I believe continuing to choose the company you are working with, or going to work for, is vital in your development, growth and success in life.

I have therefore listed below what I believe to be some of the top signals to look out for when deciding who you are going to work with/for.

  1. The company reputation is negative

The easiest way of checking reputation is to check online, but far more importantly direct with customers and also colleagues (past and present via LinkedIn) — it’s never been easier and quicker!

Like anything there will always be one that is an amazing review and another that is the complete opposite, so I would suggest researching several and pay attention to any potential trends and patterns.

This can be a very telling exercise, and could potentially save you a lot of time in the long term — so, do your due diligence.

2. Your don’t have a job spec

If you have not been given a job description, or the one you have is unclear, I highly recommend that you address this with you line manager immediately, or run in the other direction!

You simply cannot accept a position without a clear description on your responsibilities and expectations. Not only can this damage your job progression, but it could also damage your reputation.

Remember, before joining any company you should have a very clear idea of:

  • Your employers expectations of you
  • Your expectations of your employer
  • How your progression will be measured

3. You spot unprofessionalism

Professionalism is a very broad word… it can mean anything from the attire somebody is wearing, their attitude during a meeting to their opinion of others.

If you are in an interview and the interviewer is being disrespectful about somebody else, take note. If you are having a conversation with somebody and they play with their phone during the conversation, take note. If you turn up to an interview and they are inappropriately dressed, take note. All of these have one thing in common… unprofessionalism.

Seriously, if they can’t take interviews, conversations or meetings seriously, then what will they take seriously?

4. High departmental turnover

If you notice a trend of high turnover within the company, take it as a sign. (All very accessible via LinkedIn)

Ask questions around why people are leaving (send messages via LinkedIn and ask opinions and feedback). The answers and reactions will be equally telling to the high turnover.

When you work with people, ask them how long they have been at the company, and how they are finding it etc. as this will be another red or green flag for your decision.

5. The office environment is flat

If you do not feel a buzz in your office it is normally due to a “management” problem. Be sure, when starting in a new company, to analyse the best environments vs. the worst.

Bad environments often signal bad company cultures, negative employee attitudes and a lack of staff interactions.

If the office environment is bad or has an air of awkwardness re-think your move as you won’t want to spend 8 hours a day in poor environments… its demoralising and demotivating!

6. Lack of leadership

Whether the lack of leadership is from your direct line manager or the overall company management, it is the most damaging aspect of any career.

I have spoken about this many times in my other blogs such as “How to bring the best out of your team by leadership” and “The 5 most important reasons why leadership is vital”, so take a read to better understand the importance of leadership.

7. Process confusion

Are you confused about the company processes? This is a key indication as to whether the company takes certain areas of the business seriously. For example, if you are a sales company and the administration processes are weak, but your sales guys have full attention, it indicates that the management have not created the right culture for back office, client service and the overall client proposition.

Learn and take note on the structures and processes of each department and how things integrate with each other. Well defined processes and procedures are key to a company’s growth and success.

8. Poor Communication

Communication is key for all relationships. If there is a lack of communication, it demonstrates a massive lack of interest.

Communication can be from setting up an initial introduction meeting and not hearing from somebody for days on end or even having meeting minutes shared with you or your team.

Transparency provides trust and is extremely welcomed by each employee.

If I had to name one deal breaker for me, it’s the lack of communication.

9. Missed pay-runs

Errors in pay-runs are always disappointing and can create unnecessary worry and concern. However, an error that happens more than once is unacceptable and cannot be justified.

Full time employment is often the main stream of income, therefore if this contains errors it can cause major issues with regards to mortgage/rent payments, etc. Employers must take this seriously, and demonstrate strong processes are in place.

The same can be said around commissions, bonuses and annual increases to salary. Companies that do not take this seriously, and to some degree try to withhold what is due, shows disrespect to their staff.

10. Empty promises

Have you ever been promised something at interview stage and then when you start it doesn’t happen, or you aren’t given what you were promised? This is called a physiological contract.

Employers can be so desperate to recruit, that they overpromise and underdeliver, and this is simply unacceptable.

Do not settle for a company that find making promises very easy and keeping promises so difficult. To avoid this from happening and causing issues, get into the habit of requesting everything in writing prior to starting.

So that’s my top 10 tips to look out for when deciding on the company you are going to work for or even staying at. Use them wisely and remember an interview process is for both parties to decide if they can work together.

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Blog published by Mike Coady.