Warning signs and red flags to look for in a job search

cautionAre you conducting a job search, or about to embark on one? While interviewing with potential employers, it’s important to make sure that the professional fit for you is a good one – but how do you screen for that? Finding a job in IT or another profession that is the right fit is no easy task, especially if you’re going at it alone. As a staffing agency in St. Louis, neteffects’ understands the unique challenges professionals face when looking for employment. Here are some tips to help you avoid a potential job mismatch:

Warning Signs

They’re too eager – If the person interviewing you seems to be pushing the position upon you and going on about the benefits of working there, you may want to take pause and figure out why they’re so eager to get you in the seat. Being highly in-demand is flattering, but wooing a person to the point it comes off as fake or desperate is a whole other matter. You shouldn’t feel any need to convince yourself about the job, or feel as if you’re being rushed into an important decision without having a complete picture of what the job itself and offer entails. Why are they so eager? How long has the position been open? Is this a critical ‘crunch time’ for the company? What would you be walking into?

They don’t respect your time – Everyone’s time is important, regardless if they’re employed or not. If the person interviewing you leaves you sitting, drags the interview process out over the course of several weeks (or months), or worse, cancels with little to no-notice (or so much as a genuine apology), take caution. People who exhibit disorganized or indecisive tendencies and don’t communicate in such a way that keeps you informed, do not always make for the employers. If they can’t make time for you now, how will this be down the road? An employer should always take every effort to put their best foot forward and keep communication lines open.

They have several negative reviews online – In the digital age, everyone has a voice – from the high-powered CEO to the Janitor. If you’re doing research online about the employer and find several negative reviews, this is definitely worth asking about. Make some notes about the specific complaints as it relates to the workplace, and address them. Indeed, everyone’s employment experience is different, but if more than a few people all complain about a specific thing, it’s worth looking into. During the interview, you may want to ask to speak to other people who work there, and not just the hiring authorities; ideally you’d like to speak with people who would be your colleagues. Ask them specifically about their likes and what they wish they could change about the workplace or their individual situation – this will usually give you some invaluable insight.

Red Flags

They’re not willing to put it in writing – Gone are the days of agreements over a handshake or verbal commitment. A good employer will be willing to present you with a job offer with all of the specifics clearly spelled out for you, in writing in the form of an employment agreement. If they’re apprehensive to put something in writing such as a benefit (amount of personal time off and the policies around taking it) or working arrangement (flex-time, overtime pay), make your request again politely, but be direct and don’t back down. It’s critical to have all of the details of your employment arrangement with them spelled out so there are no misunderstandings or problems down the road. You want EVERYTHING in writing – the offer, any policies you are to adhere to, etc. If your request to have something put into writing isn’t met, or be supplied with specific information that impacts your job (such as an employee guide), you should thank them for their time and offer, but move on.

There are signs of high turnover – Don’t be afraid to ask the person who you are interviewing with why the position is open. Was the last person promoted? Did they take a job elsewhere? You also want to ask about the average tenure of other employees who have the same role as you. Answers to these questions can indicate a lot about the employer. If you sense there is high turnover relative to the size of the team (or not), this could indicate a poor supervisor, lack of opportunity for advancement, or something else. Another way to check on turn-over is to do a search on LinkedIn for other current or former employees at the company who’ve held a similar title or role to the one you’re interviewing for, or look at other online resources such as Glassdoor which can also indicate some of this data. If you’re told it is a new role, you’ll still want to know why they’ve decided to add the role, and what they’re willing to provide to help ensure the new hire is successful (aside from pay) and has a clear path for professional growth.

In closing, with a little bit of preparation and due-diligence, you can make sure your next career move is a positive and rewarding one for both you and your employer. In today’s job-market it’s up to YOU to be your own advocate. Employers will always do what’s in the best interest for their business. If a potential job makes you feel uneasy, go with your gut-instinct. There are plenty of other opportunities out there that may just be your perfect match.