How to Spot Red Flags in Your Job Search


So much of one’s life is
spent at their job, and it is essential that the workplace is a source of
healthy, positive benefits. However, when searching for and starting a new job,
it can be hard to feel confident that your new place of work is not going to be
a source of negativity in your life, and before actually accepting an offer and
starting the job, it is impossible to know for sure how it will turn out.  

 Here are some red flags in
the job search process that you should look out for to avoid toxic workplaces.

Vague job descriptions         

The job listing is the first
point of contact any applicant will have with a given position and has the
potential to reveal a significant amount about the nature of the job and the
workplace. Take a step back to understand if the job listing makes sense and
gives a clear sense of what the position entails. Alert yourself to vagueness
in terms of position responsibilities and an open-endedness that could reveal a
tendency to over-work employees, force them to wear too many hats, or take on
jobs far outside of their remit. Also look out for the overuse of corporate
jargon or
that may be used intentionally to make a company culture sound a certain way,
but question if these claims are backed by examples, or seem to be empty

Look out for signs of a bad work-life balance

One of the predominant
reasons for dissatisfaction in one’s work is a lack of work-life balance.  Signs of this can appear at any stage in the
job hunt, from the job listing to the communication one has with the recruiter,
or the experience during an interview. Does the job listing make it sound like
the workplace lacks boundaries and merges personal and work time in a way that
takes it too far—does the business describe itself as a family? Look out for
indications that workers are expected to always be ‘on the clock.’ Are you
getting emails from the recruiter during non-work hours? Do they describe
workers as ‘choosing’ to work late to get the job done, or as loving the job so
much that they don’t mind working weekends? All of these details may indicate
that the position and company culture do not offer a healthy approach to work-life

Ambiguity about pay and growth

So many companies do not have
and the job application process can be disorienting as a result. If you are
finding it difficult to get a clear answer about pay, or potential growth
opportunities in the position, this may be an indication that the company is
under paying its workers relative to the market, and not invested in their
career growth. Similarly, if the future growth potential is overemphasized over
the current position itself, this may indicate that the role is not paid well,
or notorious for having a low-retention rate.

High turnover

Find out about the turnover rates
in the company and in the position from your interviewer to get a sense of what
shoes you are filling. Are you replacing someone who held the job for years and
loved it, but moved on for respectful reasons? Or are you filling a job where
they have seen dozens of people come and go from that seat? It is important to
know this information to get a full picture, and if the hiring process is
overly rushed, it may be an indication that there is disorganization and unrest
within that given position.


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