It’s easy to get swayed by a fancy job title, a salary bump and good looking office, but it’s important to look beyond that to determine whether a company and job is right for you.
But how easy is it to spot a bad place to work? Asking the right questions, doing your research, and talking to current and former employees of the firm can be helpful - but if something isn’t feeling right, it’s probably because it isn’t.
We rely on gut instinct when it comes to judging character, buying a house, and marrying someone – so, why not apply it to choosing the right job too?
Here are some tell-tale warning signs to consider before you take up a new job:
Communication is off - If your hiring manager comes across as rude or wishy washy during the interview process or leading up to it, you should have your guard up.
It’s also important for the hiring manager to be prompt with his/her responses -- so if someone isn’t returning your emails or phone calls consistently or they’re cancelling interviews at the last minute, walk away.
Job description is unclear – Unclear roles and responsibilities is one of the biggest reasons people leave organisations. Typically, after a couple of rounds of interviews, you should have a good idea of what the job entails. But if you’ve gone through several interviews and are still uncertain about the role, then it’s time to reconsider the opportunity, because this will only end badly.
However, if you have already accepted the job offer, then make sure to read the employment contract carefully before signing.
Odd working hours – Sure, every now and then, you’ve got to put in long hours to meet deadlines or crack briefs. But read the fine print if the hiring manager keeps brings up working overtime or during the weekends. If work life balance is important to you, then set the boundaries early on so there is no room for misunderstanding. Once they figure you aren’t up to working three shifts, they will probably back off.
Unhappy staff – Look around the office; do the employees seem happy and sociable? Attitudes and interactions between co-workers is a good way to judge the office work environment. If you find people aren’t talking to each other, or appear to work in silos, then it’s important to dig a little deeper to figure out if that is the case.
Speaking to past employees or casually enquiring with current ones is a good way to determine what the camaraderie is like.
High turnover rate – If the role you’re interviewing for has a high turnover, then you’ve got to ask some tough questions. Don’t be shy to ask about the average tenure of your predecessors, and other team members. Ask why they person you’re replacing left. If they were in the job for less than a year, then do your research or look for another job here.