-do list or assign you a previously undiscussed task. In any of the above cases, this is not a good sign of the health of the organization or the manners of those employed within.
With any luck, your potential employer will show you their true colors before you have the chance to chain yourself to the organization, but if one of many of these warning signs appear, do not feel guilty about not accepting a job offer from a place that doesn’t feel right.