Job Search Tips

10 Signs You Shouldn’t Take the Job

Written by Peter Jones

You’ve been searching and searching and finally you find yourself with a job offer in hand. Trouble is, there are a few red flags. How do you know when you should really turn a job down instead of taking it?

Remember: you’ll spend a significant chunk of your adult life at work. You might as well not be miserable. Here are ten ways to tell if you should pass and hold out for something better:

1. Unprofessional/Untimely Communication

If your perfectly reasonable emails with questions go consistently unanswered. If you receive communications that are not clear, thorough, or respectful. If appointments or interviews are cancelled at the last minute without explanation or apology. If your questions are dodged or not answered to your satisfaction… None of this bodes well. If a company can’t get it together in the hiring process, chances are the job itself will be even more frustrating.

2. Ghost company

You’ve Googled and Googled and you still can’t find any substantive information about the company. Or worse—what information you can’t find is bad or negative press. Or bad Yelp reviews! Or worst—bad reviews from former employees. One or two outliers shouldn’t be a big deal; but consistently negative information? Run.

3. Aggressive Interviewer

If your interviewer starts giving you the hard sell and trying to convince you to take the job on the spot, that’s not a great sign. It smacks of desperation. Similarly if a recruiter tries to push you in the direction of a particular job. No job is immediately perfect without going through the proper process. And you can always take time to think it over and say no.

4. Turnover

You’re looking at an old company, but none of the employees have been there for more than a year. Ask yourself why the company has such a hard time keeping good people on long term? This is especially true if your interviewer starts badmouthing her current team.

5. Repeat Ads

You keep seeing the same job posting popping up on job sites. Over and over again. This is never a good sign.

6. Asks for money

As outlandish as this sounds, it does happen, and you should be wary of it. If anyone asks for money for background checks or training, just cut and run.

7. Defeated workers

Is the climate in the office chilly, doomy, or gloomy? Do all the employees look hunched over and defeated? Read their body language and the energy in the room. Does it look like they want to be there?

8. No path forward

There’s no mention of how you might grow into and beyond your position. Don’t let yourself get stuck in a dead end job. Similarly, if there’s no clear description of the job’s duties or your role. If they can’t tell you what success would look like in your position, it will be impossible for you to succeed in such a place.

9. Bad boss

Honor that feeling in your gut that says you just don’t like your potential supervisor. Either they don’t seem to trust you or you get a bad vibe from them. Trust this instinct and save yourself months or years of unhappiness.

10. Instant hire

Be wary of any company that wants to hire you on the spot without calling any of your references or doing a background check. It could just be a super casual company policy, or it could speak of desperation on the employer’s part. Which, again, is never a good sign.

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About the author

Peter Jones

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