During a job search, especially one that is long or difficult, it can be tempting to overlook unacceptable behavior displayed by potential employers. To ensure you're spending your time and effort on worthwhile companies, watch out for these red flags.
When the talent pool is large, some companies try to make job seekers to jump through many hoops. Look out for unusual and unreasonable application requests, such as long essays or pre-screening events that require you to appear in person. If the employer asks to check your references before the interview stage, or if he requests uncompensated travel for skills tests, spend the energy required for your job search elsewhere.
Low Salary-to-Experience Ratio
It's not uncommon to see job postings with high experience requirements and low salaries. This happens for a variety of reasons. The company could be completely ignorant of market standards, or they may simply be trying to get out of paying a reasonable rate. If corporate policy requires a public job posting and the employer has an internal candidate in mind, listing an absurd salary and extreme qualifications might be an intentional way to dissuade applicants. Regardless of the reason, a low-ball salary usually indicates that it isn't worth your time to include the company in your job search.
Lack of Communication
Communication is a key factor in any professional setting. If you don't receive a confirmation after submitting an application or a company leaves you hanging for weeks after an interview, it's a bad sign. After all, the way a company treats job candidates is a good predictor of how it treats its employees. Cut your losses, and do your best to find companies that respond quickly and professionally during your job search.
Unprofessional Interview Behavior
Unprofessional behavior during a job interview, toward you or anyone else, is an instant red flag. Intense or biased political statements, off-color jokes and discriminatory comments are all hints at the interviewer's true nature. Other areas for concern include blatant ageism, a dismissive attitude toward other employees and illegal interview questions. If a hiring manager make you uncomfortable, it's time to move on with your job search.
Be wary of employers that ask you to work for free to judge your skills. It's one thing to request portfolio pieces or sample work products from past jobs, but it's quite another to ask you to create brand new work without compensation. Weigh each request carefully, and use a one-hour limit as a guideline. If the spec project takes any longer to complete, redirect your search to companies that respect your time.
A job search can be stressful, but that doesn't mean you need to accept unreasonable and unprofessional behavior from potential employers. By avoiding companies that treat candidates poorly, you can maintain your integrity and increase your chances of landing a job with a professional, reputable company.
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