Congrats! You got a job offer! But should you accept it? Often, job seekers work so hard at wooing potential employers, they forget to ask themselves whether the job is really the right one for them.
Even if the title, salary and benefits look great, consider the bigger picture. Does this job offer represent a stop-gap, or is it going to keep your career moving in the right direction? Are you going to feel happy on a day-to-day basis, or perpetually overwhelmed or frustrated? Fortunately, today's competitive hiring market provides more room to pose such questions.
Of course, you may be under pressure to secure that first paycheck, or you're just tired of all the job hunting advice. Those are very understandable motives. But don't ignore the red flags along the way. Before accepting a job offer, consider these seven signs that you should keep looking.
1. The hiring process was chaotic
Were your interviewers on time and courteous, or did they arrive late and check their email?
A company's hiring process is a great indicator of how it treats employees. Was the process clear and timely, or were you frequently left hanging? Were your interviewers on time and courteous, or did they arrive late and check their email? Did they provide clear and satisfying answers to your questions, or are you still in doubt about basics, like what you will actually do every day?
2. You get prepped about an 'eccentric' manager or team
Your relationship with your manager is probably the single most vital factor in your well-being on the job. If the hiring team tries to shine a positive light on an otherwise difficult personality, beware. If they are hesitant to introduce you, consider yourself warned. Don't accept any job offer from a hiring team that tells you the manager is "unavailable."
The same goes for future members of your team. Ask to meet and talk with them, preferably on your own. If the hiring team fails to oblige, consider that a red flag.
How prepared are you to meet the hiring team? See our job interview advice.
3. There is no clear path to learning and growth
Ask about your potential for growth on the job. It is vital both to your job satisfaction and career advancement. An ideal workplace welcomes such questions, especially during hiring and onboarding. Better yet, they'll provide a clear path for you to achieve your goals. If their answers are muddled or dismissive, maybe you should consider continuing your search.
4. It requires a killer commute
What will it be like on a daily basis? What will traffic conditions be like during your actual commute hours?
A 90-minute drive to an interview may seem very doable, but what will it be like on a daily basis? What will traffic conditions be like during your actual commute hours? If you arrive at work tired and irritated, you may be setting yourself up for both unhappiness and underperformance.
The same principle applies to work-related travel. It may seem like no big deal, maybe even exciting, during the interview process. But picture the reality of constant security lines and 6 a.m. flights.
5. You find out about high employee turnover
Before accepting a job offer, consider turnover data and employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed part of your potential employer's resume. Gaps in your resume are fair game. The same is true for their resume. Be diplomatic, of course, but don't be afraid to ask the company to address difficult questions.
If they dodge them, you just spotted a red flag. There still may be good explanations, but make sure you get them before accepting that job offer.
6. You feel uncomfortable with the employer's mission
When you really believe in a company's mission, you are far more likely to go above and beyond. And with hard work and maybe some luck, you will be recognized and rewarded accordingly.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. If you do not feel comfortable with the mission and are only accepting the job offer because you need the paycheck, you are far less likely to feel job satisfaction. You are also less likely to feel the kind of motivation that can truly advance your career.
7. You fear you won't be up to the job
You want your job to be a challenge, but you don't want to set yourself to be overwhelmed. It's not fair to your employer, and definitely not fair to you. For example, a position may require lots of soft skills, like public speaking, but you suffer from terrible stage fright. Or it may require you to learn so many new skills in such a short time that you set yourself up for failure.
When assessing a job offer, remember, you are evaluating the employer as much as the employer is evaluating you. Honestly consider whether the job will stretch your limits, or break them.
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