As flattering as it may seem to have someone jump at the chance to hire you, it can actually be a warning sign that something is flawed about the opportunity. The employer may not have thought about the position enough. Or the job may be a cattle call – a low-level position in which employers are just looking to stuff bodies into the company. Or they may be panicking from a rush that will soon leave them overstaffed once business has leveled off again.
Fortunately for job seekers, there are clear and definite signals of such desperation. Here are some of the most common warning signs of a company that’s in too big of a hurry to hire.
Same job ad month after month – cattle call
If you’ve been in the job search world for more than a few months, you may have seen what appears to be some of the same ads over and over again. Typically these repeaters will speak in glowing terms about a terrific opportunity with unlimited income possibilities, free travel, work-at-home potential, or other amazing perks. Well, like so many other things, what seems too good to be true probably is. And the results they tout, if possible at all, are probably far from typical – likely they’re gained only by the top .001% of the people in the company. Beware of these cattle-call types. Often they’re just looking to stuff bodies into the mix. Yeah, there might be a real opportunity there. But more likely you’re just going to be one of the herd.
Same job ad reappears soon after going away
Another warning sign is those ads for companies that always seem to be hiring. These are the ones where you see an ad for a position, and then the ad goes away, only to be brought back weeks or months later. This can be a clue that the company is having trouble holding onto people. Now, don’t get me wrong. It can also be a clue that they’re a large company and/or they’re undergoing massive growth — a potentially good sort of desperation. For instance, there’s a major educational publisher in my area that’s quite literally always looking for editors. Sure, they may be a sweat shop that cooks and discards editors quickly. But more likely it’s because they’re one of the largest companies in their field and they keep buying up other ones. You just can’t say for sure. So take this clue as just that – a hint regarding what could be a worst-case scenario.
They don’t ask much specifically about your experience
Another hint that you’re on the wrong end of a desperation play is when you’re in the interview and they don’t really ask you very many questions specifically about your experience. They seem to have their mind made up by the fact that you showed up. And, while that might be flattering, it probably doesn’t bode well for how they’re going to value your unique skills, talent, and training once they hire you.
You’re offered the job on the spot
Finally, perhaps the ultimate clue of desperation is if the employer wants to hire you right on the spot, or within a day. Again, it might feel good for a moment to be so desirable that they jump at the chance to have you. But that sweet sensation will probably be short lived. Companies that plan well, act responsibly, and have their act together don’t generally make snap decisions like that. Again, this clue isn’t an absolute – you may actually be that desirable of a candidate. But more likely, there are messy things afoot that you don’t want be swirled into.