Your job is one of the most important elements in your life. While not everyone can get a job which they are overjoyed with, you do want a job where you don’t cry constantly and daydream of punching small animals.
So when you start analyzing a company for how it can support you, there are a few key things which any job seeker should look for as warning signs. If you see any of these signs, get up, leave, and don’t look back.
1. They will take anyone
I once applied for a job which advertised sales of some kind. The company called me a few hours later and asked when I would be available for an interview. Everything seemed fine – until I walked into the office.
There must have been 20 other job applicants in that office, and the woman at the front desk office was calling non-stop. She would call someone, quickly talk with them about their resume, and invited them to an interview. Every single one. And if that was not bad enough, the interviewees would head into a back office and just walk out a few minutes later as the man inside called for the next person.
I walked out the door, not even bothering to do the interview. If a company is willing to hire anyone, it can mean one of several bad things. Either turnover is so terrible that they cannot keep anyone long-term (which often says that no one wants to work there) or it is a dead-end job with no hope of moving up.
Almost any job will require some qualifications. Those that do not are clearly looking for the bottom of the barrel, and stay away from any job like that.
2. The parking lot is full during lunch
Credit to Fortune and Mike Collins for this interesting tip for a bad job among others. Collins, who runs the Wealthy Turtle personal finance blog, says that prospective job seekers should check a company’s parking lot at lunch time. If it is full, that’s a bad sign.
Why? According to Collins, it means that the company does not let its employees take time off for lunch or the employers are too busy to do so. Either way, it is a sign that the company does not look out for the best interests of its employees.
3. The employer asks money from you
The point of a job is to get paid, not to pay. But sometimes, you will have an interview where the company asks for you to cover the costs of training, a background check, and other things. They may even offer you personal loans in return for the guarantee of a job. That is, as long as you pay.
If the company asks for this, the best-case scenario is that the company is in such dire financial straits that it’s demanding money from you to keep going for a little while longer.
The worst case (and more likely) scenario is that the job is an outright scam. It can either be an outright scam where the company will take your money and run, or it can be a multi-level marketing (MLM) firm which can run dangerously close to being a pyramid scheme. Either way, do not deal with any job which demands payment.
4. The company has a bad reputation
Any company worth its salt has a website or has people talking about it online. Glassdoor is a good website where individuals post reviews of what it is like to work for a company, what the interview process is like, and how much they pay. Even if your company is not on Glassdoor, a quick Google search will help you.
Now, you should not stay away just because a company has a largely negative reputation. It is possible that the things which other employees do not like about the company are things which you can adapt to. But having that additional information can let yourself know in advance that a company may not be everything it claims to be.
5. They oversell themselves
As Entrepreneur points out, “Overselling a job means that it is usually too good to be true.”
There is no such thing as a free lunch, but if a company is offering a three-course meal for fifty cents, that should be just as suspicious. Check the salary which a company offers you in comparison to the same position with a similar company, and listen carefully towards what they suggest about career advancement.
If a company’s salary is much higher than its competitors, then there is usually a catch. Maybe there is something they leave out that they expect you to do. I have seen instances where a company mistakenly advertised for an entry-level job seeker when they really wanted someone with several years’ experience.
If you want to trap an animal, you set out good bait for it. Don’t be trapped by the bait of an incredible job offer, only to be stuck in a miserable position.
Featured photo credit: Kal Chal Vong via flickr.com