Resource Centre Job Search Advice How To Spot A Bad Employer and Avoid Them

How To Spot A Bad Employer and Avoid Them

A job interview should not just give the employer a chance to know more about the potential employee. It is an opportunity for you, the candidate, to also scrutinize the potential employer and get to make a decision whether you want to work for that employer or not. Most people quit their jobs or are […]

A job interview should not just give the employer a chance to know more about the potential employee. It is an opportunity for you, the candidate, to also scrutinize the potential employer and get to make a decision whether you want to work for that employer or not. Most people quit their jobs or are stressed at their jobs because of the kind of working environment or the kind of employer that they work for. Therefore, when you go for an interview, you need to also assess the employer properly and objectively.

Some employers will outright show you that you deserve better while others will be more subtle. Either way, you need to be alert before a seemingly great job offer turns into a nightmare and you find yourself constantly stressed out. Here are the tell tale signs of a bad employer.

1. Other employees in the office seem to be walking on eggshells

Scared employees

Have you ever heard those stories about fathers who get home and everyone runs to their room or scampers to a corner? Well, there are also such employers out there. They rule with fear and their companies operate solely on fear. When you go for an interview, observe how people carry themselves around the office. Do they seem fearful and oppressed? Are they interacting freely or are they talking in hushed tones and stolen glances? Are they welcoming?

A bad employer will make employees feel like they are caged animals and if they cannot let employees interact freely, imagine how they treat them. A workplace should be fun and interactive so if an employer is stifling this then you are better off without them.

2. The employer is condescending

Bad employer

So you finally made it to the interview room and you are ready and well-prepared for the interview. In fact, you have been waiting for this opportunity and you are sure to impress the employer with your sharp answers. But, after a few exchanges here and there, you notice that this employer feels like they are doing you a favour. They treat you like you are undeserving and you should be glad that they even considered your application.

Well, the level of unemployment in the country is an open fact. However, this is no reason for an employer to treat you like they are doing you a favour. You have skills that the employer needs so no one is doing the other a favour. In some instances, the employer will not even give you a chance to ask questions, showing you that you have no right asking questions because even when you get the job, you are not expected to. In some instances, the employer will keep interrupting you or simply refuses to pay attention to you by texting and emailing while you try your best to give your best answer. A condescending interview tells you that the employer does not respect employees and why would anyone want to work for such an employer?

3. The employer has vague answers to your questions

Unclear answers

It goes without saying that a good employer should give you a chance to ask questions because you might need clarifications about the position or company. Bear in mind that not everything about the company is in the public domain so you should, indeed, ask questions. So, once it is your turn to do the ‘interviewing’ ask strategic questions and pay attention to the answers. If the employer is vague and offers inconsistent answers, then it shows that they are hiding something.

A good place to work is one where everything is clear, from your day-to-day work to your reporting lines and your core KPIs. so, if you ask a question, especially about the position and you get no clear answers, like the ones you just gave, then maybe there is something being hidden and you should run for your sanity.

4.  Punctuality

Keeping time

Of course, the people interviewing you are busy people but so are you. You have created time to come for the interview and most often than not, the interviewers are the ones who give you a date and time so that interview is indeed part of their busy schedules. Now imagine getting to the interview nice and early, all you certificates in order, sharply dressed as you should, and ready to tackle all answers like a boss, only to be made to wait for a whole hour with no explanations.

The first thing that this should tell you is that this company has absolutely no respect for time and that is not a good thing. It also shows you that the standards around here are terrible and that is a huge red flag. Worse still, when you finally get to the interviewing room, no apologies are offered and you are treated like it is your job to wait. Well, it is not and you should seriously reconsider taking that job offer if it comes.

5. Passive aggressive warning signs plastered everywhere in the office

Warning signs

Kids need constant reminders and for a good reason. But adults don’t. Well, a few signs in the office are great because they indicate that there are certain standards that need to be observed by everyone including visitors. If for example, you are visiting a manufacturing plant, there are certain rules that should be observed by everyone and it makes sense to have them plastered all over to act as reminders, especially for visitors. However, if there are signs about general conduct in the office by employees, then this is a sign of a bad employer and you should keep off.

Passive aggressive behaviour is meant to intimidate employees and remind them who the boss is. Such an environment is not healthy at best, and toxic at worst so avoid such an employer at all costs.

6. Do your research

Company research

So you finally got that interview and did your best. In fact, everything about the interview was great. You had a fruitful discussion and your chances look great. That is really nice but before you rejoice, you need to know about the company. Do a research on Glassdoor, ask friends about the company, look for information on social media. Check out reviews by clients. Whatever the case, make sure you dig up any information you can get.

Consistent bad reviews about a certain company point towards a poor culture and culture is what makes an organisation great. So, if the culture seems to be defined by poor service to customers, poor treatment of employees, and general dissatisfaction, then that is definitely not the place for you.

A bad employer can be a nightmare and you will end up spending much of your time there looking for another job or managing stress levels instead of being productive. As such, always bear in mind the above pointers to a bad employer and stay away from them.

Njeri Karanja
Notification Bell