I moved to New York in search of fame and fortune … just kidding.
In all honesty, I moved to the Big Apple unemployed and in search of an entry-level position—but I’m one of the many casualties of the economic downturn.
It didn’t help that my strategy for landing a full-time job was anything but, well, thought out.
To date, I’ve applied for dozens of jobs—many of which were far from my dream position. In today’s economy, you can’t be too picky, but sometimes the gig just isn’t right. In fact, I’ve learned that it’s probably in your best interest to pass on a position if the company does any of the following …
1. Information about the organization isn’t widely available or any info you find presents the company in a bad light.
It’s easy to write off a negative review and consider it a random act of a scorned employee. I thought this was the case when I interviewed for a position at a boutique PR firm. The company’s website was under construction, and the first result to appear in a Google search was a review from a former freelance employee who claimed that the “insane” boss still owed her $50 for her services. Beyond that, there was almost no information available about the firm, and the rarely updated Facebook and Twitter pages had few followers and lots of spam.
Still, who am I to say no to an interview?
During said interview, the owner handed me an in-depth explanation of what my job duties would be, including a page of guidelines on answering the phone. For example, if a certain company should call asking for the owner, I was to say that she was unavailable. Why? These things known as “collections agencies” had been “calling for months.”
Your Takeaway: One negative review shouldn’t dictate whether or not you accept a job. However, if reviews are consistently negative, the more likely it is that they are true, says Abby Kohut, author of Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets: A Corporate Recruiter Hands You The Keys To Your Job Search Success. Kohut advises applicants to read press releases and news stories for reliable insight. Questions to ask yourself: Has the company ever been the subject of controversy? Did the organization ever have to defend their actions?
A company with no industry presence, explains Michael Woodward, author of The YOU Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy, is even more worrisome. If the organization claims to have, for example, “45 years of experience,” industry leaders and trade publications should recognize its accomplishments. If the company hasn’t made a name for itself, then its credibility is questionable.
2. The prospective employer doesn’t give you the attention, time, or respect that you deserve.
Have you ever walked into a place and felt like a complete nuisance? I interviewed with another PR firm and it got off to a rocky start: My original interviewer was too busy, so someone else stepped in—and was completely unprepared. Soon after the interview was underway, another employee interrupted, and both women left the room. When it was time for the CFO to speak to me, he waltzed in, virtually ignored my handshake, glanced at my resume and told me that I was not a fit for the position.
Your Takeaway: The hiring process is an expensive endeavor, so prospective employers shouldn’t be frugal with their time. If they are, Woodward says, it’s highly probable that they frequently make hiring mistakes, have an inconsistent company culture and experience a high turnover rate.