There’s no doubt about it – it’s hard out there for a job seeker. Companies aren’t hiring as much as they used to and some aren’t hiring at all, which all boils down to fewer opportunities for the unemployed masses. But that doesn’t mean that you should take the first job offered to you out of desperation. Take it from me, it’s far worse to be stuck in a crappy job for months on end than to have waited a few weeks for the right opportunity to come along. So if you’ve been offered a job or are on the hunt, here are five signs that you should keep on looking.
1) The job you were offered pays less than your previous job.
Taking a small pay cut might be understandable if you’re changing professions or want a specific opportunity to learn a skill that will earn you more money in the long run. But if you’re simply looking for a new job to replace the old one, be sure it pays what you are worth. Even if times are tough and any money seems like good money, remember it will be difficult in the long run to adjust to living under a lesser income. Also, decreasing your rate now can have a permanent effect, making it more difficult to get the money you deserve when you start looking again.
2) Your new job offers fewer hours.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a 35-hour work week like the French, where you’re penalized for working overtime? Well if time is more important to you than money, trimming your hours back may be a big plus. But don’t jump from working full time to working half time just because it’s the first job you found. Job hunting can be a full-time gig, so it’s better to focus on finding the right job than to be distracted by the trials and tribulations of a new office.
3) The environment doesn’t seem like a good fit.
It can be really tough to get a sense of a company in the interview process, but you should always listen to that little voice in your head telling you that something seems off. If the office seems button up and you’re dress down, or you’re a night owl and they expect you to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by 6 a.m., consider the impact this will have on your quality of life. Companies, like friends, have different personalities, and you just need to find one with whom you can get along.
4) The job description and the job don’t match.
Remember that psychology class you took in college because it sounded so interesting in the course catalog? You thought you were going to learn how to hypnotize people but you were the one hypnotized by the boredom of it all. Remember that when reading a job description in the newspaper or on a company website. They’re written to look impressive and to scare off the uncommitted and unqualified. Realize that the first two or three items on the “general responsibilities” list will be your daily tasks, and the rest is eye candy. The interview is the best time to assess whether the job you applied for is the same job they’re offering. If you applied to be a chef at a major metropolitan restaurant and they’re a greasy spoon looking for a burger flipper, walk away and don’t look back.
5) The company is a little too eager to hire you.
As Groucho Marx used to say, “I wouldn’t want to be part of any club that would have me as a member,” and you might not want to be, either. Sure, it’s nice to be wanted. And a company, confident in you as the best person to fit the position should be excited to hire you. But if you’re being offered the job on your cell phone before you even get home from the interview, you should definitely ask yourself why. Maybe nobody else wanted that job, and maybe there’s a reason. Likewise, if you have to go on four interviews, provide 15 references and promise your first-born child for a job that seems pretty straightforward, start questioning the employer’s motives.
It’s not easy to find a job in this economy and it’s never easy to find the perfect job. But don’t get stuck in a job you hate because you didn’t trust your gut. First impressions are important. The purpose of an interview is for the company to evaluate you and for you to evaluate the company. If it’s not right, feel good that you were offered the position, politely turn them down and keep searching.