As the new year approaches, the time to job hunt seems to be upon us. Whether moving away from a company you are unhappy at, or just looking forward your career after outgrowing your current place. A new year is a great time to have that fresh start you’ve been looking for. However, remember to take your time and pick your move carefully. In aid of this, I have compiled a list of red flags to look out for when on the job hunt
Vague Job spec
During the job hunt process, be wary of being unable to pin down exactly what you will be doing upon starting. An employer can come across great, but they will either omit or gloss over the less glamorous parts of the job. This isn’t completely unexpected behaviour on their part. They know it has been the cause of leavers or driven away potential candidates before, and they want to hire you. You really need to know what language you will be writing, what projects you will be working on, and what the development environment is like; from day one.
The company could be moving from a legacy product written in some old in-house or niche language, to a popular language written from the ground up to follow all the latest best practices. If the job spec is unclear and the interviewer is vague, for all you know you could end up on the legacy project. You won’t even be able to turn around and say “You lied to me”.
The promise of new technology
Lots of places with legacy solutions have plans to modernise. When speaking with your interviewer make sure you ask them how far along they are. You may find they are still, prototyping, exploring options or undecided. In my experience, this means they will be prototyping, investigating and undecided forever. It’s different if you’re being hired to directly influence this and move them along, but mostly I see this used as a lure for developers.
Lack of proper technical test
If you don’t do any form of technical tests for a job, none of the people you work with did either. This makes your colleagues a lottery. They could be as good as you, better, or completely terrible. The more hoops you jump through, the more of a pain it is, but the higher quality the people you will be working with will be. If they do not at least ask to see some code or ask logic questions, treat this as a huge red flag.
Amazing benefits package
This isn’t a red flag, but I would ask why. Is it the industry generally well paid, like financial tech? Is the company a large company that has the financial clout to pay well? Or are the benefits what’s needed to attract new talent, offering “compensation” for the terrible work environment?
I know the feeling when you are in a Job you dislike, but you don’t want to jump ship to any job you can. Take your time, feel out the opportunities and make sure you make the right decision. The extra few months it will take will feel totally worth it when you’re not looking for a job this time next year.