Interview Room

What did I get myself into?

This is a question no one wants to find themselves asking a month or two into the new job. It’s sad but true – accepting the wrong job offer is a frequent mistake that jobseekers make all the time. A lot of this is in part due to their excitement and delight of simply getting a job offer to begin with.

Sometimes, finding out you’ve picked the wrong job can be a “how could I have known” moment. But in many cases, if you’ve been playing close attention or asking the right questions to yourself, there are warning signs every step of the way that hint of a bad apple. So to prevent yourself from making a career altering mistake, here are some warning signs that hint the job is a bust.

1. Your Gut is telling you no

Our instincts are more accurate than we sometimes give it credit for. If you’re getting a bad vibe or if somewhere deep inside you’re thinking this job opportunity just isn’t it, then beware. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly about the job is making you hesitant and often times it’s the accumulation of many small things. If this is the case, take a few moments to really sit down and reflect on what your concerns may be about the job.

2. It’s a step in the wrong direction

The future career paths made available to you are often defined by your most recent work experience. If your goal is to tackle Wall Street as a stock broker but you’ve just been given a job offer for a position in accounting, then consider holding off.

It’s easy to think in the moment that if we take a job offer unrelated to our main line of work now, that things will eventually sort itself out. Maybe you figure you’ll only work there for a short period of time, and that a more suitable job will pop up somewhere in the near future. Perhaps this really could be the case, but be aware of that it also might not. The job you take now often defines the job opportunities you have in the future. Work too long in one industry and it can get extremely difficult to leave it.

3. High turnover rate

You don’t want to join a company just to get fired or laid off in less than a year. Though we often have the line of thought that all businesses are well-organized and well-managed, there really are some working environments out there that are extremely toxic.

Consider asking in your interview, “What happened to the previous person that occupied this job position?” or “Has the business had any growing pains regarding employee retention?” If your interviewer starts bad mouthing former employees and mentioning anything that hints of high turnover rates at the company then start considering other options.

4. No one is thinking long-term

Ideally, you want to work for a company that promotes from within and promotes often. So with this in mind, it’s important that your employers actually consider you a serious prospect for advancement within the company. If recruiters and interviewers aren’t bringing anything up about the future of where’d you be in the company, it’s important you bring these questions up yourself. Ask them, “How do you think this role will evolve in half a year or a full year down the road?” If the interviewer pivots or basically tells you it’s the same as how your role is today, then there’s a good chance they have no plans of advancement for you at all.

5. The pay doesn’t cut it

At the end of the day, it’s all about the salary you’re paid. Don’t lowball yourself. It’s important as a jobseeker to identify what your net value is. What were you paid in your last job? What other opportunities can you potentially get? Did you go to a top tier college and graduate with high honors? If the salary you’re offered isn’t worthy of you, then sometimes the best choice is to simply look elsewhere. Also, don’t forget about the expenses tied with working for the job. You may have to relocate and move to an expensive city. Consider all these external financial factors before making up your final decision of whether you truly want the job or not.