New Job Warning Signs: 5 Indicators a New Job Isn’t Going to Work Out

There are likely hundreds of new job warning signs that each of us have learned throughout the years. After all, even those who lack work experience get that feeling in their gut that something just isn’t right in the first few days on a job. Unfortunately, things like a need for money and a lack of desire to keep pounding the pavement often makes people ignore those early warning signs.

Even if you think it’s just not worth going another day without having a job, the following 5 new job warning signs should be clear indicators you should run out the door and keep looking:

New job warning signs to get out fast!

1. You show up and nobody knows who you are or why you’re there.

In most, but not all cases, most team members should know your name before you even walk through the door. The hiring of a new talent is something that’s done with pride, especially in a small business or startup. You shouldn’t have to walk here, there and everywhere looking for the person who is supposed to train you, or a representative to get you situated at your workstation.

This kind of unprofessionalism should be viewed as a big warning sign of things to come. They likely either don’t care, or management has their head up their butt and doesn’t know which end is which. Move on and spend a little more time looking.

2. You immediately notice signs of bickering and infighting.

Nobody is going to tell you during the interview that the founder or management team hate each other, or that the office is full of catty gossip and people are at each other’s throats. These are the thing we tend to see in the first few full days on the job. Maybe everyone is told, or feels obliged to play it nice the first day or three, but the cracks will start to show quickly.

In this instance, you’re far further ahead to move on and find a more pleasant work environment to spend your days in. When you let your judgement slide, because you “need the job” you subtly send a message to your brain that it’s okay, and the bad apples at such a job will suck you into their drama, making you one of them sooner rather than later. Negativity breeds!

3. Changes to agreed-upon hiring terms.

When it comes to the first day and it’s time to fill out all the necessary paperwork to get hired, check over every word very carefully scanning for changes to your job title, wages, benefit package, schedule, and work description. Despite whatever excellent benefits a job might offer, it’s unacceptable to change any of the agreed upon hiring terms without consulting you first. This can be a point of no return of sorts, and it’s best to hash things out quick and make a gut decision as to whether you want to get in bed with these people or not, as trust is the only thing you can rely on at this point.

Subtly ask the manager why they’ve made the change to your agreement — even subtly as in “I think you’ve made a mistake in this section…” It doesn’t have to be confrontational, but listen to what comes next and try to read their face and posture to see if any signs of deception are present. You may get a genuine show of embarrassment at the mistake, or the manager will make it clear whatever terms or agreements were changed were done so on purpose after you agreed to take the job. If so, get outta there!

new job warning signs you shouldn't ignore
Image Credit: Ryan Leong/Flickr

4. The company isn’t as squeaky clean as they say.

Giovanni Ribisi’s character in the movie Boiler Room could have saved himself a lot of torture had he read the warning signs on the wall before the FBI came knocking on his door looking for juice on his stock market pump-and-dump employer, J.T. Marlin. Alas, you’re not living and working in a fictional movie-land, in real life we don’t want to work for companies that have high turnover rates, or who’re currently embroiled in multiple lawsuits and investigations.

High turnover rates should be a given in any new hire’s mind. If they can’t hold on to good people, they probably can’t hold on to you either. In some industries, a high rate of lawsuits and investigations might be completely commonplace (such as work at a medical practise or pharmaceutical company) but in most they’re not. Likelihood is that you don’t need whatever aggravation this company can bring into your life.

5. The hiring manager promises quick advancement, but nobody in the company has went anywhere (but down or sideways) since they were hired.

You’ll find out very quickly just what kind of place you’re looking to work in after talking to an employee or three. Unhappiness has a way of breeding even more unhappiness and you’re likely to find more than a few who have no problem telling you of how they were sucked in by those same promises of advancement you were, only be saddled with more responsibility for the same pay, in the same position.

If it’s immediately obvious that this is a dead end road going nowhere, get out before you get stuck in the same predicament you find everyone else in the company to be in. That is, unless you’re dealing with an early-stage startup, in which case you’ll want to check for these other warning signs and go from there.

Quick Question:

Have you ever began working for a company and ignored any of these (or other) warning signs, ignoring them despite the feeling in your gut? Please share your story in the comments.

Main Image Credit: Fitz Gerard Villafuerte/Flickr