Recognizing the Signs of a Bad Job Offer

Recognizing the Signs of a Bad Job Offer
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10. Too Good To Be True

Everyone is aware of that age-old saying, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is,” and it goes for jobs, too! If an employer seems all too eager to meet your demands, he might be unwilling or unable to fulfill promises, or there may be a catch. Examine all contracts handed to you very carefully, and check to make sure that your employer is reputable if at all possible. This could potentially save you a lot of trouble later on down the line!

09. Sketchy Details

If the person offering you a job but seems to provide too little information or incredibly vague information–about your potential salary or wages, the term of your employment, or the specifics of your job–this is a big warning sign! If you notice that your potential employer is dodging your questions and being stingy with all sorts of information, think about looking elsewhere. Employers should aim to be as open as possible with potential employees for both parties’ sakes!

08. Unwilling to Work Under Contract/Put It In Writing

If you’re a freelance worker, this is especially important, so pay attention! This is a chance for you to learn from the mistakes of many a freelance worker, myself included. If a potential client or employer is unwilling to work under contract, this is the time to turn and walk away. A contract legally binds both you and the person you’re providing a service to, and it protects either parties from the other one’s backing out or skipping on the bill. For those signing on to work with a company, you should make sure your employer gives you the job offer in writing. It should detail important factors such as your salary (or wages), your job title, what is expected of you, and any special requirements relating to your job. Without this, your employer can promise you one thing (such as a higher salary) but provide you with another entirely.

07. Urealistic Expectations

No one ever said that you can’t have high expectations, but when you get interviewed by a potential client or employer who seems to have completely unrealistic expectations, you need to think twice about accepting the job offer. Generally when an employer has unreachable goals, he is quick to chastise you for falling short of his expectations. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to meet–and exceed–a potential employer’s or client’s high expectations; it just means that you should be cautious whenever it comes to working for someone who seems to have expectations set dangerously high.

06. Passive Attitude

Beware the employer or client who is too lax, however. Employers with passive attitudes often give employees little to go on and don’t offer helpful critique when needed. It’s important for a leader to possess leadership skills, and a client to be vocal about what he or she may want from a project. Remember, you don’t want to work for someone who is ultimately unhappy about your work because he was too quiet in the first place.

05. Over Eager

While it’s possible to be too passive, it’s also possible to be too eager about something as well. Employers and clients that seem too over eager should be avoided if they seem like the type to take on a lot and then easily get overwhelmed. A positive attitude goes a long way, but some people are known for biting off quite a bit more than they (and potentially you) can chew! If you feel like the person you’re about to work with might be a bit flighty, you might want to step back and weigh your options for a bit. After all, no one wants to start a project only to realize that it will never be finished!

04. Unprofessional Mannerisms


If you have experience in people watching, or experience with _un_professionals in the workplace, you already know what I’m about to talk about. Beware the boss or potential client who comes off as very unprofessional, as these people are often quick to abandon projects, go out of their way to make others feel uncomfortable, and usually have bad tempers in spades. Jobs can be stressful enough; you don’t need to be working for someone who is only going to stoke the fire!

03. Taking Too Long

If you notice that the process of getting interviews or being hired seems unreasonably long, you might want to keep looking. This is especially important if you feel like your potential employer is making you jump through hoops. You might have to deal with a little competition for your job, but spending too much time chasing a job that might never become yours is dangerous, so know when to step back and hit the job market again.

02. Under Pressure

If you’ve been offered a job, most employers should give you a few days to let you think things through. If your employer pressures you to accept on the spot, you might be at risk of accepting a bad job offer. Does he generally seem pushy, and will this set a precedent to being forced into working long days? Is he rushing you into the job because they’re trying to underpay you? Is he desperate to fill the slot of a vacant job? Make sure that you take the time you need to decide, but be realistic about it. Ask for a day or two, and if he is unwilling to give it, go with your gut. Just remember, this could be a life-changing decision you’re making, and it should be handled as such!

01. You Feel Like You’re Settling


While this might actually not be the employer’s fault at all, feeling like you’re settling for less than you’re worth or doing something that you really don’t want to do isn’t going to do you any favors. Sure, you don’t want to be too picky; not everyone can get a six-figure job right off the bat. However, if you find yourself feeling like this job isn’t something you’re going to want to stick with, you might want to take the time to evaluate why you’re settling. If it isn’t completely necessary, and you know you could likely find a job elsewhere that would better suit you, jump back into the job market.

Resources & Image Credits


U.S. Department of Labor

Image Credits:

Playing the Bad Boy by Mouton Rebelle

Frustration (was: threesixtyfive | day 244) by Sybren Stüvel

Frustration by Andrew Mccluskey