3 Red Flags To Watch Out For When Starting A New Job


When you accept a job offer, it can feel like you have reached the summit of the mountain. After all the job hunting, all the worrying, and the long hours just waiting for the phone to ring, you’ve done it: you’ve got the job, and your start date is penned into your diary. Everything from this point on should be simple.

Unfortunately, many new employees discover that their idea of their new role doesn’t quite align with the reality. For the most part, we have to accept this; hoping that we’ll still be able to perform the role, advance our careers, and thus achieve success, even if the job isn’t quite what we’d imagined it to be.

There are, however, some adjustments to the reality of any new job that shouldn’t be accepted; here are three particular red flags that could signal storm clouds on the horizon…

1) No onboarding program

‘Onboarding’ is often seen as jargon, but it’s crucial to the success of any business. If a new employee is onboarded correctly, the business and the employee benefit. If your new employer essentially throws you into the deep end and expects you to swim without the safety jacket of a robust onboarding program, that’s a bad sign regarding their overall attitude to employees. At the very least, you should expect a one-to-one meeting with your direct superior, as well as some background information on the general working practices of the office.

2) Blatant disregard of employee protections

If a business is willfully disregarding essential workplace rights – for example, they tolerate a toxic working environment, or are failing to abide by health and safety initiatives – then be on your guard. If you, as a new employee, are able to note these transgressions, there’s clearly no intention to hide such poor conduct, which suggests a company-wide policy of seeing essential protections as merely bureaucratic meddling that can be ignored. As a result, you may find that your future at the company involves the need to seek a lawyer to discuss the infringements of the employee protections you are legally entitled to have. This is also the case if the job may subject you to harmful working practices that greatly impact your health and well-being.

3) Duties above and beyond the job role

If you have been hired as a programmer, then your duties should pertain to programming. If you arrive on your first day of work and discover you are also expected to, for example, empty the office trash cans or arrange your boss’ schedule, then this is an immediate red flag. In most cases, expecting employees to pull double (or triple) duty is a sign of a company that is short-staffed and either unable or unwilling to hire enough people to meet its needs. This, in turn, suggests poor systemic management of the company as a whole, which could spell bad news for you and your happiness at work in the future.

In conclusion

While few new jobs neatly align with the ideal we all imagine when first accepting a job offer, most of the adjustments are tenable. However, if you notice any of the red flags above, proceed with caution – and perhaps quietly continue your job search, just in case.