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3 Warning Signs You Should NOT Accept That Job Offer

Posted on the 14 September 2015 by Ncrimaldi @MsCareerGirl

3 Warning Signs You Should NOT Accept That Job Offer

Whether you're causally investigating a new position or you've been actively hunting for the right fit for months, searching for a job can be an exhausting process.

Once you've put in the effort, spent hours rehearsing, spruced up your résumé and gotten through the interview process, the hard work is done. It might feel as though it all has paid off when you receive an official offer. After all the time you put in, accepting what's on the table might seem like a given.

Not so fast. Just because you've wrangled a job offer doesn't mean you should jump at the first option that seems to meet your requirements. Sometimes we become so focused on "needing a job" that we lose sight of warning signs that might indicate it's better to stay away.

If you've received a job offer, congratulations! Before accepting, make sure the three warning signs below aren't part of the equation.

3 Warning Signs You Should NOT Accept That Job Offer

It seemed like a breeze. You sent in an application, received a call within a day or two, had an interview and received an offer on the spot or shortly after returning home. It must be the perfect fit!

Not so fast. Maybe that speed is a sign that you should step back and evaluate your options.

Statistics indicate that finding a job usually doesn't happen that fast:

Hiring is not a completely scientific process. While there are some exceptions - food service, hospitality and other industries included - most professional positions require multiple rounds of interviews, some in person and some over the phone. Multiple steps are often required before an offer is made.

If you've applied for a professional position, especially one requiring higher education or specific certifications, and you've received an offer quickly, it's a warning sign. The employer could lack a level of professionalism, they may have a hard time holding onto employees or the job may not be exactly what's been presented to you. Take the time to do some research if you find yourself in this scenario.

3 Warning Signs You Should NOT Accept That Job Offer

Perhaps the interview process went exactly as it should. You've spoken to individuals at multiple levels within the company and you've had time to consider your offer without being forced to respond immediately. Warning sign number one can be crossed off your list.

But there might be something else to consider. You know and trust your instincts - what do they tell you about the working environment itself?

Warning signs that something may be "off" in your new potential position include:

  • The employees seem less than cordial. Not everything has to resemble a working sitcom, but employees should seem happy, friendly and not overly stressed. While there may be a few less-than-friendly employees, they shouldn't be the norm.
  • Your responsibilities seem unclear. One way to guarantee unhappy employees is to set unclear expectations. If you're unsure of what you'll be doing in your new role even after multiple interviews and conversations, you're unlikely to be satisfied if you take the offer.
  • An online search reveals unsettling results. It never hurts to run a quick search for your new potential employer online. You shouldn't let a few negative reviews sway your opinions, but, if they seem to be the standard, there may be something that you're missing.
  • Communication seems less than professional. There's a place for casual emails and spelling errors happen to the best of us, but if the communication process seems unprofessional, something could be lacking. If you receive calls at all hours, do not have a point-person to communicate with or receiving responses takes multiple days, you might want to dig a little deeper into the position's potential.
3 Warning Signs You Should NOT Accept That Job Offer
    Safety Isn't a Top Priority

In certain positions, your safety is - or should be - of the utmost importance. While this might apply less to office workers, if you've applied for a role that requires extensive technical knowledge or on-site training, the use of heavy-duty equipment, long hours on your feet, exposure to chemicals or other hazards, safety should be a top concern.

Your new potential employer should be able to share statistics relating to past accidents, information about how employees are protected and even what steps and coverage are available if something should go wrong. If this information is not readily shared or available, it could be a red flag.

If you're unsure of your industry averages for workplace injuries and incidents, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistic's site, which offers graphs that break down averages by industry. Take the time to compare the average to your potential employer's safety history.

It's likely that most positions you apply for won't give you a reason to run in the opposite direction. But you need to cover your bases and make sure there aren't any glaring warning signs before jumping into something new. Your happiness, safety and professional future could be on the line.


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