- Some job offers that seem incredible on the surface could be coming from companies that are fraudulent, have a toxic environment, or otherwise may not be what they seem.
- Be mindful of vagueness, verbal agreements, and an eagerness to hire.
- Career experts reveal 12 potential warning signs that your dream job offer is too good to be true.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
After months of researching, applying, and interviewing, nothing is more relieving than finally getting that dream job offer.
But if you’re fresh out of college with minimal job experience and a company offers you a six-figure salary, the ability to work from home once a week, and free trips to Mexico, you might need to reconsider the job.
Be mindful of vagueness, verbal agreements, an eagerness to hire, and personal data requests early on, as these could indicate that the company is fraudulent, has a toxic environment, or otherwise may not be what it seems.
Career experts revealed 12 potential warning signs that your dream job offer is too good to be true – and that you should avoid the opportunity at all costs:
Nicol Natale wrote a previous version of this article.
Be wary if the salary offer is too high.
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An unreasonably high salary is a common sign that the job may not be what it seems, according to career expert Eileen Sharaga.
“This could be a sign that nobody wants the job because the conditions are toxic,” she says. “They could be desperate to hire and will need you to solve an immediate problem.”
Verbal promises without paperwork might be a red flag.
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“Steer clear of companies that make verbal promises to you but won’t put them in writing,” Sharaga said. “This almost always translates to unfulfillment.”
Plus, there’s no physical evidence of the verbal commitment, so the company can’t be held responsible for not following through.
Vague details about your responsibilities could be a sign of instability.
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“If they don’t have the answers to your questions, this could be a red flag,” Sharaga said.
These questions may include details about your job responsibilities, the company’s work environment, when you would start, or where the company’s headed in 10 years.
According to Sharaga, vagueness signifies disorganization and instability.
An overly eager hiring manager might indicate trouble at the company.
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“A company that seems eager to hire you will want an answer right away and want you to start immediately,” Sharaga said. “This can be a sign that they’re desperate and haven’t done their due diligence to find the right fit.”
A company that’s hiring for the right reasons will interview multiple candidates and will issue an offer to the person they want to bring on, according to Debra Wheatman, C.P.R.W. and certified careers coach at Careers Done Write. Then, they’ll allow you to take the time to think about your next steps instead of making you decide immediately.
If there was no formal interview, you should reconsider.
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Formal, face-to-face interviews allow you to get a sense of your company’s intentions and work environment.
“I had a client who got a job offer from a France-based company making, for what the job was, an incredibly high amount of money,” Wheatman said. “The company claimed to be expanding their business to the US, so my client did not have an in-person interview. They spoke over the phone and requested her personal information and social security number in order to move forward with the hiring process. This was an instance of attempted fraud. You’ll always want to avoid accepting an offer without an in-person interview.”
If the interview process went by too quickly, that could mean the company is desperate.
While nobody enjoys waiting around for companies to get back to them after a job interview, a slow hiring process is normal.
When things move quickly, you shouldn’t get too excited about the idea of starting a new gig.
“A sped-up recruiting process is a major red flag,” Liz Ryan, founder and CEO of Human Workplace, told Forbes. “When we are job hunting and frantic to escape a toxic workplace, we tend not to ask hard questions.”
If you’re doing all of the follow-up, the company might be disorganized.
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According to Wheatman, if you’re doing all of the follow-up with the company – calling them first and constantly checking in for updates – usually there’s a problem. “This could signify that the company is disorganized and may not have much respect for their employees,” she said.
A high employee-turnover rate indicates trouble.
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“Companies could have high turnover rates for many reasons, such as they may hire entry-level employees that move on, they hire minimum-wage employees, or other companies are offering more money for the same job,” Sharaga said. “If a company has a high turnover rate due to poor management or a toxic work environment, that’s a reason to consider an alternative company.”
Don’t trust a company that wants your personal data upfront.
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“If they’re requesting your social security information and bank statements early on in the hiring process with no offer, this could be a sign that the company is fraudulent,” Wheatman said. “This kind of personal data is highly confidential and sensitive. If someone gets your social security number, you could be dealing with the consequences for the rest of your life.”
Verify the company has a good reputation before taking the job.
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Google search your company for negative news articles and legal records. Also try asking current and former employees what they think of the company, if you have the option to do so.
If the company’s been involved in an unusually high number of lawsuits, consider rejecting the job offer.
“Your own reputation will be linked with your employer’s by association, so make sure you consider whether you can stand behind the brand,” emotional intelligence expert Harvey Deutschendorf wrote in Fast Company.
A good job offer won’t require you to pay money before starting.
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“If they’re asking you for money to start the job, this immediately raises concern,” Wheatman said. According to Wheatman, they may tell you to front X amount of dollars to be able to set up the business, and then you’ll start making a big salary. “You shouldn’t be providing any money in the hiring process,” she added.
If your intuition tells you to be careful, follow your gut.
“You’ll know when something isn’t quite right intuitively,” Wheatman said. “If you feel that way during the hiring process, nine times out of 10 you’re correct and should seek job opportunities elsewhere.”