Warning Signs During the Hiring Process
Weird hiring practices abound, especially among tech companies. When a company grows quickly and doesn't have a great HR department, all sorts of things can happen that seem decidedly odd. I've heard of job interviews held late at night in bars, offer letters extended before the interview is complete, and plenty of other stories that should make you pause.
These unusual approaches to hiring don't necessarily mean that there's an underlying culture issue, though they should make any applicant pause and consider whether there's anything deeper going on. However, there are quite a few clearer warning signs that you may see during a job search that do signal something deeper is going on.
- If you're being hired in a secretive fashion: Your future manager doesn't want the team you're joining to know you exist before you start work? Someone's probably getting axed unexpectedly, which doesn't bode well for your long-term prospects.
- If the interview is too short or too easy: Desperation to fill a position tends to be a bad sign. Of course, you may just be a perfect fit for a company, but you need to make sure that's actually the case.
- If the interview process is incredibly long and complex: I know I just said that a short interview process is bad, but too long a process is also a warning sign. If there's a huge amount of bureaucracy involved in getting hired at a company, imagine what it will be like to work there.
- If you have to complete work for free to land the job: Asking for free work means that your prospective employer doesn't value your time now. That's not likely to change once you sign an offer letter.
- If you're pressured to accept the offer immediately: Taking a new job shouldn't be a decision you make lightly. A prospective employer needs to respect that and give you at least a little time to think.
- If there are any differences between what you're offered verbally and what you read in your offer letter: Even if the difference reflects an honest mistake, this sort of issue can be a signal that a company isn't prepared to do right by its employees.
Just relying on the information that you can pick up from interacting with recruiters and hiring managers isn't enough, though. Dig deeper before committing yourself to a new company—some of the warning signs you need might not be this obvious.