5 Red Flags that a 'Dream Job' is a Nightmare

Aug 10, 2011 -
You’re looking for a new job, and you come across a job opening that sounds perfect for you. It’s exactly what you’ve been looking for. You’re qualified to apply. And the organization sounds like a good fit. What could possibly go wrong? A lot. That is, if you don't watch out for red flags. If you don’t pay attention while job searching, you could end up taking a position that isn’t right for you. You might also fall victim to a scam or identity theft if you aren’t careful. Keep the following red flags in mind when considering new job opportunities:
  1. The organization’s website doesn’t include important information about its employees or culture. Most employers want you to learn about their organization through prior research. If the website doesn’t tell you much about the company, it might be a “work from home” opportunity (and not a genuine full-time job) or a sign that they don’t want to get into details.
  1. The company is offering salary or benefits that seem too good to be true. And if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! If you’re unsure what you should be making in specific positions, check out Glassdoor.com or other sites that provide salary data.
  1. You can’t see yourself getting along with your potential boss or co-workers. If yo u’ve met with current employees or your boss and can’t see yourself working with these folks, this might not be the right job for you. You don’t want to work somewhere where you’ll be miserable—and an employer wouldn’t want to hire an employee who didn’t fit in with the culture, either.
  1. The hiring manager avoids answering questions about the former employee in the position. If you can’t get a straight answer about why the last person left this job, it might be for reasons that the hiring manager would rather not disclose, such as no room to move up at the organization, problems with management, or something more serious.
  1. You don’t feel comfortable in the office. When something doesn’t sit right, it can be a good indicator that it’s not the right opportunity for you. Sometimes there isn’t even a solid reasoning behind it—it’s just your gut telling you to move on.
Certain red flags can also alert you to whether the job is a scam.  The following are seven red flags the Better Business Bureau advises jobs hunters to be on the look out for when using online resources:
  • Employer emails are rife with grammatical and spelling errors
  • E-mails purporting to be from job posting websites claiming there’s a problem with a job hunter’s account
  • An employer asks for extensive personal information such as social security or bank account numbers
  • An employer offers the opportunity to become rich without leaving home
  • An employer asks for money upfront
  • The job requires the employee to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram
What other guidelines would you add? Heather R. Huhman is founder and president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers.