Red Flags to Look Out for When Looking for a Job
In the same way that companies need to weed out good candidates from bad ones, you need to be able to distinguish between good companies and jobs that are just wasting your time. Here are some red flags in job descriptions and interviews that can alert you to a potentially terrible job.
Warning flags in job descriptions
Sometimes it is enough to read the job description carefully. Some of the phrases are actually code words “this job will suck your soul out,” or at least the wording might give you a clue to the company’s expectations.
Must have a good sense of humor: Most activities don’t require you to have comedic skills or appreciate comedy, so this should be a red flag. While many interviewers value and look for a sense of humor in candidates, if this requirement is on the job listings, it could be a sign that the corporate culture is leaning towards inappropriate or more tax expectations. Divine Caroline writes:
This may sound strange, but we have noticed that it appears more and more in job descriptions. While you may believe the company is looking for a candidate who is a big fan of South Park , that could mean trouble. This phrase may indicate that the corporate culture tends to be a little irrelevant, so they are looking for people who can handle it. It can also mean that you find yourself in a completely stressful, chaotic environment, and they are looking for someone who will not fall apart over it.
In the name of humor, there are many things at work that can be off-putting , and if the job requires a sense of humor, it could be because the company expects you to be tolerant of unusual, if not awful, environments.
Rapidly Changing Environment: Certain jobs are naturally associated with a rapidly changing environment, such as day traders on Wall Street or emergency surgeons, so describing a “rapidly changing environment” is appropriate in these scenarios. But if your activity usually doesn’t lend itself to such a rush, or if you think you need to walk slowly to get there faster , then be careful. The job listing’s emphasis on fast production and employment is a warning that you probably won’t achieve a great work-life balance by working in this position. “Must be extremely hardworking” or “must be able to handle extremely high stress,” two related red flags of very demanding companies, says Monster . (Of course, if you are thriving in a fast-paced sadistic environment, this may be a key phrase for you when looking for a job.)
“Flexibility on other tasks”: Yes, expect to take on other work tasks outside of your core role. Maybe it’s a small company and everyone needs to answer calls or follow social media feeds. However, without defining “other tasks”, you can take out the trash or do something completely unrelated to that job. If you see this in your job description, be sure to ask the interviewer what other responsibilities, in particular, you might be offered.
Jobs are listed without a company name: in particular, on Craigslist and similar sites, you may not know which company listed the job, or it may say “Company is confidential”. Is this a real job or not? Without a company name, job seekers cannot investigate the company or find out if it is a scam . It’s best to know who you are really applying for, and if the job is legitimate, you should expect the company name to be on the job list.
“Ideal for students or parents staying at home”: On the one hand, work aimed at students, home-stayed parents and retirees is usually flexible part-time work. On the other hand, adding that benefit or job feature to the list also suggests that pay will be as low as possible and experience is minimal. Many flexible part-time jobs pay well, not necessarily targeting students or housewives. When these phrases are on the job listings, you are also likely to be competing with other job seekers who will receive much lower wages in exchange for an opportunity.
“Passionate” or any mention of “passion”: this is the boundary. Companies are looking for dedicated employees who are passionate about their work. However, the word “passion” originally meant suffering. If a company specifically demands that kind of quality from a job candidate, it could be a sign that they need someone who puts their job first. As Matthew Greybosh writes on Medium :
Here’s a little tidbit. When an employer tells you that they value developer enthusiasm, they honestly warn you. Hearing this word, you will be able to run as if the devil himself and all the fallen angels who followed him were shooting for you.
Most of them do not realize and do not expect you to know that the word “passion” is a translation of the Greek word πάσχειν paschein, which means “to suffer.” Of course, this is called work because all the other four-letter words are taken, but no one has to suffer to make a living.
It’s one thing to suffer when you’re a little-known artist, or a rejected lover, or a soldier facing death, or even Jesus Christ himself. But don’t suffer from paychecks if you’re not the CEO. Otherwise, you won’t get paid enough for this shit.
This may not always be the case, but you can confirm or deny your suspicions during the interview.
Warning flags in interviews
The next stage of the job search – the interview – can also tell a lot about the company and the position in a subtle or even harsh way.
The job description does not match the interviewer’s description: the job description says one thing, but during the interview the job is described differently – perhaps as a higher or lower job with more or less responsibilities. Regardless of the reasons for this (perhaps due to the gap between the HR or whoever posted the job and the manager’s opinion), this discrepancy is definitely worth taking into account. This is especially true if there are several people to whom you will be responsible if you are offered the job and you take it. I used to work under several bosses at the same time – each with a different perspective on my role in the company – I highly recommend that you make sure everyone you work for or are responsible for agrees on what your job really is. If they can’t tell, you can’t, and this will lead to frustration.
The interviewer asks an inappropriate question: Are there illegal interview questions (Are you married? Do you have children?), Perhaps cleverly phrased , as well as more subtle, inappropriate ones . The interviewer is probably just doing his job, but if your first contact or experience with this company makes you uncomfortable, this is probably a red flag for what the rest of the company might be.
You immediately get a job offer: it looks like a dream – to get a job immediately after it has become a reality. However, this can also be a red flag. This is flattering, but if the interview quickly ends with a job offer, the company may be desperate . Sure, they might really like you and want to cheer you on when it’s hard to find good candidates, but take at least a day to research the company to see what their motivations are.
Benefits and other details are yet to be worked out or “classified”: there are several things you need to know to make this important job decision – salary, benefit package, and even company rules. Forbes notes that if the people you talk to can’t explain a “fantastic” benefit package, or when you’re close to getting a job offer, they can’t show you an employee handbook or benefit plan, it’s probably time to run. Either they do not have their own things, or they are hiding something.
Wages and benefits change during interviews and negotiations : Salary negotiations are an unfortunate part of the job search process. But when you look after the company and they look after you, it’s a big red flag, if not an insult, if the salary offered decreases from one stage to the next. I once interviewed a company that called itself “traditional” (another warning sign. It means “lack of flexibility”). If I remember correctly, the job was listed between $ 65,000 and $ 75,000 depending on experience. I got through an interview that seemed to go well, although there seemed to be more responsibilities at work than what is listed (see above). When I got a call back during my second interview, the HR officer told me that $ 60,000 would be paid for this position, and do I agree with that? In addition, she said, it is non-negotiable . I didn’t go to the second interview.
It is best to negotiate salaries before the second interview , but in my opinion, if a company offers you less than the salary (or salary range) posted on the job listing, they are trying to take advantage of you. If you are called again for a second interview, you are probably qualified, or at least have the potential to work there. But if they cut the benefits during the negotiation process , you know that they will pay you a dime the entire time you work there.
Most of the time, you can tell good work from wrong based on your instincts, but this is not always possible. Some signs of poor performance are very obvious, such as job listings that say you can make “ up to $ 500,000 a year” (you work on commissions and you should be lucky). However, you should always ask what this requirement says about the company or why this person is asking me this before you dive into it, because your time is precious. Company reviews like those on Glassdoor can help, as well as keeping your eyes open during the process.