How to recognise a dodgy employer

by | 12.08.19

Finding a new job can be very tricky. There is no shortage of uncertainty as both you and the employer will try to present yourselves in the best possible light – it’s not unlike going on a blind date. If you can often be difficult to see clearly what the potential employer is all about particularly if you desperately want to like the job. However, accepting a job with an employer that is not a good fit for you, or is a downright terrible place to work, is a sure recipe for misery.

So what should you do? We would advise you to pay attention to all things big and small. Here are some tips for you:

You are not introduced to the Line Manager

If you are interviewed by someone other than the person who would ultimately be your line Manager question whether you should be working for a Company where the person who would be your direct Manager was not trusted to be part of the recruitment process.

The job responsibilities are unclear

If the job description is vague and no one can explain what success in the role will look like, run in the opposite direction. Accepting a position without clear responsibilities and expectations is like stepping off a ledge and hoping there are cushions to land on.

The Company is unprofessional

Any future employer you consider should be professional. It is easy to identify an unprofessional or disrespectful Company. They will keep you waiting in the reception area for half an hour after your allotted interview, they will ask you inappropriate questions in the interview, they will demand you start the job the next day or they will keep you waiting weeks to let you know if you have the job or not. Avoid these type of Companies at all costs.

The Company has a bad reputation

The internet makes an employers reputation easy to check. Look at sites like Google  for reviews and you’ll get a good idea if the Company is good or not. Be sure to read all reviews and pay attention to what is mentioned. Are there any trends you can pick up on/ don’t worry too much about one or two bad reviews as most business particularly in the service sector will get these, worry about the majority of the comments made.

 They seem to have a high turnover of staff

If the Company is constantly advertising for staff or had more than one vacancy alarm bells should ring. Now it could be a case of the Company being on a rapid expansion programme but equally it could be that employees are not happy and leave after a short period of time. A good question to ask in an interview on this occasion is “now did this position come about”.

They seem to be backstabbers

An interview should be a professional forum, with all participants, including you, acting in a professional manner. It is not appropriate in the interview for the interviewer to bad mouth other staff members or indeed the person who is leaving and whose job you are applying for. Nor is it acceptable for the receptionist who greets you when you get to the Company to say “Oh, you’re here to see Dave Brown are you – good luck with that”. Avoid this organisation you would entering a battle zone.

Your initial impression is one of distrust

If you feel the employer interacts with you as if they don’t trust you, pay attention. Background and reference checks are normal, in fact I would be suspicious of any Company that is quick to offer you a job without doing basic checks. However, if you feel like you need to explain or defend yourself in an interview and are questioned like a criminal look at other options.

The office feels depressing

This is a difficult one, but you must trust your instincts on this. If the office seems unhappy it could be a sign of Company culture. Pay attention to the tone of posted signs, i.e. Only one person at the coffee machine at any one time, the expression on people’s face and snippets of conversations you overhear. Imagine yourself working in the office every day and pay attention to how it makes you feel.

To summarise use an interview as a test-drive of what it is like to work for the Company. It is also a good idea to consider a visit to the area where the Company is situated in the morning or evening to test your commute, after all you don’t want to start a job only to find the journey is impossible on a daily basis.

Happy Job Search