6 Company Red Flags To Spot During Your Next Job Search

May 25, 2022 Stephanie Klemperer

company red flags

It can be easy to fall in love with a prospective employer based on the variety of the perks they offer. While these first impressions are important, you’ll want to ensure you are keeping your eye out for any company red flags throughout the process.

By digging deeper into your interviewer and the company culture, you’ll be able to determine if the company is the right fit for your long-term goals. You should feel confident in your final decision to accept an offer, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of an employer before proceeding. To make this process a little easier, keep your eyes out for these 6 company red flags:

Lack of or outdated online presence

You can learn a lot about how a company operates by evaluating their overall online presence. To do this, keep an eye on how their website and social media fair in comparison to competitors and general industry trends. An outdated or lack of social media presence are just a couple of company red flags to take note of. On their own, they may seem like minor issues—however, these can be signs that the company is not investing in the latest technology or staying up-to-date with industry trends.

The company culture isn’t a fit

It’s important to pay close attention to company culture when assessing whether a company is the right fit. Every company has a unique culture, and this will be reflected in its core values, office environment, level of flexibility, dress code, employee benefits, and other aspects of operations. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to culture, so company red flags may vary by person. Here are a few to consider as you go through the interview process:

  • Lack of diversity + inclusion 
  • There’s no scheduling flexibility
  • They focus too much on “fun perks”
  • No training or onboarding is being offered
  • You’re receiving mixed messages about the company’s mission + values

Lack of professional development opportunities

Professional development opportunities should be another area that you pay close attention to throughout your job search. Specifically, ask questions about ongoing training, mentorship opportunities, continuing education policies, or leadership initiatives to get a better sense of what your employer will offer to develop your skills on the job. If your interviewer cannot outline concrete ways the company can help you learn and grow in your role, you might want to think twice about working there.

Read Also: How Professionals Can Drive Their Own Career Growth

A bad reputation + high staff turnover

In today’s digital world, it’s very easy to run a quick online search to find out what people are saying about your prospective employer. Look to sites like Glassdoor to read recent reviews about your target company or take the extra step to network with former employees to learn about their experiences. When reading reviews, however, be sure to pay close attention to any recurring themes in the type of negative comments (e.g., salaries, benefits, professionalism, etc.). If certain types of comments pop up frequently, that should serve as a major company red flag.

Having a reputation for high staff turnover should be another red flag. For example, seeing the same job posting over and over may be a sign that the company is having a hard time retaining talent or finding the right fit for the role. You can take your research one step further by checking current and former employees out on LinkedIn. You can easily figure out how long employees stay based on their job history in their profiles.

You aren’t sure about the hiring manager

If you like everything there is to offer about your prospective employer, but lack a connection with your manager, you might want to take a moment to think about your decision. If they don’t seem to be taking an interest in you, your personalities don’t mesh, or they do not seem to be a great communicator, these might be signs of what’s to come if you are hired.

A poor candidate experience

The interview process itself can unveil a lot of company red flags! If you experience any of the following, you might want to move on to a different opportunity:

  • Vague descriptions: If the role and responsibilities are not clearly defined, this can signal larger structural issues within the company.
  • A late or unprepared interviewer: If the interviewer is late or not prepared for the meeting, they might not respect your time.
  • Unprofessionalism: Negative or inappropriate comments should make you reconsider.
  • Lots of “tests”:  Assessment tests are common in most industries, and are meant to determine if you have the necessary skills for the job. However, if you feel like you are doing free work for the company, it’s time to move on.
  • Lack of transparency: Not being transparent about the interview process should be a red flag. They should be able to let you know where you are in the process, how long it should take place, and what the next steps are.
  • It’s taking too long: Unless there’s a good reason why the process is being drawn out, taking too long to respond or make a decision can be a sign that your role isn’t a priority.

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