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Employer Insight

Update 04/22/2017


    Arrogance of Failure to Discuss
           There is a line between someone with confidence and arrogance.  There is a
           general feeling that those who will share errors and mistakes with others has
           a sense of humility as their "lessons learned" increases the likelihood of the
           candidate being more coachable, collaborative and comfortable with making
           mistakes or taking risks, and being able to provide feedback better than others
           who do not.

    Bad Feelings
           Sometimes we need to listen to our instincts that tell you a position here is not
           what you were seeking or want any part of.  While it is possible these problems
           can be corrected, the existing so many problems suggest no leadership or good
           management which can ultimately kill a company.  Should you accept the such a
           position, the emotional strain spending your time in chaos and disorder while
           trying to meet assigned objectives can keep you up all night and wear you out.
    Bad Vibes
           Sometimes you walk into a company and start getting a funny feeling like things
           are just not right.  Perhaps it is your manager doing something very different.
           If you are interviewing, it may be the hiring manager is consuming the entire
           interview talking about how great the company is.  Also watch out for signs the
           people or company is being evasive in their answers, interrupting what you were
           saying or being abrupt or dismissive with other employees.  Is this the type of
           work environment you want to be part of?

    Bashes former Employers/Managers
           Look for respect when the Candidate discussed their former or current employer.
           This does not necessarily mean a sign of like but a show of some loyalty and
           discretion.  Some employers require a Non-Disclosure Agreement from departing
           employees to receive separation benefits which prohibit any discussion that may
           be seen as negative in any manner about the company including disclosure of
           any activities or figures.
           Salary is normally a final item of discussion for any candidate being considered
           for an offer.  Part of this reason is to fully assess, to the extent possible, the
           value the individual will bring to the company.  What is desired to see early is the
           interest and passion for the job, enjoys helping others develop and progress.
           Candidates who start these discussions early may be viewed as only caring about
           compensation and seeing the company as a stepping-stone to their next raise.
    Coordination Chaos
           When a meeting with them has to be rescheduled multiple times, you must ask
           yourself what is wrong with this picture.  If calls are not returned day after day or
           people are more than 30 minutes late to any meeting, this raises the concern of
           systematic chaos.  While it is not necessarily fatal, it does create an environment
           challenging to meet goals or deadlines, to get approvals or concurrence, to
           coordinate activities and events.  Look for company documents that are not
           meeting normal standards such as containing typographical or grammatical
           errors, websites below most conventions, brochures that should be destroyed,
           and other indications or a broad systematic problem within the company.
    Defects: Typos, Grammar, Lies on Resume
           Studies have shown 58% of Resume still contain typos of some form despite
           efforts to find and correct the as well as poor grammar.  Others areas that
           employers have found were salary inflations (40%), modification of job titles
           (30%) and adjustment of employment dates (30%).
           [Figures are from outside of the United States.]
    Employee Turnover
            1.  Ideally, through networking with a trusted source, ask about the turnover
                 rate for that company.  Ideally, talk to a former employee.  A higher than
                 normal turnover rate suggests a number of potential problems:
                  1.  sense of economic downturn and people are bailing when they can
                  2.  sense of the sale of the company which often includes layoffs
                  3.  management is too demanding in their expectations
                  4.  salary freeze or cuts are expected or were announced
                  5.  benefits reductions and/or higher premiums were announced or rumored
                  6.  some benefits are expected to be cancelled
                  7.  new company policies are expected adding more pressure on workers
                  8.  the office may be moving a great distance making commutes horrible
                  9.  Agents from the FBI, SEC or other government agents are there daily
                10.  C-level officers are rumored to have left the country
                11.  Reduction in holidays, paid vacation, etc.
                12.  Increase in standard working hours for salaried employees
                13.  Paychecks are taking longer to receive

                 The lack of a Job Description is a RED FLAG.

    Hurry to Hire
            1.  Companies in a hurry to get people on the payroll are often in trouble.
                 If an interview is cut short and an offer made, be suspicious.  Were you the
                 only person being considered?  Was the decision made to hire you before
                 traveled to the interview?  Why is a fast pace being used for a slow careful
                 and thoughtful process?

                 Several possibilities exist:
                    1.  They do not have enough people to meet a contract staffing level
                    2.  They have urgent work and need people NOW
                    3.  Other possibilities

             View these are potential Red Flags.  It could you were viewed as the most
             incredible candidate they ever had, but show the pace down, take some time
             to consider it (2 business days is normally agreeable) and do not sign anything
             until you have made a decision.

    Inappropriate Questions
            1.  Candidate questions reveal much about them.  Asking questions regarding
                 expectations and evaluations demonstrates a commitment to the company
                 interests and intentions for success.  It also reflects enthusiasm for being
                 part of the team.  Questions regarding benefits to them are deemed as 
                 reservations about the fit for the candidate, such as vacation and holiday
    Insight and/or Accountability
            1.  Negative questions to the Candidate are used such as "Give me an example
                 of a mistake or bad decision you made in your career."  The candidate should
                 discuss their ability to be introspective, honest, analytical, self-critical and
                 accept ownership of the mistake.  Any Candidate who is unwilling to claim a
                 mistake is hard to judge on how they would deal with setbacks or other
                 unwanted situations.

    Job Description
            1.  Did you read the Job Description?  Was there a Job Description?
                 The lack of a Job Description is a RED FLAG.

            2.  A growing number of Job Descriptions include a disclaimer, such as
                 "other duties as assigned." which can mean you're washing the Executive's
                 cars every Friday versus your regular duties OR in addition to your regular

                 You can not determine how you will be evaluated or should be paid if you do
                 not have a meaningful Job Description.


    Late Arrival
            1.  Employers expect a Candidate to ensure they will be able to arrive at the
                 designated location at the designated time or slightly early as this is viewed
                 as the ability to self-manage and meet obligations placed upon them.
                 The lack of a Job Description is a RED FLAG.
    Not a Team Player
            1.  Questions about leadership should include their activities plus what their
                 team did as a result of his leadership.  This can be viewed by some as an
                 egocentric glory-grabber candidate who may not fit their culture.
    Reliable References
            1.  Some companies have concerns with references are not provided where
                 asked and/or references who are not their former managers.  With a growing
                 concern over references outside of the United States, which could a trend to
                 return to the United States and be of sufficient weight to not consider the
                 Candidate.  In the United States, this may be in conflict for the Candidate
                 with any non-disclosure agreement which, in effect, is also in place with the
                 former managers whether they are formerly or currently with that employer.
    Research Not Conducted
            1.  The job Candidate is an external candidate and thus is expected to know the
                 history of the company and how their skills and experience will fit with the
                 position being discussed.

                 A favorite question:  Why do you want to work here?
    Unprofessional Behavior
            1.  Job Candidates should conduct themselves professionally at all times
                 especially with some companies having their employees monitoring what
                 you do while waiting.

                 The lack of a Job Description is a RED FLAG.