By now, you’ve probably heard of — and know of your — job search red flags (maybe you’ve even read about them on Fairygodboss). These are deal-breaking parts of a job offer or interview that make you immediately turn down the offer or withdraw from the application process.
But what about the gray areas of the job search: things that make the alarm bells go off in your head, but a little quieter? The things that may be cause for concern, but need a little more digging or questioning to figure out what they really mean?
These are your job search “yellow flags”: things that should give you pause in the job search but aren’t cause to run away just yet.
4 Job Search Yellow Flags You Should Think Twice About
1. Negative company reviews.
Company reviews can be a great source when you’re curious about what employees actually think of the company. But a string of negative reviews isn’t necessarily an immediate red flag.
Reviews reflect one employee’s experience at one point in time. If the reviews are older and complain about a specific manager, it’s probable that the manager may no longer be with the company.
Yet reviews also shed valuable light on personal experiences at that company, and while things may have changed, you don’t need to discredit them. It’s better to take reviews with a grain of salt. Ask specific questions about things that concerned you in the reviews when you’re interviewing or considering an offer. For example, if there’s a negative review about poor work-life balance, you can ask the hiring manager about work-life balance policies and boundaries set in place at the company.
2. You don’t have all the answers you need yet.
If you’ve received an offer but you’re still curious what the company culture is like — and you didn’t really get an answer during your interview, despite asking — it’s worth thinking twice before agreeing to the offer.
Fairygodboss member Lesa Edwards said that “hesitancy to answer your questions about any aspect of the work — or indications that they aren’t being entirely truthful” is her yellow flag.
“Unwillingness to be fully transparent may be a sign that things aren’t good and that the interviewer doesn’t want to lose you as a candidate by being completely honest,” she said.
Edwards recommends leveraging LinkedIn to get your answers from employees. If everyone is hesitant or unwilling to answer your questions, it might be a sign that they don’t think you’ll like the answer. Or, your interviewer may just have been hesitant to share — and you may find employees have great experiences to share.
3. You didn’t click with the hiring manager.
Some people say the best interviews feel more like friendly conversations. Yet sometimes, especially in a virtual world, the better interviews can still feel awkward at times.
If your interview wasn’t exactly smooth sailing, but you’ve received an offer, think twice about discomfort. Was it a product of the environment — maybe you or the hiring manager was nervous! — or did you genuinely not mesh or get along with them? Especially if the hiring manager is someone you make work closely with, or even work for, you might want to be cautious and rethink how the conversation went and how it made you feel.
4. When your gut is trying to tell you something.
“The worst supervisor I ever had handled our interview with military-like efficiency and seemed desperate to get someone in ASAP,” Fairygodboss member E C wrote on the community feed. “My instinct said it didn’t feel right. I became the third person in five years in that role. And they were desperate because this person had two FTE worth of duties. The job descriptions were literally copied and pasted into one document. Knowing what I know now, I would not have taken the job. Listen to your instincts.”
Your gut is an important tool when it comes to making big decisions. While you might not always follow it, if something feels off, it’s worth considering what’s making you feel that way — and whether that’s enough of a bad sign to turn down the offer.