Steer Clear of These Companies During Your Job Search
In our post-pandemic world, the American job market has undergone some big changes. Not only is remote work on the rise, but employees all over the country are rightfully demanding respect, better pay, and better working conditions.
From “quiet quitting” to The Great Resignation to staggering nationwide layoffs, many workers are abandoning their jobs in search of greener pastures. While the job hunt can and should be an exciting new opportunity to reshape your future, it’s important to keep this in mind: first impressions are a two-way street. For job-seekers who have fled poor working conditions, harassment, or discrimination, it’s critical to avoid jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
The application and hiring process is an excellent opportunity for applicants to market themselves and their skills to potential new employers. However, candidates must also remember that this is an opportunity for them to vet the companies they’re considering.
Fortunately, there are telltale signs that can let employees know whether or not a company is worth pursuing. The last thing you want to do is waste your time or effort filling out applications or accepting second, third, or final interviews when a company isn’t truly interested or doesn’t intend to treat you well. Whether you’re gearing up to begin your job search or have been buried in job postings for months, keep reading to know which companies you should steer clear of.
4 Companies to Avoid While Applying for Jobs
It can be easy for job seekers to feel like they’re the only ones under pressure. After all, the power to move candidates forward in the hiring process lies with the employer, not the potential employee.
With the ball resting largely in the company’s court, a large majority of candidates know they’ll likely face the sting of rejection a few times during the job hunt. But keep in mind that you are not powerless while applying for jobs. Applicants can and should exercise their agency and know their worth—and keep these things top-of-mind during their search.
A recent survey revealed that two-thirds of American workers have accepted a job that wasn’t a good fit, leading half of these employees to quit within 6 months. While it can be tempting to accept the first offer you receive, it isn’t worth the eventual disappointment of realizing the company is a poor fit later on. Remember, you’re not looking for a job; you’re looking for the right job. In some instances, saying “no” to a decent offer can help you dodge a bullet.
From misrepresentation to false promises to withholding information, it’s important for applicants to do their research and exercise caution while job hunting, as this can help prevent costly mistakes in the long term. No one should have to work for a company that considers them anything less than a human being.
Keep reading to learn the top red flags that a company isn’t worth pursuing.
#1. The company that isn’t forthcoming about starting pay or benefits.
If a company doesn’t sufficiently answer your questions during the application or interview process, this is a red flag. Interviews aren’t merely a chance for a potential company to interview you; they’re also a chance for you to interview the company.
Even perfectly respectable companies that treat and pay employees well may not be a good fit for every applicant, as variances in human personality can lead to different preferences for company culture. This is why it’s important to determine if you like the company you’re applying for, rather than getting bogged down in trying to make them like you.
Candidates should get the chance to ask their own questions and expect reasonable, informative answers in return. If a company fails to address your concerns or answer your questions—especially concerning things like starting pay, benefits, or scheduling—then the employer is not only disrespecting your time, but they’re failing to set reasonable expectations.
Sadly, things like pay can often feel like a taboo conversation in the workplace. Keep in mind that it is not illegal for employees to discuss pay. You have the right to know what a potential position pays before investing continued time in a company’s hiring process, as this is essential information to make an informed decision about which position to accept.
If a potential employer expects you to endure multiple interviews without disclosing salary information (especially at your explicit request), this might be a sign to abandon ship. Don't pass up promising opportunities with other employers who are willing to respect your time for the sake of a company that isn't forthcoming or transparent with you.
#2. The company that keeps rescheduling on you.
We’ve all been there: you’re at your desk after a grueling week and notice that pesky email you meant to respond to days ago, but never did. Not very professional, right?
Thankfully, we’re only human, and the occasional error is inevitable. While an occasional mishap or scheduling conflict is understandable, there are still red flags that candidates should watch out for, such as:
- The company whose communication is consistently poor. It’s unreasonable for employers to demand applicants with exemplary communication skills while failing to do the same.
- The company that constantly reschedules on you. Rescheduling an interview or follow-up call once or twice may be forgivable. However, if a company is obviously disorganized or routinely giving you the run-around, this may be a sign that you don’t want to work for that employer.
- There appears to be a lot of reshuffling. Maybe you’ve yet to speak to the same person twice during the hiring process. Maybe there have been mentions of department reorganizing or reshuffling. Whatever the case, the chaos could be a sign that the company isn’t in a stable condition or can’t retain employees.
An employee should be able to rely on their employer to equip them for success, which includes respecting the employee’s time by exercising timely communication.
#3. The company that badmouths its employees.
Whether a company knows this or not, the interview process is about more than the candidate-employer relationship—it’s also about interpersonal relations within the company. To get a better feel of interpersonal dynamics and interactions within an organization, consider asking yourself the following questions:
- How do interviewers discuss conflict and challenges within the company?
- How do they communicate with or speak about other people and departments?
- Do they talk over or interrupt each other often while speaking?
Whether the interviewer adopts a negative tone when discussing certain people or makes disparaging jokes or comments at someone else's expense, it’s important to pay attention to intercompany relationships.
If the company gossips or badmouths its staff or treats each other with disrespect, this probably means that they’ll do the same to you once your back is turned—and for most candidates, that isn’t the type of team they want to join.
#4. The company that leads you on or never gets back to you.
Some companies will take advantage of an applicant’s eagerness to secure a job as soon as possible. Employers may do this by requiring candidates to jump through various hoops—from multiple interviews to personality tests to online trainings—only to ghost you a week later.
From forgetfulness to technology errors, there are understandable reasons for failed communication—but an employer who regularly makes a candidate wait days or weeks for an email response could be a red flag.
If a company’s hiring process feels excessive or demanding but has yielded little to no results or definitive answers, this may be a red flag that they’re baiting you, ghosting you, or secretly waiting for a better candidate to come along. Even if a candidate doesn’t receive the final offer for a position, respect and etiquette should prompt a company to do two things:
- Notify the candidate that the company has decided to go in a different direction; and
- Thank the candidate for their time.
At the very least, notifying rejected applicants that the position has been filled is a must. “Ghosting” candidates is disrespectful to their time and effort, as it can delay them from applying for other positions and even prevent them from accepting a better opportunity with a different organization.
If a company appears to be playing the field or doesn't provide adequate updates during the hiring process, it may not be the company you want to work for.
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