Knowing these warning signs in my twenties, would’ve saved me a lot of grief in my early professional career! But–lucky for you– they can help you say “No” to a job offer that is not a good fit.
1) Unhappy Employees
If you can feel the stress in the building, and no one gives you a smile—or even eye-contact, this might not be the place for you…
2) Your Boss-to-be is a Jerk
Just because you’re “good with people”, don’t think you are going to change your boss’s personality. If she’s rude to you now—think how uncaring she will be when she’s paying you to do her bidding.
3) Bad Treatment
If during the interview process you are not treated with dignity and respect, they may be giving you a clue. Recruiting is the time that a company should be showing you their best side. If that side is not good, perhaps they are not either.
4) Anally-Retentive Rules
Sure, you can follow the rules with the best of them. But check it out—do the Policies and Procedures sound petty and arbitrary? Do they make business sense? Or does it seem like the CEO may actually be a stunt-double for Attila the Hun? Life is way too short to be micro-managed.
5) Scope Creep
The incumbent job grows larger in responsibility—and tasks—every time you talk with someone. You could be taking on the job of three people for the price of one. Get very clear on roles and responsibilities before signing up.
6) Low-ball Salary
In a seller’s market (more candidates than jobs) some employers may believe they can take advantage of the supply/demand ratio and offer a lower-than-normal salary. Remember this is a negotiation—not a take-it-or-leave-it scenario. Also, your goal is to get your top “total compensation” offer—so this includes, bonus, benefits and other perks—not just base salary. So, if the hiring organization is not willing to be flexible with you on your total compensation package, you may be wise to wait for something else that better meets your needs. Remember, any future pay increases will be based off of this initial salary, so it will be difficult to make it up later.
7) No Written Offer
If an employer is not willing to put their offer in writing, it will be hard to prove what was offered, later. To borrow an old attorney’s joke: the offer won’t be worth the paper it’s written on… So, if they cannot offer it in writing, you should not be accepting it at all.
Remember, it’s not a “good offer” if the lack of cultural fit is going to have you looking for another job again in a few months. Take the long-term approach, and find the boss, job and company that are going to work best for you!