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Part 2: Warning Signs Job Seekers Should Not Ignore

Warning sign in job offer

In my last post about warning signs job seekers should not ignore, I discussed a few red flags in the interview process to keep an eye out for. However, the actual offer can include red flags as well.

Being at the end of an arduous interview process can feel like a relief. They can be quite time-consuming and are often coupled with stress. To be so close to the finish line is an exciting time!

Unfortunately, the process is not over yet. The offer can tell a lot about a potential future employer and sometimes what we learn is not great.

In this last article of the two-part series, I will share the lessons I have learned when receiving job offers (especially if it makes you do a double-take!).

Army marching

Combat Pay

If you are offered more money than you know is fair for a role, take the time to consider why. I guarantee you there is a reason, and most likely it is not a good one.

During one interview, I was there for several hours. I appreciated learning so much about what I would be potentially committing to. However, towards the end of my time there, the person I would be supporting tried to give me a wad of cash. When I got the official job offer, it was considerably higher than the rate I had mentioned I felt was fair. Although it was exciting to receive a generous offer, I learned down the road after accepting it that I had been offered a lot more because it was combat pay.

A bad employer has to pay more for employees to keep them coming back every day or else they would have a revolving door. Combat pay helps to keep employees locked in a lot longer.

Empty pockets with no money

No Pay

I know some of you reading this might think this heading is a joke or too obvious. I am dead serious. I experienced a situation that I thought I'd never encounter, which might help others.

I was introduced to someone who considered themselves to be of celebrity status, especially since they were connected to an endless list of A-listers. They had impressive work that spanned over decades. They also had several fascinating business ventures. My skills aligned and I saw so many ways I could provide the exact assistance they needed.

After spending several days getting to know them as well as everything the role would entail, I was offered the job. Normally I'd be psyched at the prospect of taking on something new and challenging, but I stopped short when I was told there would be no pay.

I dug deeper and asked questions to understand the rationale. There were no logical answers; just a whole lot of effort trying to impress me with more details about the business ventures. Reading between the lines, I quickly understood that this was someone who believed that status trumped compensating those under them. I gave appreciation for their interest and politely declined.

Do not let anyone who considers themselves to be of high status to take advantage of you. Your time is valuable, period. Maybe you are just starting out, or maybe you are trying to get your feet wet in another industry; it doesn't matter. Do not let other peoples' excuses (celebrity status or otherwise) allow you to devalue yourself in any way.

Unless you are applying for a well-organized internship, run and do not look back!

Payment coming soon

Temporary No Pay

Perhaps there is a training period or there isn't funding quite yet. Whatever the reason, I don't recommend accepting any period of employment without pay, even if you are told it will be short. It actually can even be illegal (each state and country has their own laws on this).

This is another situation where I recommend running.

Have you encountered any red flags in a job offer? Please share in the comments below!

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