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Aug 29, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Looking for a new job has a lot of emotions behind it. Depending on your current situation, it can have a whole different set of emotions attached to it. If you are currently unemployed, your search probably has a bit more urgency tied to it. You know, that whole keeping your electricity on in the summer with AC is important, and you need money to do that. If you have a job, but you’re miserable because your boss makes The Devil Wears Prada boss look like a choir boy, you probably are itching to just get outta there. Or maybe you’re in just an okay situation, employed but not challenged or excited about what you’re doing so you start perusing job sites online. No matter what your situation, your perspective can easily be skewed in the review process as you are searching for your next role. Let me help you make sure you’re not sold a lemon.


The “Too Good to Be True” Role

There are some fantastic recruiters out there. They care deeply about representing their company accurately, ethically, and authentically. And then there are the sleazeballs. I hate that there are so many, but I’m not going to lie and tell you that we’re all good people with good values. Some are just pure salespeople. Their pay depends on filling a job and dollars for some reason trump ethics with these goons. They will tell you absolutely everything you want to hear; you’re going to move into management quickly, you’ll get reviews and pay raises that are yacht purchasing level, the boss is an AWESOME person who will love you and care about your personal life outside of work, and finally, the company is growing and growing fast. You interview, you love them, they seem legit, you get the job. Hooray! Then you start and all the chocolate chip cookies you were given turn out to be oatmeal raisin. Gasp.

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The “We’re in a transitional phase” Role

You hear all the right things when you’re talking to the manager for this role, I need to make some changes, and you could be my game-changer. Dear me let me squash my ego down a bit. I am in fact a game-changer thank you for noticing. Many times, unfortunately, this pitch is code for “our team and company are a real mess and it’ll probably still be a mess even if we hire you.” But it sounds awesome, right? Me? The game-changer!

The “High Payment Holy Cow I’m Rich” Role

You found a posting for a job you know you can crush. You apply. You interview. They call to offer you that job and be still my heart they offer about $25,000 over market rate and even a signing bonus and incentive plan. I’M RICH. When do I start because I’m going to buy that motorcycle I’ve wanted since I was ten.

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The reality is there are a million dirty jobs out there that anyone can make sound enticing to you. If you’re desperate to get a new role for any reason, they know you’re an easy sell. So how do you make sure you’re not getting punked because Ashton Kutcher isn’t going to jump out from behind a curtain a month after you’re in this new terrible position.

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  1. The internet is an amazing tool. Use it. Don’t be a fool and just jump on board before you do your own “interview of the company. Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and honestly just Googling the company name, can provide some shocking insight as to whether or not you’re being sold a car with an engine that’ll explode three days after you drive it home.
  2. Network, network, network. The best way to find out what really is happening is to talk to people working there. If a company gets scared of this chances are they’re hiding something. LinkedIn can give you immediate access to people working in the company, on the team, and working for the person you will report to. Use that access to information and reach out to them to ask questions about things that are important to you.
  3. Don’t let your gut turn into a beer belly. Ever heard the saying “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is”? Well, don’t shoosh your gut. Feel like something is wrong? Do your due diligence. If you can’t find the answer to confirm or deny the feeling your gut has, listen to it. Some companies, teams, managers change, but some don’t. See number above.
  4. Ask for some cross-functional peer meetings before your final interview. So let’s say you want to know if the people you will be working with side-by-side are the people you can see your career progressing with and not making your life miserable, ask to meet one or two cross-team peers to this role.
  5. Know what questions you want to ask and what answers you want to hear. If you walk in hoping to just “wing it” in an interview with your questions to them, you’re crazy and probably don’t deserve the job anyway. Go home. But, if you are a grown up with talent, you need to go in armed with the things you know are important to you and know the questions to ask, really ask, that will detail whether that exists in this role and organization.

Finally, don’t show all your cards. If you’re excited about the role, make sure you’re not all “I HAVE to buy this car today” to your salesman on the lot. A company needs talent to thrive and grow. You want to show your interest but you don’t want them to think they have you wrapped around their finger and can offer you squat pay to get you onboard. If you’re unemployed currently this part is ESPECIALLY important. Do not accept a low ball just because you need a paycheck. There are a few really good ways to make ends meet if you’ve found yourself currently unemployed that will buy you time to really find the right next move for yourself.

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Trust your friendly recruiting and culture professional, when in doubt, back out. If you feel good after all of your due diligence, say YES to the job and good luck!

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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