In my last blog, I covered four red flags to watch out for when considering whether or not to accept a job offer. As promised, here are four more:
5. Nothing about the job interests you besides the paycheck; the work seems either boring or out of your league. Whether the paycheck is attractive because you haven’t had one in a while or it’s bigger than any you’ve ever received before, if that’s the only reason you’re really interested in the opportunity, it’s probably not going to work well for you in the long term.
No one wants to be bored. Even the people you’d consider the biggest slackers in your organization don’t want to be bored; that’s why they spend all that time gossiping, surfing the Net, etc. If the work is “been there, done that” for you, you’re probably going to be watching the clock every day as it creeps at a turtle’s pace toward quitting time, and it will be immensely painful.
Conversely, there is a chance that the big paycheck you’ve been offered is because you’re about to be overworked (see No. 7 below) or you’ve done an excellent job overselling yourself and your abilities. Good job on landing the offer (have you considered a job in sales?), but if the position you’re about to accept is so far beyond what you’ve already accomplished or prepared for in your career, you may be setting yourself up for failure — especially if there’s no one there who’s going to train you, which is often the case when a company thinks they have a highly qualified candidate. You could be out of the job in a month or two simply because you were never really qualified to handle the tasks in the first place.
Unsure if it’s the paycheck luring you in? Ask yourself this: Would you still want to do this work if you had to do it for free/on a volunteer basis?
If the answer is no, keep looking.
6. You’re not a fan of someone you’d be working under or closely with, and you already know it. Just like your interviewers generally know right away whether they click with you or not, your Spidey sense is telling you that Mr. So-and-So may not be your cup of tea. Or maybe things were going along great in the interview, and then a strange, off-color comment you found offensive was made by your prospective boss. If someone’s rubbed you the wrong way in the first half hour or hour of meeting them, imagine how you’re going to feel about working with that person 40 hours each week. Hint: Not good.
An opportunity may still be worth considering if the person you don’t jive with would only be a coworker or is in a different department you wouldn’t have to interact with on a regular basis, but if it’s your direct supervisor, this is probably a dealbreaker. I say “probably” because you might be one of those rare, Zen types of people who can go into a job, do the job, and leave for the day with no concern for how your supervisor behaved toward you. These types are rare, though, in my experience; in fact, I only know one personally.
So, if you’re the type of person who can’t stand micromanagers, passive-aggressive behavior, people who take credit for your ideas, etc., you’ll have to watch out for these behaviors during the interview(s) and be honest with yourself about what you can really deal with on a long-term basis. You may luck out and find a truly great boss; I myself have had a few, I’m happy to say. But if not, you have to know your own limits and decide about the opportunity based on those. You may also consider starting a business and/or working for yourself because in all likelihood, you’re going to have to be dealing with at least one of these negative types of people in some capacity on the job, and if you can’t take any amount of heat, your best bet will be to just steer clear of the kitchen permanently by creating a situation in which you can pick and choose the clients you’re willing to work with.
7. All you’re going to do is work, and you’re not OK with this. Some people live to work. Maybe they’re workaholics, or maybe their career is their passion, so it’s their life as well. However, if you’re the type of person who only wants to do the 40-hour-a-week deal so you can have time for the fam, travel, base jumping, etc., make sure you understand what the offer’s requirements are — and whether or not you’re cool with them — before committing.
8. The title, compensation, or both don’t match the duties. Has this ever happened to you? You read a job posting for ABC title, complete with a job description aligning with the position, and it seems right in your wheelhouse, so you apply. You interview with the company, and representatives there then detail a series of tasks the position will be expected to take on, maybe including some of the duties listed in the original posting, maybe not. Bait and switch, anyone?
How about this one? You did the research on the job title and got a sense of the fair market salary for the position. When the inevitable question of compensation came up, you cited the salary range most reasonable given your research and level of experience. The prospective employer then came back with a number that was considerably lower (at least $10,000 lower) than what the title typically earns — maybe even lower than what you currently make. WTH?
Or how about this? The first example meets the second in a whirlwind of crazy with you at the center.
Don’t work for a company that doesn’t actually know what position it’s hiring for or one that deliberately picks a title that merits lower pay when it fully intends on having you play the role of the title that would be managing the actual title they chose and gave you instead. We all know companies are trying to cut corners, but there’s a difference between being frugal and being deceitful.
But there’s still a few straggling thoughts on this subject. My next blog, “Even More Things to Consider When Considering a Job Offer,” will wrap up this series. Keep an eye out for it because there will be some good red flags in there to watch out for as well.