A new job offer is usually a sign of progress. Normally, it means that you’re moving forward and upward on your career path. A raise, a corner officer, and a reserved parking space – generally, these are all indications that you’re doing something right and your hard work and expertise are being recognized and rewarded.
But the grass is not always greener on the other side. And sometimes, you might be making a big mistake if you don’t look very carefully before you leap. According to recent research, most employees are not happy with their jobs or their bosses. A study by the American Psychological Association reveals that 75 percent of workers consider work to be a major source of stress. Also, job stress is responsible for low morale, high employee turnover rates, and overall decreased levels of productivity.
So perhaps it’s worth considering other factors besides salary and a corner office when weighing a job offer. Often employees are so excited for a new job opportunity that they brush aside those subtle, or even not-so-subtle, warning signs. But once the excitement of the new job wears off, will you dread going to work every day? On average, you will spend eight hours a day in this environment, in addition to time allotted to commuting. Will you find it hard to motivate yourself to get out of bed every morning? Will you end up (gasp!) longing for your old job?
Realistically, accepting a new job is a lot like getting married, because no matter how well you’ve done your research, or how well prepared you think you are, there will be surprises. You’ll have a healthy dose of “I didn’t see that coming,” moments. However, the objective is to minimize these types of surprises by making sure that you’re not approaching the situation with rose-colored glasses.
So keep reading to discover4 warning signs that perhaps you should reject that job offer.
It’s great that the new company likes you so well, but why on earth do you need to start immediately. If they want you to start yesterday, that’s a red flag that something is wrong. Common courtesy dictates that you should give your current employer at least a two-week notice so they won’t be left in a bind. Even though you’re leaving, you don’t want to depart on bad terms, because you never know when you may need a favor from – or even end up interviewing with or working for – someone from that organization.
Also, what does this say about the new company? If they could care less about common business courtesies, they may also be cutting corners with other business practices as well. The company may have a win-at-all-cost mentality, and will have no problem pushing you beyond ethical – or even legal – boundaries to get what it wants.
In addition, if it’s that urgent for you to start the job immediately, what will happen when you want to take a vacation, or if you need to call in sick? The company’s sense of urgency could be a warning sign that you might be expected to work through lunch breaks, leave work late, and take work home with you.
It’s possible that the hiring manager(s) and/or human resource team is overwhelmed with work, and that’s why they’re not communicating in a timely manner – and although that’s understandable, it’s still not acceptable. However, if they’re not returning phone calls, email, etc., this could also be a sign that if you accept the position, you will either sink or swim from day one.
As a new employee, you’re going to have questions - lots of them. So it’s important to know if this poor communication is a one-time thing or if the company fosters a culture of non-communication, in which managers and HR routinely ignore requests. Sometimes your ability to complete assignments is dependent on receiving answers in a timely manner. If you can’t get your questions answered, and your assignments aren’t completed on time, will your manager still hold you accountable and accuse you of making excuses? Probably.
According to Monster.com, you should always observe the work environment and note the attitudes of the employees. A dirty or hazardous work site is one sign that something is amiss. You should also observe if the employees look happy and content or do they look miserable and stressed out. Observe how they interact with each other, and also how they treat you.
Do they look genuinely friendly, or do they have fake smiles? Do they stop and say, “Hello,” or do they appear to be scared to speak? Or, are they trying to relay secret messages with their eyes, like, “For gosh sakes, don’t take this job!”
OK, most job descriptions may contain a final line that reads, “other duties as assigned.” However, the overwhelming majority of your expected job duties should be clearly listed in the job description. A company shouldn’t even post a job opening or interview applicants until it has finalized the job description. If the duties are sketchy, that’s a huge red flag because the position could potentially involve two or three times as many duties.
For example, you may be interviewing for a position as a marketing specialist, and once you’re hired, the company may have you answering the phones for the receptionist, taking lunch orders for the staff and driving across town to pick up meals, sorting mail, plunging toilets, and a host of other duties that are totally unrelated to your title.
In addition, your evaluation should be based on your ability to perform the duties listed in your job description. If those duties aren’t concrete, you could be in for all types of surprises. For instance, during your evaluation, your manager may express disappointment that you didn’t motivate the marketing team or effectively manage the budget. Well . . . you thought that was the marketing manager’s job, and this is the first time you’ve been informed these duties were expected of you.