When you shouldn’t accept a job offer
Be careful before you accept a new job, writes Barry Whelan of Excel Recruitment. It’s important to research the company and the role before committing to a new position
11 March 2015
Even if you are unemployed or desperate for a change, taking the wrong position, one that won’t work for you or one with a bad employer, may be the wrong move for you regardless of your need to find work. Taking the wrong job will only set your career back a step, leaving you to restart your job search and in extreme cases your career.
I recall as a graduate applying for a role in sales and being immediately called for an interview. It turned out to be a badly organised group interview where the interviewer talked, never asked a question, looked for any answers and hired everyone. These turned out to be low rent commission only based positions and a number churning strategy on behalf of the company. Whilst things have improved, you still need to be cautious of an offer that seems too good to be true.
Some of the warning signals you should look out for include:
- The interviewer insults previous employees. If the interviewer is telling you how awful your predecessor was having just met you for the interview, you would question the level of integrity and professionalism going forward. It is perfectly acceptable for an interviewer to share information about how a company is structured, challenges within the workforce and challenges within the role, but not to insult previous incumbents. If this is how they speak of them, how will they speak of you?
- If the offer does seem too good to be true, it probably is. If all the way through the interview process the company doesn’t outline any of the downsides of the job, or indeed any challenges with it and repeatedly tells you how wonderful it is, you need to research the company and the role further. Do a little digging, connect with ex-employees, take impartial advice where you can. All jobs and companies have their ups and downs and companies usually outline these to potential employees to measure their expectations.
- The interviewers don’t respect your time and effort. The way you are treated during the interview process is a good indication of how you will be treated in the workplace. Recruiting is a time consuming and expensive process. Alarm bells should ring if the interviewer keeps you waiting (up to half an hour is acceptable, an hour is not) or hasn’t read your CV or cover letter. Also if the interviewer doesn’t pay attention during the interview and seems disinterested, again this is a good warning flag.
- Revolving door. If retention rates in a company are poor and they seem to have a revolving door with regards to employees, this means they either cannot recruit and are hiring the wrong people, or the job is particularly difficult to do and employees will not stay. Whilst you might have a higher tolerance level compared to everyone else, it probably won’t be high enough!
- The job description doesn’t match the job. You would be surprised how often this happens. You have a job description, position details, role and responsibilities and even the package, but as you go through the interview, you find your information doesn’t match the interviewer’s. Circumstances change and roles change with them. If this happens seek clarification. If none is forthcoming, walk away.
- If the offer doesn’t excite you. If the offer isn’t what you are looking for or the package not acceptable or indeed the role/company doesn’t really interest you, well then there will probably be no point in you taking the position. You will leave in the short term and be back to square one.
- Start tomorrow. If a company does not want you to honour your notice to your current employer (at least statutory) and they want you to burn a bridge and start immediately with them, then it is probably an indication of how they will treat you and how the company operates. You’re contractually obliged to give notice and should honour this.
- You don’t fit the culture. An interview is a preview of life in a company. It is an ideal opportunity to see what a company is like to work for without actually working for them. In an interview you see the surroundings, absorb the atmosphere, meet potential colleagues and witness the work and communication style along with the company values. If none of this sits well with you, you’re probably better off not joining.
- Why is the vacancy available? During an interview, you should ask why the position has come up. This will give you real insight into company finances, retention rates and culture. Is the position available because someone has left? Why did they leave? Were they a long term employee or a revolving door new employee? Is the position available due to expansion? This is a good sign of financial health. The answers to this question can provide invaluable insight.
- The interviewer only talks about themselves. This will be your future boss. You need to get on with them and they need to be someone you can work with. If your boss is going to be self-absorbed or narcissistic this may or may not work for you.