Telling the Difference between Entrepreneurs and Kooks is becoming more and more difficult these days.
Between Twitter “marketers” (in quotes for a reason!) who have 13k followers and do nothing but parade links around all day and Facebook ads promising unlimited wealth from Obama checks, there’s just so much noise it’s hard to keep our heads in the game when looking for that first real job.
Even experienced job hunters are sometimes lured in by the silky smooth words of snake oil salesmen. It blows, but it’s a great experience. As millennials, we have a leg up. Things like… well, the bad things that happened in our lives – 9/11, Columbine, and so on, have given us a great filter for BS.
We have an amazing capacity to detect deception. But even we get sucked in from time to time.
Some red flags I’ve learned to watch out for:
Any “marketing” position that mentions cold-calling, sales, or seems like door-to-door sales positions. This is a big one, because us creative types go, “Oh, Marketing! I can do that!” and we quickly learn that marketing is really a codeword for “please bend over for us while you pimp our product to people who don’t want it.”
Any job where the CEO meets you at a coffee shop, then informs you that the position is not as advertised.
Any job where your immediate supervisor was never trained for the job you’re supposed to be doing.
Any job where your employee number is larger than your weekly pay.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some – so please, refresh my memory and post your own in the comments section. I’ll move the particularly poignant ones up here into a post-published addition.
EDIT: 4/23/2009: Brian came up with another condition – “you should avoid any job that requires YOU (the candidate) to pay [somebody] for anything in association with starting your job.” This is true – watch out for pyramid schemes! They’re becoming harder and harder to spot! If you’re being hired for something, but asked to pay something for any reason – walk away.