10 things to watch out for when job hunting in the tech industry

10 things to watch out for when job hunting in the tech industry

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As new opportunities unravel in technology, job hunting in tech can be pretty exhausting. Thousands of job postings bombard the internet daily, and it can be overwhelming to find the right job. 

Since you’re not looking for just any job, there are some distinct job search warning signs that you should be aware of throughout the interview process. 

Tech companies are constantly rolling out offers, but you must be careful to spot the red flags in job ads or interviews before you make a choice.

If you’re keen on upskilling or changing careers into tech and are ready to start looking for a role, here are 10 red flags to watch out for on your job hunt!

1. Conflict in values

So many tech startups are stringing words like inclusion, employee engagement, and autonomy in their job ads. But verifying that the company you’re interviewing with is walking the talk is essential. 

When there’s a disconnect between you and the company’s core values, that’s a major red flag.

If you’re big on inclusion in the workplace, check the company’s level of inclusion and how it resonates with you. Confirm whether the company values employee suggestions and feedback if you’re keen on this principle.

During interviews, you can respectfully inquire about the company’s values and ask how managers and employees uphold these systems. When the answers are not convincing enough, it could be a bad sign.

2. Absence of clarity or consistency

A job interview is a two-way procedure – as HR managers are testing to see if you’re a good fit, you should also investigate if this is your dream job. 

Ask straightforward questions about the company’s role and work culture.

Look out for their responses, and ascertain that the answers are clear, direct, and specific. You shouldn’t settle for vague statements that don’t satisfy your curiosity. Don’t hesitate to ask any follow-up questions if you’re unclear.

You will often face a panel of two or more persons during your interviews for a tech role. You can ask each of them a question to glean from their different perspectives. 

Complementary and consistent responses give you a clearer picture of your position and work environment.

3. Lack of connection

Working with one another should excite both parties after an interview. When you feel disconnected or the interviewers look distracted during an interview, it may be a sign showing you may not belong there. 

One way to know there’s a mismatch is that employers don’t seem engaged when speaking to you. It’s not a good sign when employers lack warmth during the interview process. Such an absence of enthusiasm can translate into a lack of employee engagement when you take the job. 

It could also mean poor communication, a lack of respect for talent, and a values disconnect within the company.

4. Unrealistic expectations

Ever attended a job interview and heard ridiculous expectations from your employer? 

Some managers propose unrealistic targets to their employees and implore them to use every means to meet these expectations. This can be overwhelming for entry-level positions or fresh recruits.

Some tech job ads focus on what you can offer the company without stating how working with them will be valuable to you. 

For instance, if you’re required to possess over five years of experience in a new development tool for an entry-level position – that’s a bad sign.

It’s also a red flag when hiring managers fuse various tech jobs into their role for the price of one. You should be sceptical when very few candidates apply for this job because its objectives are unrealistic.

5. Bait and switch tactic

If the job you’re being interviewed for differs from the initial job description you applied for, this isn’t a good sign. 

Some tech companies use this bait-and-switch technique to attract high-performing talent.

If this switch doesn’t please you, it’s worth considering whether you want to continue. They may apologise, claiming that their job needs changed quickly, but such communication gaps might not be an oversight. 

6. Style over substance

When job hunting in the tech industry, you might be looking for companies you can work with for a long time. Beware of tech firms that boast about peripheral incentives over company core values. 

If they treasure free lunch over respect and career development plans, you might be in the wrong place.

Many tech startups are trying hard to make candidates fall in love with their work culture but doing this the wrong way. 

Managers who emphasise cultural aspects of employment over job satisfaction could be covering up for something more substantial. Avoid this by asking about personal development budgets during your interview, as many tech companies will include this as a hiring incentive.

7. Too many interviews

When the interviews stretch for several weeks or months, it may be a sign that this job isn’t right for you. 

Glassdoor proposed that the average recruiting process should take 23 days. In less than a month, you should know whether you’re on board or start looking elsewhere.

Hiring for a C-suite position takes more time than recruiting junior-level employees. Several managerial decisions, stakeholder involvement, and organisational adjustments often lengthen the process. But if you’re applying for a fairly junior role, you shouldn’t be required to jump through several hoops in order to get a yes or no.

With this knowledge, you can exercise more patience or move on to the next offer.

8. Flexible hours

The promise of ‘flexible hours’ is paraded in many job postings on the internet, especially remote work opportunities. 

However, you should confirm what the company calls flexibility and ensure a proper work-life balance with this job.

Investigate closely to verify if developers are always burning the midnight oil and working weekends at a stretch. Flexibility may mean employees are allowed to start at 10 in the morning because they work till daybreak.

You can decide to work with the company when you understand how flexible their hours are. Don’t sign up for a 24/7 work culture disguised as flexible work hours.

9. Time-bomb offers

Another red flag is when the job offer has a short deadline and expires afterwards. Some tech companies will interview you on Friday and want a response by Monday, or they will serve the position to someone else. 

If you’re considering working with one firm for a long time, making a critical decision takes time. You shouldn’t be pressed to make a quick decision without considering all the terms and conditions attached.

You might need to rethink the position when they insist on a decision within a tight deadline.

10. Inappropriate questions or comments 

When you ask questions or receive feedback, pay attention to the responses. Don’t brush aside comments that are sexist, racist, or offensive. 

It could signal that the organisation has little regard for employees and tolerates terrible behaviour.

When employees use censored speech amongst themselves often, that’s a major red flag. 

If the interviewers ask questions that make you uncomfortable about your skin, gender, or nationality, you may need to reconsider the offer.

Landing the right tech role can be challenging; you shouldn’t pressure yourself to pick any offer. 

So while you consider remuneration, company benefits, and positives, you should also evaluate the red flags at the company.

When you’re interviewed, test the relationship between workers, managers, and employees. Observing people working there lets you know if the company is right for you.

Another thing that could be keeping you from landing your dream job in tech is your lack of essential skills. 

If you need to upskill, the Institute of Data can help you gain the job-ready skills to land your next tech position; book a career consultation here today.

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