Don't ignore these job search red flags

When you're searching for a job, it can be easy to get so focused on getting hired that you overlook the red flags that can reveal a job or a company isn't the right fit for you. That's a dangerous mindset to have because it can mean that you end up in a job that makes you dread going to work each day.

Here are seven job search red flags that people often ignore, to their detriment.

[See: The 8 Stages of a Winning Job Search.]

The person who would be your boss is rude. Your boss will have an enormous impact on your day-to-day quality of life at work, as well as on things like what projects you get, how visible they are, what kind of recognition you receive, future raises, what professional development you have access to and more. That means that your boss's character and way of operating is hugely important, and it's crucial that you use the interview process to assess what kind of manager you'd be working for. If your prospective boss is rude or disrespectful, assume that won't let up once you're hired (if anything, it's likely to get worse). Watch out for the following types of disrespect in particular:

  • Seeming put out when you ask questions about the job or the workplace culture

  • Acting as if you should be grateful you're being considered

  • Disparaging your skills or past work

  • Asking you to do unreasonable things, such as interviewing with only a few hours notice, without any acknowledgment or apology

You feel uneasy about your ability to do the job well. When you're anxious to get a job, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that your goal isn't just to get hired, but rather to get hired for a job that you'll do well in. Otherwise, you can end up struggling and miserable at work, or even getting fired, which can make getting your next job much more difficult. Even if these worst-case scenarios don't happen, being in a job that isn't a great fit means that you're unlikely to have the kind of accomplishments that will help you reach the next level in your career. If you have real concerns about your ability to excel at the job you're interviewing for – not normal nerves, but genuine doubts that you can do what the employer is looking for – it's probably better to withdraw from consideration and focus on jobs that play to your strengths.

[See: 10 Things Your Mom Didn't Teach You About Job Searching.]

No one has been able to tell you quite what the job will entail. If the employer can't clearly explain exactly what you'd be doing if hired, that's a danger sign. It can mean that the job is likely to change drastically after you've already been hired, possibly to something that you don't want to spend your days doing or aren't good at. It can mean that they'll realize they don't need the position at all, even if you've already quit a previous job and started working for them. And if they're unable to explain what doing the job successfully would look like or how they'll decide if you're doing it well, it can mean that you'll be left to flounder with no clear direction and be held to vague standards that never quite get articulated.

The interviewer doesn't interview you. An interviewer who doesn't ask many questions about your work experience is an interviewer who isn't equipped to make a smart hiring decision. If you're offered a job by a company that knows little about you and hasn't made much effort to learn more, you're taking a risk that once you're on the job, it will turn out that the role or company isn't right for you.

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Online reviews of the company are overwhelmingly awful. Sites like, where people can leave reviews of their employers, aren't always 100 percent reliable. People's reviews are subjective, and a disgruntled employee might paint a very different picture than the reality. However, if a company has a significant number of reviews and they're overwhelmingly negative, that's worth paying attention to.

You have a terrible gut feeling. If you feel uneasy every time you think about the job or the manager, listen to your gut. Those alarm bells are often based on things that you're picking up subconsciously, and it's far better to walk away now than get stuck in a job that will make you miserable.

[See: The 10 Most Common Interview Questions.]

You're pressured to accept the offer on the spot. Good employers will give you time to think over a job offer. They want you to have time to make sure that the job and offer are right to you, because they want to make good hires and not have people itching to leave after a few months. Employers who pressure you to accept on the spot or before the day is over are pushing you to do something that isn't in your best interest. Be very wary.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

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