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So What? Identifying red flags in the job market

So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live

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In this week’s episode of So What? we focus on identifying red flags in the job market. We walk through what they are, how to vet a potential employer and tackle setting boundaries. Catch the replay here:

So What? Identifying red flags in the job market


In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • how to identify red flags in interviews
  • how to evaluate a potential employer
  • how to navigate setting boundaries

Upcoming Episodes:

  • TBD


Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here:

AI-Generated Transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:17
Well, hey everyone, Happy Thursday. Welcome to so what the marketing analytics and insights live show today is technically, probably the last productive Thursday of the year. So Thursday before Thanksgiving. You know, we’ll still be around getting things done. But you know how it goes when we hit the holidays? Right, John?

John Wall 0:35
Yeah, thanks get wrapped up in what would today I also have the other browser going here, I’m working on my Taylor Swift tickets. So if I have to turn away, you’ll know that that’s what’s going

Katie Robbert 0:43
on. It’s in that case, it’s totally personal. John doesn’t like you. He cares more about Taylor Swift.

John Wall 0:49
You know, if you’re a fan, I can hook you up at a special rate.

Katie Robbert 0:55
On today’s show, we are talking about identifying red flags in the job market. So this came up because of all of the nonsense, it’s happening with Twitter and Facebook. And what does it FX T. And Amazon’s now doing massive layoffs. And some of that can’t be avoided. But there are public figures that are demonstrating really strong red flags that we just sort of wanted to cover and address, especially if you are newer in your career, it may be harder to identify what those red flags are. Now, John and I are old, we’ve been doing this forever. We’ve kind of been there, done that seen it all. So we also asked our analytics community, our free Slack community analytics for marketers, you can join with the link below. And we ask them, what kinds of red flags they’ve seen, or what do they look for. So we’ll be covering some of that as well. So today, we want to cover off on how to identify red flags and interviews, how to evaluate potential employers and how to navigate setting boundaries, which, after all is said and done, you are the only one in control of the situation, you can control how you react to things, you can’t control how other people act. So, John, where would you like to start today?

John Wall 2:12
Oh, man, there’s a bunch of great places we can go with this. I mean, red flags is a good place to start. And I think even to set the, to set the tone a little bit I’ve always gone by, there was research done by Google over 10 years ago, but they took a bank of 1000s of interviews. And they really proved that the interview process basically doesn’t work, right, unless you’re in a situation where like somebody’s being interviewed, and hey, we’re gonna hire you to be a chief developer, and you need to be an expert in Python, then you can test somebody, you can give them some Python problems, or you can have them write some code or debug some code. And you can figure out if they’re actually good at their job or not. But pretty much everything else is just kind of spinning the wheel and hoping that you come up lucky with a match. It’s kind of like getting married after the third date. You know, it’s like a bad reality TV show. The odds of it working are completely out there. So yeah, red flags, I think is a great place to start as far as the interview process. And I’ve been itching for this all week, because I have, like, so many ridiculous stories on this front. And I imagine you must have some to where, you know, what, what is stuff that you’ve seen that has, you know, made you immediately start to question what the heck is going on?

Katie Robbert 3:18
Um, you know, it’s funny, when I tell the story of my interview with Chris, I mean, that was riddled with red flags. And that sort of goes against everything we talk about, like the interviewer was like, sort of, you know, combative and also distant at the same time, like, you know, he didn’t offer me any refreshments. But he got some for himself. Like, it was very, it was very strange. And everything about that interview was a red flag. But considering the situation I was coming out of it was better than the alternative, which is a really crappy position to be in, but it was and you know, fast forward. Almost eight years later, and it worked out really well. Like it was just, you know, I’m glad I took the chance on it. But, you know, so red flags that I’ve seen in interviews, like, I mean, a lot of it, if you are a candidate, and you are looking for a job, if the potential employer doesn’t do basic things, like follow up with you, if you’re constantly chasing them, if you’re saying, what’s the status, what’s the next step and they’re not responding to you? They’re ghosting you huge red flag because that means that their ability to just communicate basic things doesn’t exist. And like you can say, you can sort of give them that grace of, yeah, everybody gets busy. But their sole focus is to hire someone for that position. And they should at least have the decency and respect to tell you. You’re either not the right fit, or we just got bogged down with candidates who will get back to you in a couple of weeks. Like it takes two seconds to respond to someone with either a yes or a no and quite honestly, you shouldn’t be afraid to tell people No, you’re not the right fit. Okay, great. I can go move on with my life, just let me go do that, but stop leaving me hanging. So I would say that’s a big red flag is if a hiring manager can’t bother to get back to you. It’s the same thing with dating. If somebody doesn’t respond to you, they’re ghosting you. So you need to just move on with your life stop trying to make them change.

