Recognizing Red Flags in the Job Hunt

Posted January 31, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

Red flags are a tricky subject in any realm. In bad relationships, there are always red flags before things get bad, but the truth is you usually don’t notice them until you’re looking back at the wreckage of a bad breakup. The same goes for job interview. If you’re looking for a job, it’s because you’re ready for a change, you’re unhappy in your current job, or you’re excited about a new opportunity. For whatever reason you’re looking, you probably have your blinders on and are only willing to see the good in a potential employer, boss, office, job, or other part of the package.

How, then, can you recognize key red flags to ensure you don’t end up miserable in the new job as much as you are in the current one?

Look for These Key Red Flags

  • Turnover. I once participated in an interview process that cycled me through interviews with nearly a dozen people in the company. Over 80% of them had been with the company less than a year. HUGE RED FLAG! While all companies experience turnover, if two or more people in a small company or five or more people in a larger company in your interview process are new or newer to the company, you have to stop and ask why. It could be because the company had financial trouble recently, or because one of the leaders is truly heinous.
  • Bad reviews. Sites like Glassdoor, Indeed and offer places for current or former employees to review an employer in their fairness, salary practices, and leadership. The Daily Muse’s recent article warns that of course these could be from disgruntled employees….but, if there are multiple complaints in the same theme, it might be something you’ll want to notice and note as a red flag.
  • Speed. When a company needs someone RIGHT NOW and wants to hire quickly, you could be looking at a red flag. This could mean numerous things. Perhaps their team is not cohesive enough to cover when someone leaves. It could also mean they don’t want you to interview long enough to notice some of the other red flags. Or even worse, it could mean they’re not handling work load well and you’re walking into an impossible overtime situation. If they’re not willing to cross their t’s and dot their i’s before hiring you, it’s a big red flag!

What other red flags do you wish you had seen when a job turned out badly? Tell us in the comments below!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."