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Job-Hunting? Review These Five Red Flags About Questionable Employers

Looking for a new job? Job-hunting can be exhilarating as well as frustrating, but in the end ideally rewarding and successful. During your job-hunting, however, you shouldn't have to deal with questionable and unethical employers.

The purpose of this article is to enlighten you about these employers so you can move forward with your career -- and do so happily, with an ethical employer that shares your values.

Remember that job-hunting is a two-way street. Employers are seeking the right and best candidate to fill a position, but job-seekers should be looking for the best employer -- one that respects you and wants to help you succeed.

Before accepting any job offer, be wary of these five employer behaviors that should be setting off alarm bells in your head. If you discover even one of these conditions, you should certainly think twice about accepting an offer; if you see most or all of these behaviors, run away as fast as you can. Even if you are desperate for a job, taking such a risk can be detrimental to your career, financial, and physical health.

Questionable Employer Actions: 5 Red Flags

1. Poor treatment of applicants. Does the employer seem overly obsessed about your past salary and/or current salary expectations? Is the application process overly tedious or invasive? Is the employer non-responsive? You want an employer who respects you and your time, not one that thinks nothing of making you jump through many time-wasting hoops.

2. Company has shoddy reputation. Job-seekers must complete due diligence and research employers thoroughly. Read up on reviews on sites such as GlassDoor, research the employer's corporate culture and HR practices on their website, and search for news stories and other information. Look for signs such as poor earnings, high employee turnover, and bad reviews. Some disgruntled people will always share negative stories, so dig deeply enough to see whether it's a few unhappy employees or a questionable employer.

3. Demand proof of your current/previous salary. Employers should be focused on hiring the best candidate for the job, but many are focused on hiring the cheapest... which means not only will they want to know your salary history, but they will demand proof of it to make certain you are not inflating the numbers. If an employer demands to see a W4 or paystub, think very hard about staying an applicant.

4. Unhappy workplace. One of the best strategies that job-seekers should always do is arrive 10-15 minutes before the scheduled interview time so that you can quietly observe the interactions between and among workers. Are people not making eye contact or frowning at one another? Avoiding each other? Are overly quiet and somber? Regardless of what you learned from your research on the employer's reputation, nothing is stronger than what you can observe.

5. Job offer irregularities. Good employers will make you a job offer (often both verbally and in writing) and provide you with a reasonable window to make a decision. (By the way, even if it is the perfect job opportunity for you, most experts recommend taking at least one night to think about it before accepting.) Questionable employers will often rush to make an offer (sometimes without even bothering for references -- another red flag) and demand that you answer right then and there. Questionable employers will not put the offer in writing and accuse you of not trusting them. Questionable employers will make you an offer that seems too good to be true (which is why they are often unwilling to put it in writing). Whenever possible, walk away from these employers.

Final Thoughts on Red Flags and Finding the Best Employer

In an ideal world, we would all have plenty of time to find a new job, receive multiple job offers, and have employers competing to hire us. Since most of us will never be in those conditions, we need to do the best we can in identifying and targeting employers that best match our values and career goals.

While these five red flags are the major issues to worry about, here are two other matters that should be factored into your decision. First, even if the employer is perfect, can you see yourself working well with your future boss? Remember, this is the person who will be evaluating you, deciding your fate on raises and promotions. Second, always ask why the position is open; in other words, is it a new position or did someone quit/get fired from it -- and why?


EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is an educator, author, and blogger, as well as founder and CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including EmpoweringAdvice.com. Dr. Hansen has been helping empower people to achieving success his entire adult life. He is also founder of EnhanceMyVocabulary.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EmpoweringRetreat.com. He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. Dr. Hansen is also an educator, teaching business and marketing at the college level for more than 25 years. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. You can also check out Dr. Hansen on Google+, as well as Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.


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