John Wall 5:18
Yeah, yeah. So that’s funny, there’s two things that come out of that. One is it’s funny, you’re just a reverse situation, like it was still proving the interview process is most mostly useless. Because when you interviewed with Chris, like, everything went poorly, everything seemed bad, I now have a good working relationship. So that just you know that, again, proving interviews are invalid. It that was definitely the anomaly. Right was the the outlier. The other thing is, and you hit on an interesting one, as far as managing the process, I think this is one thing, if you’re going into a larger company, especially to somebody new going for a junior position, you may be dealing with like human resources, or hiring or recruiting people. And as you go through that whole process, always keep in mind who your boss and the decision maker is. And you really want to be kind of talking with them and getting their opinions and impressions and getting the yes or no from them. Because, you know, if you work great with HR, and the hiring department and all these people, but they’re just plugging a hole, you’re going to show up for the job, and you’re not even going to know who you’re really working for what that’s all about. And so that’s, you know, I mean, if you need the job, no matter what, that’s fine, you can do that. But do be prepared for the opportunity that, you know, you might be looking for another job within a month or whatever,

Katie Robbert 6:28
I think that’s a really good point. Because if they’re not introducing you, at least, you know, superficially to the people that you would be working with, then, you know, that’s definitely a red flag. You know, not every manager of a team makes a good hiring manager, as evidenced by someone like Chris like, so we always had potential candidates meet Chris, but he was not solely responsible for running the interviews, that was my job. But as the person who would ultimately be responsible day to day for that, you know, new hire, he needed to be involved, at some point, he needed to meet them, he needed to vet them, they needed to meet him, and that him as well. And so if you’re going into a job interview, and you’re not getting any kind of, you know, FaceTime, or transparency into who you will be working with reporting to anything about the team, that’s a huge red flag.

John Wall 7:25
Yeah, we had Danielle mentioned lack of diversity as one thing, that’s a real easy thing to do as far as go look at the website and see, you know, is it the totem to white old men? Or, you know, are there actually other cultures, other folks that are on the list there. So I totally agree with that. And I’m still struggling to manage banners correctly. So obviously, I threw in an old dog there.

Katie Robbert 7:48
But alright. Yeah, the lack of diversity is a good one, I want to spend a couple minutes on that. And so, you know, there’s an expectation of you as the candidate that you’re doing your due diligence of the company, and sort of, you know, making sure that it fits it aligns with, you know, your beliefs, and it aligns with, you know, things that you’re comfortable with. And so part of that is definitely checking out the, you know, about us section of a website and just sort of seeing like, is it just all the, you know, old white guy, figureheads? Or is there some diversity? Now, that’s not to say, if you go into a job interview, and they’re about us pages all, you know, sort of like the stereotypical figureheads, you can ask about that and say, so I noticed on the website that the whole executive team seems to be all of you know, it’s pretty homogenous is, you know, easy way to say that it all seems fairly, you know, there’s not a whole lot of diversity, you know, what is this organization doing to address that? Or is there something I’m not seeing? Because the website is only just a quick snapshot of what’s going on within the company. And so I think that that’s a really great place, you know, to ask about in an interview, like when they say, Do you have any questions for us? That’s an excellent question to be asking.

John Wall 9:14
Yeah, and I think people downplay that they want to be there and not ask any difficult questions and kind of feel like they’re the ones being grilled. But it is a two way street. You don’t be afraid to ask any of the hard questions that you want to ask as far as, what’s life like here? How do I get treated? You know, there’s a bunch of things that again, this is your opportunity to be truthful and honest about everything going on in the process. And if you if you’re just gonna kind of smile and accept things well, you could be opening yourself up to a lot of hassle further on down the line.

Katie Robbert 9:44
Agreed. Agreed. So what other red flags John, should you be looking for? In interview? I mean, I think a big one is them not telling you what the salary entails? That’s a huge red flag.

