According to statistics, 85% of people are not happy with their jobs. There are different reasons: low salary, unbearable bosses, toxic colleagues, and no personal and professional growth. And the saddest thing of all is that when we’re looking for a job, we want it so much that our minds are clouded and they miss the most important and alarming signs during job interviews.
We at Bright Side have checked the recommendations of experts and analyzed the experience of people that were looking for normal jobs, but ended up dealing with liars. This article will help you learn to identify employers that should probably be avoided, because all of them do the same thing.
1. They advertise vague positions.
It’s not a good sign if the job description doesn’t have the name of the company or the name of the person you can contact. You need to have information about the employer that is easy to check online. And it’s even worse if the position description is so vague that you can’t even understand what they actually need. It’s better to ignore descriptions that are too long or too short.
- When I was a student and I was looking for a job, I found an ad that said, “Working for an IT-company. No experience required. Good pay.” Of course, I called the number and agreed to come to an interview. When I got to the place, I had to wait 3 hours in line before I finally got to talk to the boss. He was a 50-year-old man that offered to sell me a set of books about programming for $100, have me set my own price for the books, and then sell them to other people. He said, “A minimum batch is 10 sets. You’re a smart girl, you can buy several batches and start your own path to financial stability and independence. I got up and left, but I saw a lot of people walking out with books in their hands.
2. They only offer part-time jobs.
In reality, there’s nothing wrong with part-time jobs. But if you are looking for a full-time job and the employer tells you that you should start part-time and later they’ll make you full-time, there’s a big chance they are lying to you.
- So I just spent the last 2 and a half months working for a company as seasonal labor. Over the past couple of months, all 13 people who were hired as seasonal employees were told that 3 full-time positions would be given out to those with the best performance. Now that the date for the end of our temporary position is 2 days away, they sent emails to people informing them of whether or not they received the full-time role. The email stated that “there were only a limited number of full-time positions and unfortunately you were not the one chosen…” As if they thought we would not talk amongst ourselves, we found out that all 13 people were told the same thing. One person in our group was the smart one. When they got hired on they asked to see the details of the pay, the benefits, and the likely schedule of the potential full-time position. The job recruiter could not provide this at all. She said that they dodged this question multiple times and she knew right then and there that there would be no full-time positions given to anyone, because the positions did not exist. © missingmytowel / Reddit
3. They offer free food.
Very often, free lunches and snacks offered by employers are nothing more than a cunning way to make their workers feel special without raising their salaries. It’s much cheaper to give out snacks than bonuses. Besides, when you are eating in the office, you’re easier to control.
- Free lunches sound positive, but what this means is, “We expect you to be working past dinnertime hours, and there will be a lot of social pressure to never leave and to socialize with the team well past working hours. We don’t understand that anyone might want a life outside of work.” © helava / Reddit
- My wife interviewed for an accountant position at a company that was similar. They also bought lunch every day because you weren’t allowed to leave or stop working. © joec85 / Reddit
4. They ask very personal questions.
In many countries, questions about age, health, and marital and financial situations are considered rude, and for that reason, they are banned. For some professions, there are certain age and health limitations, but in most cases, these questions are signs of an incompetent employer.
Companies know about this, so they try to get this information from you in different ways. For example, they ask you how you spent your weekend or how you got to the office, to find out if you have children or a car.
- My old boss used to leave a cute photo of her niece on her desk as bait, “Yes, Ashley is a doll! (casually) You have kids?” My old boss really really did not want to hire women with children… © HeartpineFloors / Reddit
- The reason they ask that is to sneakily and secretly make an assumption that you’ll be taking maternity leave, to figure out your expectations for health insurance and other benefits, to see if you’ll need sick days to care for children or go to doctor’s appointments, if you might be late because you had to get them to school, and most importantly: because you’ll have a solid reason for why you can’t stay late, work overtime or weekends, etc. They want single people with no “real” responsibilities so they can get away with stuff and you can be manipulated into never taking time off. © 7Dragoncats / Reddit
5. They constantly update their positions.
If a company keeps posting the same positions online, there are 2 possible explanations: either the business is growing or the employees keep leaving the company. In the latter case, it might be due to bad management, difficult work conditions, or no personal and professional growth. The people that have worked for companies like this say that it’s impossible to spend a long time there.
I had a job a few years back and I had to work closely with the manager daily. Talking to other employees, they told me that my position had seen 6 other people leave within the last year. She turned out to be egotistical and she had all the traits of a bad coworker. Uncooperative, hostile, petty, lazy, you name it. I have a friend who works close by to the place and he said that (at the time) they were still going through employees left and right. The sad part, the place is owned by her husband… © ADShree / Reddit
The one question every job applicant must ask is: “Why is this position open?” and watch the faces of everyone in the room before they answer. If they tell you the company’s growing and it’s a new position, great! If smiling Mary says it was her job, but she was just promoted, terrific! If they tell you that the last couple of people they tried in the position just didn’t work out, thank them and leave. © MyNameIsJohnDaker / Reddit
6. They are looking for a universal worker.
If a boss gives you really vague job descriptions like, “there will be a lot of different duties” or “you’ll figure it out as we go,” it might mean that the boss will try to make you do a job that is supposed to be done by a group of people. It’s better to leave this company as soon as possible.
