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 Be Alert to the Warning Signs Regarding Your Prospective Employer

By Joe Stein

If you have spent any time in the job market, you would probably concur that not all employers have been created equal. Some employers are better than others and it is your job, as a Job Seeker, to sort through this and determine which one is best for you.
As a Job Seeker, you naturally want to think the best of any prospective employer. You will, however, want to evaluate each one on its own merits without any potential bias clouding your judgment. If you are currently employed, the last thing you want to do is jump to a new employer only to find out the “grass is not greener”. Whether you are currently employed or not, you want to be careful with every job move you make, in order to avoid giving the impression you are “job hopper”. So, it is critical to do a proper evaluation of the company.
A Job Seeker usually is given signs during the course of the recruitment process, regarding the quality of the employer pursuing him/her. Unfortunately, many candidates ignore these clues in the excitement of being recruited. A savvy Job Seeker has to have their antennae up regarding any warning signs, and will factor this into the decision making process.
The following are some potential “red flags” for you to consider when evaluating a prospective employer:
·        How They Treated You In the Process – Most companies will show as much, if not more, respect to a candidate than they will their own employees. Why? Keep in mind they are trying to recruit you to come join them, so they should be on their best behavior. So, if they are late for appointments (without an apology), unprepared, missing stated timeframes, or generally rude or unfriendly, it should be a major warning sign for you.
·        Past History of Job Is Unsettling – If the position is a newly created one, then it is important to know how committed the company is to it. Is it budgeted…why was it created? The last thing you want is to join the company only to find out that at the first sign of financial distress, your position is in line to be cut. On the flip side, if it is a position that previously existed, it would be nice to know why it is open (and, perhaps, how often this occurs). If it appears that the position has been a revolving door, then that should be a “red flag”…why would you think it would be different with you?
·        Providing Limited Physical Exposure – I am of the belief that the more a prospective employer allows you to see and hear, the truer picture you will have of them. If you only interview/speak with one person or are provided a limited or no tour, you may wonder if the prospective employer is trying to hide something from you.
·        Don’t Like What You See – If you are allowed to view the facility or other employees, what do you see? Is the office or facility clean and orderly? Do people appear to be engaged? How does the Interviewer interact with others while you are walking with him/her? Do any employees make contact with you and say “Good Morning” or “Hi”? All of these situations will give you an idea of the overall work environment and employee engagement.
·        Job Is Unclear – Do you leave your discussions having a clear understanding of the position and the challenges you will face? If it seems like they are still sorting out the position or the Hiring Manager is unclear of what the duties entail, then alarm bells should go off for you.
·        Finding It Tough To Get Answers – Do you get vague answers to your questions? Does the Hiring Manager seem elusive when talking about the company’s financial position, the position, or the company culture? Perhaps the Hiring Manager is trying to hide something, or maybe the environment is very secretive? It can be especially unsettling if the prospective employer wants you to disclose everything (such as current salary) but refuses to share much with you in return.
·        What You Read or Hear from Others – Going beyond your physical contact with the company, be sure to do your own research. The internet is loaded with information and reviews of employers. Likewise, use your network and speak to people who have worked at or know about the organization. This information can be very powerful, as it should be as “unbiased” as you can gather.
In the excitement of being recruited, it is easy to get caught up in the exciting emotion of the situation and start to overlook potential warning signs. AJob Seeker should not only want to land a new position, but it should be the right one. When evaluating an offer and a prospective employer, review your interactions with the company and make sure you are comfortable with what you have heard and seen.
As always, best of luck in your job search.