People Are Sharing Red Flags From Employers That Should Trigger Warning Bells, And Some Of These May Surprise You

·6 min read

This week, Reddit user u/taylortaylortaylorrr posed the question, "What is a red flag from an employer that people might not immediately recognize as a red flag?"


And there were so many excellent responses! Here are some of the top-voted answers:

1."When an employee quits or gets fired from the job and the company doesn't hire anyone new to replace them."

"It can be hard to tell as a red flag at first, but the temporary workload they added to your own that was left over after the person left slowly becomes your new permanent workload, without any changes to your pay or benefits to compensate for the additional tasks. The further out it goes without the position being filled, the larger and more obvious the red flag becomes."


2."To me, it was, 'We will start you low and will give you a ton of money later.' They never do. Never happens."


3."Anything that the manager says in the interview that doesn’t line up with the job description."

"'We posted it as a manager level position, but this is actually a coordinator role.' 'The description says travel is 25%, but it might be closer to 50%.' 'We posted it as a remote job, but we prefer people to be in the office x days/week.' All of those are red flags. ANYTHING a company is vague about should be a red flag."


"I once got, 'We advertised this as a full-time permanent position, but every hire begins as a one-year contract so we can get to know you.' I've got no issue with a probationary period, but if you're only prepared to do a one-year contract with a 'possibility of full time,' put that in the ad."


  Fizkes / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Fizkes / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4."If the job description has a nondescriptive massive salary range ($25,000–$100,000)."


5."Open interviews. It tells me that people leave faster than you can bring them in, and with good reason."


6."When you don’t get a review until you ask for a raise. Then, all of a sudden, your work is being questioned, and you’re being berated."


"Going through this right now. Two years working for the company, and I asked for a raise. Now, suddenly I have the owner's wife all over me, digging into everything I have done and just making my life miserable."


  Fizkes / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Fizkes / Getty Images/iStockphoto

7."There's a misery wall when walking into work. When you pass a certain point in the building, the feeling changes significantly. If you know, you know."


"Yes! I was in the normal waiting room, and everything was fine and dandy. Then, I was sent to sit outside an office near the back, where my interviews were going to be held. I sat there for three minutes, looked around at the people, had a sense of dread, and left. I walked out and told the receptionist, 'I can't do this here. It's not what I want' and left. I got called three times after that asking if I wanted to reschedule. They seemed way desperate."


8."Trying to rush a decision out of you once the offer is made."

"I once interviewed with a company where I would have been relocating across the country to work for them. They told me I had less than 24 hours to let them know my decision. I would have been moving 2,000 miles away from home to a place I had never even seen before (interviews were completely virtual). They wanted me to start six days after the offer had been made. When I asked if there was any flexibility for me to have more time to think it over or have more time to move out there, they said no. They needed the decision the next day. I declined the offer."


9."The 'sink or swim' technique. It was my first day as a cashier, and I got a couple of hours of training. Then, I was by myself when this rush came in, and I asked for help. The manager said, 'Sink or swim, we’re busy back here, figure it out.'"


  Jlco - Julia Amaral / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Jlco - Julia Amaral / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10."Asking if I planned to have children in the interview (I was 19)."


11."'Competitive pay' but they won't tell you what the pay actually is in the posting or even the interview."


"'Competitive pay.' Translation: Your salary will be competing against your bills."


12."A couple old senior partners, lots of young employees, and nothing in between. That means there’s no opportunity to move up, and they can’t get people to stay. They work young folks for as long as they can, and the young folks leave once they figure out the company sucks."


"It could also mean a couple of other things (none of them are good): Their processes are so unique/nontransferable that they hire young out of college because anyone established in the industry would reject them. They hire young because the pay is shit. Or they hire young because they assume young folks won't know any better."


  Fizkes / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Fizkes / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13."If many provisions in company policy say 'except for employees in Colorado and California.' Colorado and California have multiple statutes that are more employee-friendly than the other 48 states, so the company policy is basically saying, 'We'll do X for employees where the state makes us, but fuck the rest of you.'"


14."'Sorry, no money for your annual raise due to the pandemic.' It's a lie."


15."Asking if you are somebody who's 'willing to put in the time to make sure deadlines are met/work is done' or if you're 'the type of person who leaves when the workday is finished?' This is generally corporate speak for 'we will be forcing you to work unpaid overtime.'"


  Peopleimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Peopleimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

16."When they say, or try to make you sign, anything pertaining to not discussing your wages with other employees. That shit is illegal, and it SCREAMS that people aren’t being fairly compensated for their work. I’ve literally up and walked the fuck out of jobs for this."


17."I know people (rightfully) like to hate on HR, but if a company brags about 'not having an HR department to deal with,' expect them to be very disorganized at a minimum."


18."'Work hard, play hard.' You will work so hard, you and your colleagues will need to get totally fucked up at happy hours to cope with the stress."


  Peopleimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Peopleimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto

19.And finally, "'We're a family here.' No. I don't love you. I wouldn't do anything for you. We have boundaries."


Can you think of any red flags from an employer? Sound off in the comments below.

Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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