I like to read your columns. You understand how emotionally draining a job search can be.
My emotions go up and down based on my job search. If I have a great interview, I feel terrific. When I get a “no thanks” message (if I even get one at all) I felt like garbage.
This week I interviewed for a job I could perform in my sleep. Under ordinary circumstances I wouldn’t consider this opportunity, but I really need a job. The recruiter liked me.
I just received an email invitation for a second interview. They even asked me what time would be convenient for me — lots of employers don’t do that.
My hesitation is that these people are obviously desperate to hire someone. Can I afford to take a job where they are so desperate to hire someone that it’s painfully obvious to me as a job candidate?
I could be anyone. They don’t need my skills specifically. They just need to hire someone, fast, as far as I can tell.
If the job is horrible and I end up quitting within a few weeks, I will have lost time on my job search. I have a few other irons in the fire. Should I take the “desperation” job, or keep looking?
What do you recommend?
Your finances will dictate whether you need to take a “desperation job” or keep the full-time job search going.
I agree completely that taking the wrong job can trash your mojo and kill your job search momentum, but at the same time the rent must be paid.
If you are in a position to reduce your financial burden during your job search — by getting a roommate, moving in with your parents or in some other way — I would grab that opportunity.
On your second interview, asking every imaginable question about the job. Ask them how much overtime they expect you to work. Ask them what happened to the last person in this job.
Ask them about the career path, the amount of travel and the dress code. Leave no stone unturned! Get a copy of their employee handbook and read it cover to cover before you decide whether to take the job or skip it.
You can keep your job search going at night and on the weekends if you take the job, but starting a new job while pursuing a job search is a lot of work.
Here are ten signs an employer is desperate to hire you — or anybody else who can fog a mirror:
1. You apply for a job and immediately get a phone call back from the company recruiter, who breathlessly starts telling you about the job. The recruiter gives the impression that they’d be happy to hire you right now, over the phone!
2. You can tell within the first ten minutes of your interview that they want to hire you.
3. On the first interview, they ask “Can you start working on Monday?” and “Could you possibly start sooner?”
4. They return your email and voice mail messages instantly — very unusual behavior for hiring authorities.
5. They are way less interested in your previous work experience, educational background, career plans or accomplishments than they are in your availability.
6. If they email you with a question or instruction and you don’t reply within a few hours, they email you again.
7. As you’re leaving the building after your interview, you start chatting with someone else who has also just interviewed. That person mentions “Well, that was easy! I just got a new job. I start on Monday.” You walk to the bus stop with them and ask them about their work history. God bless this person, you wouldn’t hire them in a million years.
8. At your interview, they give you a folder full of new-employee paperwork to complete. Evidently they only interviewed you face to face to make sure you are a living person!
9. Even before you’ve had a chance to think about the opportunity, people from the company start writing to you. “We have a new training class starting this weekend — can you make it?” asks one person. Someone else writes “I will get you set up on our computer system.” Why are they racing to hire you? It means there’s a problem — one you won’t discover until you start the job!
10. Your trusty gut says “These people don’t care about you. They just want a warm body to fill the job — anyone would do.”
If you have to take a job like that, keep in mind that it’s going to be a short-term gig. Don’t get too comfortable, because you will only experience disappointment if you do.
If you can afford to keep the job search going and slam the door on the desperation job, do that instead!
All the best,