Job-seekers have issues to keep them up a right. They worry that the beautifully crafted cover letters they are sending off will not be read and that plum jobs will go to less deserving candidates. They worry that their resumes do not showcase their shining accomplishments well enough to command the six-figure offers they are hoping for. If they are job hunting while working, they worry that a stray comment be a hiring manager or human resources screener to the wrong person will make its way back to their own boss.
These are all reasonable worries. However, there is something else they should be worried about-that they will tumble into vortex and accept a job they should have scorned. What is vortex? It is the set of forces that overtakes a job-seeker when he or she is deep into the selection process and when the employer begins to send signals that he or she is interested.
The vortex is deadly because in the face of all that approval and positive feedback, it is easy to overlook slights and red flags that should warn us away from dangerous waters. It is easy to get sucked into the vortex and let our brains override what our instincts are telling us – that no matter how much winning and dining and affirmation is involved some companies do not deserve our talents.
If we end up taking a job because of the vortex effects, we will regret it. So, here is a list of six reasons to run from a job opportunity.
1. Your employment references are requested before a strong mutual interest is established.
Any employer who values a job candidate also values his or her time and relationships. When a headhunter or company recruiter tells references too early in the game, they are sending a signal that the valuable time of your reference-givers is not nearly as valuable as the time that the company would waste in interviewing you before checking up on you. Your cue to bail.
2. The employer asks for your approval for a credit or background check before strong mutual interest is established.
When a company says,” We need to check on you before we can spare the time to talk with you”, it is time to dodge. A talent-focused employer will at least call you for a phone interview before bothering you for personal information that they will not require if they do not make you a job offer.
3. You are sent a questionnaire (not a job application) or online test to complete before you have had any human contact with the employer.
When a company makes its selection process more efficient by shoving tests in your face before even chatting with you, they are sharing their views on reciprocity. “Prove that you are worth our time” is not the message that a talent-aware employer sends to the talented people applying to use their talents on their behalf.
4. Unreasonable or short notice to travel for interview
Many a job-seeker are excited that a company is flying them to another city the very next day without stopping to think, “Wait a second, they didn’t ask me whether it was convenient for me.” One candidate was pressured to fly to the company’s headquarters on his wife’s birthday. He was told,” If this isn’t a priority for you, you aren’t a priority for us.” He wanted for an hour or two before telling them,” If my personal life and important relationships aren’t important to you, I don’t want to work for you.”
5. You are told you cannot meet the team, or see the employee handbook before an offer is extended.
This is a big, neon red flag that plenty of job-seekers miss in the swirling colors of the vortex. You need to meet your co-workers, Period. You need to see the employee handbook, which you will be expected to adhere to during your tenure with the company and which will govern your working relationship. Ask yourself,” Why wouldn’t they? What are they afraid off?”
6. All communications is funneled through the HR rep or the headhunter.
It makes sense to have an HR or third-party recruiter handling communication with a candidate over ‘mechanical’ issues. But if you are really interested in a job and have a question for your prospective manager, the manager absolutely needs to take that call. If you cannot get the manager’s attention now, what makes you think you will be able to when you work there?
Leave any of these six scary vortex situations behind and do not look back. You have a lot to offer, and if an employer cannot see it as the selection process unfolds, rest assured that your talents are better elsewhere.