What Types of Companies Should You Steer Clear of?

Nancy Anderson
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Workplace comedies that depict stagnant, bungling employers are so popular in American culture that it's easy to forget good companies do exist. Don't allow job search stress to cloud your judgment and prevent you from recognizing an unpleasant workplace. Many employers are on their best behavior during recruitment and show their true colors once you're hired. Hold out for environments where you can learn and thrive, and steer clear when you spot these problematic companies.

The Outdated Organization

Everything seems great on the surface, the job, culture, and salary, until you mention growth opportunities and career goals. The company is behind the times and committed to doing things exactly the same way for the foreseeable future. Managers aren't interested in mentoring employees, the company doesn't support any learning or development programs, and promotions are scarce.

Working for a stagnant company might not seem like a big deal, but before long, you stop feeling challenged in this stifling environment. All around you, competitor companies are doing innovative things while your bosses refuse to listen to fresh ideas. If you accept a position, don't be surprised when you're starting another job search in a year or two.

The Turnover Mill

During your job search, you've likely seen companies that continually advertise the same positions. High turnover is costly for employers, especially for jobs that require substantial experience and skills. While there could be a legitimate reason for unfilled positions, hunting online for employee reviews can help you clear up the mystery. Maybe the company is disorganized or has a terrible culture. If current employees are fleeing en masse, run in the other direction.

The MIA Management

Independence at work is a good thing. Lack of direction is not. Be wary when job postings or interviewers frequently describe the work environment as "self-directed" while struggling to discuss the company's future goals and plans. Either managers are missing in action or the executive team is so big that leaders rarely agree on how to move forward.

A directionless company doesn't operate as an efficient team because leaders aren't around to offer guidance or manage long-term goals. And on a daily basis, it's hard to get the feedback and support you need to make productive decisions. You can be a little less critical if your job search is mainly targeting startups. However, do research to find new companies with solid financial backing so they're less likely to go under in a year.

The Lie Factory

Imagine finding the unicorn in a job search filled with endless duds. You're wowed by the company's ambitious plans, and you can instantly picture yourself in the culture. Then, you realize every promise the hiring manager made is an absolute lie.

It can be difficult to spot this type of deceitful employer when the company is decently run. The problem is the leadership team continually makes big promises to attract top talent and never delivers. Over time, you feel cheated and stop trusting the higher-ups.

A long job search can leave you drained and susceptible to bad job offers. When possible, look for employee reviews or try to get insight from past and current workers before you waste time on companies that are a poor fit. What other steps do you recommend for researching an employer?

Photo courtesy of Viral Bigo at Flickr.com


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  • Madhavi Rao
    Madhavi Rao

    I have worked for 3 years in the admin industry and not come up this issue but will be on the look out .

  • Alfred D.
    Alfred D.

    i work in inventory for 6 years and use a scanner gun every morning

  • Pamela W.
    Pamela W.

    Thanks this help out a lot, I'm still searching for office position. It difficult when you don't have certain experiences these companies want. I've started reading the reviews before I've even applied now. I try not let the searching for a job stress me.

  • Mike P.
    Mike P.

    Thanks for your input. Makes me wonder about some of these guys. Mike

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