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Business

Christy De Los Rios: Beware the Danger Signals of a Bad Job Ahead

For job seekers, especially those who’ve been looking for work for a while, receiving an employment offer is cause for serious celebration. So, it’s not surprising that many accept a new position with little hesitation.

But before signing on the dotted line, step back and consider if the opportunity is right for you. While in some cases, the need for an immediate paycheck may outweigh any potential drawbacks to a new role, if you are in a position to be selective, it can be wise to consider every angle. After all, a position with a company isn’t a short-term affair. Following are some red flags to watch out for to help ensure the job offer you’ve been dreaming of doesn’t lead to a nightmare work experience.

No Written Job Offer

If you’re accepting a professional position with a fairly large firm, a written offer is important because it ensures that you and the employer are on the same page when it comes to pay, responsibilities and other important details about the job. Red flag No. 1 is if you aren’t given an offer letter at all or any concrete details of the position and pay.

Optimally, you want to get the following in writing:

» Your job title

» Your direct report(s)

» Your starting salary or wage

» Any special requirements or agreements, such as reimbursement for moving costs, a signing bonus or the fact that your position requires extensive travel

If the written offer differs in any way from what you discussed with the hiring manager, notify the person so he or she can issue you an updated statement. If the information is still not what you expected and the potential employer doesn’t take steps to correct it, it could mean that what you were promised during the interview process won’t become reality.

You’re Pressured to Make a Decision

Taking on a new job is a potentially life-changing decision. As such, an organization should give you adequate time — usually a few days — to mull things over. If you’re pressured to accept an offer on the spot, ask yourself why the company is in such a rush. Is the firm in desperate need of somebody — anybody — to fill the role? Is the hiring manager hoping you accept an offer below your true worth? Once on board, will you be pressured to make other decisions without being given the opportunity to weigh the options? Proceed with caution.

The Process Takes Way Too Long

You first interviewed with a potential employer four months ago. Since then, you’ve been called back for a number of follow-up meetings, each of which you feel you aced. But with no offer in hand, you’re starting to wonder what more you have to prove — and how much longer you’ll have to wait.

Finding the right person for an open position takes time, especially for higher-level roles. In fact, research conducted by Robert Half International indicates that companies interview an average of six job candidates per opening. Given the deliberate approach many firms are taking, it shouldn’t be surprising that you aren’t asked to join the organization within a few days of submitting your résumé.

However, if the process drags on for months without sufficient explanation from the hiring manager, consider it a warning sign. The company may still be structuring the position, meaning the end result could be very different from what you applied for. Or the firm may be unsure of its ability to support another full-time hire.

You and Your Coworkers Don’t Mix

During the interview process, you probably met with a few potential coworkers, including your future boss. Getting along with the people you work with is crucial to not only your daily satisfaction but also your professional future. Minor variations in work style are manageable, but fundamental differences could mean turbulence once you’re on the job. Take heed if you had trouble forming rapport with these individuals or sense high potential for conflict.

The Corporate Culture Is Questionable

Corporate culture varies widely from one place of employment to the next, and if your personality is not compatible to your future firm’s, chances are the job will not go smoothly. For example, you may be used to a boisterous work environment and be uncomfortable at the new firm, where employees can practically hear a pin drop. Or you may prefer to keep your professional and personal lives separate, leading to awkward situations if your new colleagues gather frequently after work.

Remember that once you accept a job offer, whether verbally or in writing, it’s hard to change your mind. Backing out of the deal could significantly harm your professional reputation and burn any bridges you have with that employer. So, before saying yes, look at the entire package — from salary and benefits to coworkers and corporate culture — and make sure there are no red flags waving you away.

— Christy De Los Rios is the Santa Barbara branch manager for Robert Half International. She can be contacted at 805.568.0838 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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