- I didn’t know it at the time, but “you’ll be wearing many hats” was a sign that they were going to give me the work of 4 positions and the wage of one. I didn’t last a year there before I left and now I won’t even finish reading job ads that include that line. © Couch_slug / Reddit
I was interviewed for a job like this. When I walked into the interview, it was made clear that the job was being offered and was mine if I wanted it, on my credentials alone. It was a library supervisor job at a rare items and fine arts library. An hour into the interview, despite asking several times, they couldn’t tell me what I would be doing. Slowly, it came out that there were frequent fights in the library that I would need to break up and student mental breakdowns I would somehow have to handle as a mental health professional. The kicker was that the library held a lot of fine art, and I would need to stop people from, literally, “stealing the Warhol’s.” They wanted a librarian who, I guess, was somehow Batman. © two_constellations / Reddit
7. They avoid discussing the salary and try not to give you any specific numbers.
It is important that a future employer not only asks prepared questions but is also ready for a discussion. If he or she stops any kind of an unplanned conversation, it will be really hard to work with them. And if they avoid talking about the salary, it’s really bad. If they say something like, “good income,” “great salary,” and don’t give you numbers, get out of there.
- I was being interviewed for a writer job at an ad agency. The employer was giving me a long speech about how great the job was and didn’t even touch on the salary. And then he said, “It’s $5 for PoC.” I asked him what it meant and I was shocked when I heard the answer. It turned out that PoC stood for “piece of content” and it could vary depending on what he would call PoC. When I asked for more details, he said, “Don’t worry, there are never more than 10 promotional articles in one PoC.”
8. They can’t create a comfortable working environment.
Experts don’t recommend taking a job if you haven’t visited the company office. Dirty workplaces, the unhappy faces of other workers, and posters with aggressive warnings mean that the place won’t feel nice to be in.
- I once went to interview for a sales position. Aside from the interviewer being 30 minutes late, it did allow me to sit and observe the situation. I realized pretty quickly that this was not going to be the place for me. It was very quiet, except for a handful of people on the phones cold calling. There were many reps trying to push for contacts on the other end, and it was just painful to listen to. And when they’d hang up, there wasn’t really any interaction between co-workers. Just quiet, and then another call. It all seemed very tense. I noped out of there real quick after the 5 minutes the interview took. Dodged a bullet. I had interviewed for a call center job at another place that was a complete 180 from that. Yes, it’s a call center job so it is what it is, but there was laughter on the floor, people talking to floor managers, just a completely different vibe that was more inviting. © ZolaMonster / Reddit
If no one decorates their desk, it means that either they don’t get their own desk, no one has time for any interests outside of work, or the culture is stuffy and no fun. © pinkiedash417 / Reddit
I once used the bathroom before the job interview. There was a printed notice from management that employees would have to bring their own toilet paper because management was tired of having to buy so much because of people overusing it. What is that?! © Raidertck / Reddit
9. They lie about the working conditions.
Another red flag is when expectations and reality don’t match whatsoever. For example, the company website has photos of a modern office but in fact, the offices have bad lights and terrible equipment. Or the description says it’s downtown but the job interview is god knows how far away.
- I was being interviewed for a job at a private school. The principal was describing how cool it would be, but she never showed me the place because it was “under reconstruction.” I had to trust her: I was supposed to have my own personal locker and an office.
On opening day, it turned out that only the principal had her own personal office, but everyone else was supposed to leave their stuff in a cabinet.
10. They make you spend your own money.
Employers that ask you to pay for your own materials, documents, and key cards are often frauds. Also, there are people that offer to pay for a course to get a job. You don’t have to pay for the uniform: they are supposed to give it to you.
- I had a job where the whole uniform cost $125 and they took it out of your check in installments saying they’d give it back to you when you quit as long as everything was returned. I was only there 3 months, brought everything back, and got no money back. © BOBALL00 / Reddit
11. They lure candidates with attractive but vague metaphors.
A good employer gives candidates specifics: what they do, how much they will earn, and what the rules of the office are. A bad one will give you metaphors and abstract words that could mean anything.
“We’re a family!” Translation: “We will constantly make you do stuff outside your job description. We will call you on your days off. We will accidentally lose any overtime records. We will yell at you. We will try to buy your affection with pizza lunch days. We will succeed because your morale will be obliterated.” © Jes**_Feminist / Reddit
“We work hard and we play hard.” Translation: “You will work 60+ hours a week. You will be expected to work late nights and early mornings. People will treat this job like their whole life. We’ll also underpay you. It may look like a decent salary but when you back it out to hourly it’s not even remotely competitive with the industry standard. But we have kegs and a ping pong table.” © StaffordComeback / Reddit
“We have a very special work culture here, it takes special people to thrive.” Not always, but often means that the workplace is pressured with unreasonable demands heaped on staff and a kind of nasty employee-blaming mindset when things don’t work out. © Hermanjnr / Reddit
12. They are willing to hire you right away.
Big companies always double-check the information about their candidates. If an employer is ready to hire a person without an interview, this is really suspicious.
The phrases like, “How soon are you able to start working” probably means that they are desperate because nobody wants to work for them. There’s no way that this place can offer you good conditions and prospects.
Unfortunately, this can be a red flag if they really want you, or are eager for you to “start as soon as possible.” It seems strange and it sucks because the feeling of being wanted is nice. But I jumped on a job once and it felt great because they “really wanted me” and it was a manager job. Turns out yeah, they were desperate because no one else wanted to do the job. Wasn’t an AWFUL job, but yeah not a great company overall. © zen33824 / Reddit
Have you ever realized during a job interview that you were not going to take that job? What are your telltale signs of bad employers?