In my last blog of this three-part series (which started here), I covered four more red flags to watch out for when thinking about whether or not to accept a job offer. Here are some closing thoughts — again in the form of red flags — to consider when you’re in the fortunate position to choose your next job:
9. You actually don’t know what you’ve been hired to do, really. Along the same lines of No. 8 in my previous blog, if all you’ve been given to go off of is a title and something like, “Well, you’ve held the title of GHI before, so you know how it goes,” say thanks, but no thanks. If they don’t know or aren’t willing to put in writing what your responsibilities will be, you’re probably going to be doing a lot more than you bargained for, is in your wheelhouse, and would make you happy doing.
10. People there seem unhappy, stressed out, etc., and the company has bad reviews from current and former employees. I love Glassdoor and Indeed because both have areas where current and former employees can give fair warning to us often clueless jobseekers about the company we’re about to apply to or have received an offer from. In fact, I’ve specifically avoided applying to companies based on high percentages of bad reviews from employees. One or two is fine; some people will never be satisfied. But if all the reviews are bad, it’s not the employees; it’s the company. Similarly, if the majority of the people you meet and see at the company seem miserable, you probably will be, too. One person having an off day is nothing; an entire office of despair is a huge red flag.
11. The hiring process was too fast, too slow, or changed pace right in the middle somewhere without explanation. Maybe you applied one day, were called in for an interview the next, and were offered the job the day after that. Or maybe you applied for a job three months ago, got called in for an interview last month, and are still waiting around to hear back on whether or not the company’s hired anyone. Maybe the process started fast and then dropped off into a black hole of silence, or maybe it started off slow and suddenly turned into a mad rush to get a warm body behind the desk.
Ultimately, these are different reflections of the same problem: The company doesn’t have its stuff together. Hiring too swiftly indicates desperation, and moving too slow indicates disorganization. If they can’t manage the hiring process, what makes you think anything else will be handled differently?
12. It’s going to damage your professional reputation. Let’s be real with each other for a minute here. If you have to do something unethical or even illegal for a paycheck, is any amount of money going to be worth your actual freedom should you be prosecuted and criminally charged later? Didn’t think so. Run like the wind if you get even the slightest whiff of something shady going down at an organization that’s offered you a job.
Keep your head up, job hunter!
Finding the right job fit is no easy task. I suspect that some people may never find it at all in their professional lifetime. Still, some job fits are better than others, and by keeping that in mind, most can find some level of contentment in their work lives.
If you’ve spotted a dealbreaker and decide to decline an offer, no matter how disappointed or embittered you may be, do the professional thing regardless and either call or email in a thank-you alongside your rejection, knowing in the end that both sides will be better off in the long run having avoided a bad fit to begin with. Both sides deserve to find what they want out there. Well, OK, maybe not all companies deserve to even exist, let alone find what they want out there, but you can and should still set the professional example, if only to represent the ideals that matter to you.
And if you find yourself having to accept a job offer to have a paycheck in spite of the opportunity screaming, “Danger, Will Robinson!” by all means, do what you gotta. Just know your job search isn’t over; keep your eyes and ears open for a better fit; and most importantly, keep the faith, my friend, hard as it may be.