The need to research a company before you apply for a job there should go without saying in 2016. Whether you rely on Glassdoor or another site, potentially parsing hundreds of reviews for real insight can be overwhelming. While you should take everything you read in an anonymous review of a company with a grain of salt and question the review writer’s motives, there are certain phrases to look out for. If any variations on the following terms pop up when you’re researching a prospective employer, think twice about applying.
This one is deadly. If reviews specifically call out low morale, a toxic work environment or mention disgruntled/apathetic/beaten down coworkers, give this company a wide berth. It’s one thing for a single employee to be unhappy, but when reviewers are looking beyond themselves to deliberately draw attention to a wider feeling of malaise, take it as a kind stranger’s way of warning you away from a bad situation.
As humans we can’t resist building up and tearing down hierarchies, so every workplace is political to a certain degree, but some go beyond the usual scuffling between Sales and Marketing over who’s more important to the company’s success. If you’re reading reviews that talk about unethical behavior, promotions based on popularity and not merit and cutthroat competition for face time with CEO, this is less an average workplace and more a Machiavellian den of vipers. If court intrigue isn’t your scene, skip applying here.
Recommended by Forbes
Some industries have naturally high turnover. For example, call centers find it hard to keep people long-term. Some roles, like customer support and sales, also cycle through people quickly, as people in the former role burn out and people in the latter get poached or move on to more lucrative opportunities. High turnover within the company’s C-suite, however, or in typically stable staff or line functions should give you pause. If you’re reading reviews that report the company has gone through three CTOs in 18 months or that no one in engineering stays longer than than a year, there are some deeper issues with the organization that are impeding its ability to recruit and retain strong talent.
Page 1 / 2 Continue
‘Limited opportunities for growth’
With job-hopping becoming the norm, you might think working in a very flat organization isn’t a serious drawback. If employees complain that a company doesn’t offer entry-level workers a clear path to advancement or sounds reluctant to promote from within, however, it’s can be an indication that they don’t value their people as resources to be invested in and cultivated. Not everyone wants to move out to move up and even if you don’t plan to stay at company X for the next decade, landing in a role without any opportunity to grow your skills and responsibilities can quickly sap your motivation.
Senior leaders are an easy target for disgruntled current or former employees, so a single review deriding the CEO as a an out-of-touch buffoon isn’t necessarily cause for concern. If multiple reviews, however, are identifying a culture of management incompetence and poor decision-making (and especially if they provide examples like not keeping up with market trends, not hiring the right talent or focusing on quick fixes vs. long-term growth), take this kvetching to heart. If it seems like past and present employees don’t agree with the direction the company is being steered in, ask yourself if you really want to grab an oar and join their ranks.
Page 2 / 2