Sometimes finding the right job is as simple as finding the right employer…
But with a variety of organisations to choose from, deciding on your ideal workplace isn’t always easy – especially when you haven’t experienced the company culture on a first-hand basis.
To make sure you know when to apply (and when to steer clear), here are eight tell-tale signs your potential employer is not the one:
They can’t explain what the role entails
If you find yourself with a lot of unanswered questions at the end of an interview, it’s never a good sign.
Either the employer doesn’t actually know what the role entails or what success looks like within it, they haven’t really thought about your future, or they’re not completely confident with what’s on offer.
So if you can’t find out the ins and outs of the role at the interview stage, don’t accept anything before getting clarity on your concerns.
Their interview process is unorganised
A company’s hiring process is an accurate reflection of them as a business – and it probably goes without saying that an unprofessional attitude from the outset isn’t a good sign.
Whether they’re rude or misleading with their communication, they’re late to your interview, or just seem distant and unprepared, how you’re treated before you’re employed is a good indicator of how the company treats their current employees.
And in this case, it probably isn’t good…
They’re not interested in references
Although some jobs might not need thorough background checks and detailed questioning to know you’d be a good fit (temp jobs, for example), most should follow some kind of screening policy – and at the very least, an interview.
Not only does it make sure you’re a right fit for the organisation, it also helps you to understand whether it’s a good fit for you.
So if an employer’s approach is overly desperate, you might need to ask yourself why they need to beg to fill their position…
The working hours are unreasonable
Whether you’re a current employee or you’re interviewing for a new role, any indication of unfair working hours or a lack of breaks isn’t going to equal to a good work/life balance.
For example, if your salary pays you for 40 hours a week, but the employer mentions staying late on more than one occasion – that’s your first sign of trouble. Wanting someone to be a hard worker is fine, but no employer should expect you to sacrifice it for your own well-being.
An organisation should always have a vested interest in keeping its employees happy, and your set workload should always reflect that.
They badmouth the person you’re replacing
As interview unprofessionalism goes, this is one of the worst offenders.
Although discussing the role duties and how it was previously structured is fine, an employer should never speak badly about a past employee – no matter how acrimonious their split was. Not only does it reflect badly on the organisation, it could also indicate a negative workplace atmosphere.
So, always steer clear of any employer who lets their personal opinion get the better of them, and look for a company that practices professionalism and fairness at all times.
No one seems happy
Sometimes the key to figuring out if a workplace is right for you is to simply look around.
The general atmosphere of a workplace says a lot about the organisation as a whole, and if the current employees look unhappy, overly stressed, or like they don’t get along with anyone they work with – chances are, you probably won’t enjoy spending every day there.
Other warning signs include anyone publicly dressing down an employee, passive aggressive signs that rudely order colleagues to follow the rules, people sat in complete silence or potentially unsafe work areas.
They ask inappropriate questions
There’s a time and place for personal matters, and it’s not at an interview.
So if any interviewer spends a lot of time discussing personal matters (e.g. whether you’re married/have kids), they probably aren’t following the correct protocol – especially if they’re using it to influence their hiring decision.
After all, you’re there to demonstrate your skills and experience, not to talk about what you do at the weekend.
They have a bad reputation
With any job you apply for, do your research. And the internet is a great place to start.
From forums to online review sites, there are a variety of places that allow previous/current employees to review the organisations they’ve worked for. And although you shouldn’t take every comment to heart, keep an eye out for any recurring complaints – they could be a valid warning sign.
Aside from being a vital part of your interview preparation, researching your prospective employer will give you a clearer indication of whether they’re the right fit for you.
Looking for an employer that suits you? View all available vacancies now
Find a job
Sign up for more Career Advice