That you had better make sure of what you’re getting into before committing yourself long-term is true in many cases, and of course applies to a company and employee agreeing on a work contract. Even though it’s a given that this agreement is in no way meant to last forever, or nowadays even until retirement, both sides still expect to spend several years relying on each other and working together in a successful and work relationship.


A thorough analysis of the candidates has always been an integral part of human resources work. Often there are not only job interviews, but also assessment centres to evaluate individuals. In addition to that, the internet and especially social networks are consulted as early in the process as the first assessment of applications.


Today, though, we’ll take a look at the candidates. To avoid the new job from turning out to be a nightmare, they, too, should be able to recognize some warning signals, ideally before even submitting an application:


Should the same job ad keep showing up in the media even while a lengthy application process is running, there might be several reasons for that:
The company is having trouble finding the right candidate and therefore is forced to publish the same ad over and over again.

Or a candidate who had been hired left again during probation period.

Or the job opening doesn’t really exist and the company just wants to gather contact information to use at a later date.

None of this has to be bad by itself, and shouldn’t keep a candidate from applying by itself, but it is a sign to keep your eyes open.

It is also always advisable to research a company in advance, something that the internet has made particularly easy. Along with information about products, services, locations and partners, you often also get an idea of the company culture: does the website contain nothing more than the bare basics, or is there a press area, are there references and links to social networks, does the company support any kind of community or social cause? Things like that give an idea of how the company handles the web world, and their information policy. Someone for whom company culture is important should take an especially close look.


Candidates who made it past the first hurdle should take a look at the correspondence to see whether they received merely standardized and mass-mailed letters (or emails), or whether the text was individually written by humans. You fairly quickly develop a sense of whether a text is really individually created or whether it is just a collection of pre-prepared paragraphs stuck together. Unfortunately, more and more companies, especially big ones, are changing their application process to include computerized “lean” parts into the work flow. Again, this by itself does not necessarily count as a bad sign, although quite a few people are uncomfortable with this largely mechanical recruitment.


During the job interview then, the most important thing is your gut feeling, once the hard facts have been cleared. Did the appointment get moved once or even several times before? How long was the waiting until the job interview took place? How friendly was the reception? Was the atmosphere pleasant throughout the talk between all those participating, including between the various individuals on the employer’s side? In this situation, there is no advice that would fit all. Different jobs will also lead to different ways and intensity with which candidates are scrutinized. At the end of the day, don’t forget that a person will spend a good part of their life working. As such, judging a job by the pay alone is hardly a good idea.

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