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4 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Looking for a New Job in 2020

In the first chapter of my book, “Scenes from the Valley,” I write about some of the red flags to watch out for when considering a new job. As so many of you are out looking for a new position due to COVID-19 layoffs, I felt these tips from the book might come in handy. It’s rather amazing that some red flags from the 1990’s are still true today.


Red Flag #1: Scope Your Coworkers & Office Vibe


If possible, spend time in the office you will be working in and the team you will be working with. Even if you will initially be working from home, you need to meet the people you will be working with and the office you will go to when necessary. Set up coffee dates over zoom to meet some of your potential coworkers. They'll be able to give you the inside scoop on your potential employer. Visit the office you'll eventually be working in. The vibe from the location will tell you a lot about how the company values its people.


Working remotely will require you to hone your skills to communicate your ideas via Zoom, Phone and Email. That’s easier if you feel a camaraderie with your team right from the start!


Red Flag #2: Read Your Potential Employer


If you are not good at reading people, get better. This is one of my weaknesses. It may be one of yours. I always look for the good in people, like Melanie Wilkes in “Gone with the Wind.” You need to read a potential employer’s strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, his/her motivations. You don’t want to be fooled into accepting a job that doesn’t provide you with a next step in your career.


Red Flag #3: Dig for Dirt Online


Find someone who has worked for your future boss. Nowadays it is so much easier with LinkedIn and other social media sites. You want to know whether his or her work style will fit with yours. Also, you need to find out if this person takes a mentoring approach and gets promotions for his team. Don’t rely on what a future employer says because some people are good at telling you what you want to hear. If possible, find someone who worked for your future boss and can verify what you’ve been told. Otherwise, at a bare minimum check Glassdoor to see reviews from company employees.


Do your homework as to the skill set someone in your employer’s position should have. You want to be certain your next boss knows their stuff so you can learn what you need to move up the ladder.


Red Flag #4: The Problem With Perfection


If something seems too perfect, it probably is. Silicon Valley has a reputation for pitching smoke and mirrors, and I have bought the demo when taking a job. This is not just a technology industry truism.


I believe that the almost perfect job is out there for you. I watched my daughter get one so I have no plans to change my thinking. Good luck!


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