6 Warning Signs of Bad Jobs Not to Ignore

By Robert Half on April 2, 2015 at 2:43pm

As desperate as you may be land a new job, it’s just as important to select the right one. Choose poorly and you can find yourself miserable and dreading going into work each day. Here’s what to watch out for when interviewing.

Bad jobs don’t come with neon signs saying, “Stay away! This is a terrible employer!” It’s up to you to pay attention to the finer details that give you a sense of what it might be like to work at a particular company. Here are some warning signs that it may be wise to move on:

1. Your first impression isn’t great

You arrive to your interview and the receptionist has no clue who you are or why you’re there. You’re then left in the lobby well beyond your scheduled time. When the interviewer finally greets you, there’s no apology or explanation for the delay. This kind of behavior shows a lack of respect and is a clear red flag.

Watch for other clues, too. I once was thrilled that a manager was willing to interview me at 7 p.m. after my work hours. However, I soon realized it wasn’t a big deal to offer this on his end. The office was still fully staffed with stressed-out looking workers when I arrived and left, making it clear this wasn’t the place for me. I passed on a second interview.

2. The line of questioning is negative

Is there a pattern to the interview questions that leaves you concerned? For instance, if more than one person asks you how you would do working for a difficult boss, it can be a tip-off that it’s a bad work environment. You may not notice the issues when you’re caught up in getting through the interview questions, so take time afterward to reflect on the overall discussion.

3. The job description is vague

There’s very little talk about the job opportunity when you meet, and when you’re shown a job description, you’re left with more questions than answers. This may indicate no one has given much thought to the role’s responsibilities. "Various administrative tasks"? What does that mean? Without clear performance standards, you may be pulled in different directions and have a hard time succeeding at the company.

4. Your predecessors had short tenures

If people didn’t stay very long and/or they left for the same reasons, it can indicate problems. Don’t hesitate to ask for more information about what happened if you move along in the hiring process.

5. Your research uncovers issues

Bad jobs often start with bigger problems at a company. If you’re seriously considering a job opportunity, you should expand your initial research about the employer and find out even more. Look for relevant articles, check out Glassdoor and contact people in your network for input. Investigate the company’s financial stability, reputation and any legal problems.

6. You’re offered the job on the spot

You may think, “Great! I impressed them so much they want to hire me now!” However, good employers will invest time in giving serious consideration to all candidates, thinking about everyone they met and conducting reference checks. If companies are making an offer immediately, it suggests they’re desperate to fill the job and might be just as quick to fire you if you prove not to be a perfect match.

Conversely, be wary of any company that waits well beyond your final interview to make an offer. You may be a last resort choice and your chances of doing well there aren’t good.

Have you ever noticed the warning signs of bad jobs when meeting with employers? What did you do? Share your experience below.

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