John Wall 10:01
Yeah, you know, that’s a negotiation thing. And that’s fine. Because I mean, I would let that’s not a deal breaker. But I would say the same thing goes for you do not agree to anything in the interview, you know, if somebody is being cagey about numbers, then you just say, well put it on paper and send it to me. And we can talk about it. And the same deal. If they say, Well, we’re going to offer you x say, Well, I have to go back and figure out if this is a decent offer and decide what I want to do. And it’s perfectly fine to and this is something to keep in mind, throughout all the process, don’t have a single interview going, you know, have multiple interviews going if you can, so you can always be like, Well, I’m actually waiting to hear back from another company in the next two days. So I’m not going to do anything before Friday, that you can always buy yourself more time to consider what’s going on. And, yeah, compensation as a whole, you know, we could do a whole hour just on comp. But a short tip on that is just the fact that everything is flexible and negotiable. For example, one thing that I did in tech a number of times at small companies, you know, startups that are just where cash flow is critical. My wife had a great health plan. So I would always go in and say, Look, you know, comp is this, but I’m willing to not take the health care plan. And so that’s like a 15, at that point, that was like a 15 or $20,000 advantage to them. And so I in fact, I would even say, Look, can you give me five additional in salary, if I agree never to take the health plan? And I’ve had that taken up? You know, they actually pick that up more than once. days off flexible schedule. You know, do people actually take vacations? If you’re not going to take any vacations? Can you cash your personal time back in, all that kind of stuff can really change the shape of a deal, you know, like, you may think you’re actually not getting a great salary. But if you’re living the life you want to live, there’s a lot to be said for that. And there’s even crazier stuff going on now with like, fully virtual jobs, where people have two or three drop jobs, right. I’ve heard of CTOs that are, you know, outsourcing half their work to subcontractors and having three salaries come in? Like that kind of stuff happens? And is real. But yeah, I don’t know. How about other comp stuff? Is there anything else that is either red flag or stuff that you have used in the past to get to the end of that?

Katie Robbert 12:17
I mean, always the, you know, the the flexible time, the vacation days, those kinds of things. Those are I think those are always red flags. If the hiring manager isn’t willing to discuss those, or it’s non negotiable. I mean, that’s the same is true for the salary. You know, I think the you know, in terms of setting boundaries, I think your advice is spot on, John, like, you know, always make sure that you are taking the time. So if they throw an offer at you right there and then, you know, it can be tempting to want to say yes, I want to take this right now, because I have nothing else going on. And this is my last, you know, hurrah of potential job interviews, you know, take a minute breathe. And say, let me get back to you, you know, I want to think about this, let me get back to you. A red flag is if a hiring manager says, well, we need to make a decision pretty quickly. So I need you to let me know, by the end of today, you know, that, to me is a red flag, because they’re desperate, they’re willing to just put any warm body in the seat, and you happen to maybe check like six of their 10 boxes. And so if they are pressuring you to take a job, because you know, they have to make a quick decision, that’s not your problem. Your problem is not, you know, their sense of urgency is not your issue. So that to me, is definitely a red flag. If they’re pressuring you to make a decision right then in there. And I’ve definitely been in that place where they’re like, well, we need to know immediately if you can take this job, or else we’re going to offer it to the next person. Great. offer it to the next person, let them take it, let them deal with your inability to plan.

John Wall 13:52
Yeah, that’s just like classic use card negotiation, you know, and it’s really a cultural thing, like, some companies that’s expected, like you’re expected to refuse the first two offers. And but other companies are like, Well, no, we’ve got a lot of qualified candidates. So if you’re not going to take the first one, like you’re out, so that’s, that’s where having a network on LinkedIn or in the community or whatever is huge. Like, if you can find out what’s accepted at that company, like which way do they normally go, the thing you never want to find yourself into. And we just hear so many people in this situation where they go back and forth, or they just jump at the first salary thing. And then four months into the job, they realize like the other five people around them on the bullpen are all getting paid more than them because they held out for one or because they knew somebody or you know, whatever. But and the problem is, you can’t get out of that hole. You know, even when you jump up to the next level, you end up having to jump companies and come back, which, you know, that’s a whole nother effective strategy that tends to work. I mean, there depends on the culture of the company, but there are a lot of places where you just you go interview every year just so when you come back for your review, you can be like, well, I can leave today for x so you know, what’s my race gonna be? Another easy hit on that too, is You know, there’s People who question those numbers or whatever, but those are at least you have some kind of baseline, you can go back to an employer and be like, well look a great Like, this is what you should be paying. And then it puts the burden on them to prove why that salary should be more or less or whatever. But you at least have data to stand for, which is, you know, everybody from Trust Insights loves having some actionable data to throw down and defend your position.

Katie Robbert 15:23
A big red flag in terms of the interviewer is if they won’t clearly explain what the interview process entails, and how quickly they are actually looking to make a decision. So I’ve definitely been in interview situations where it just feels like it goes on for months where, all right, well, we just want you to come back for like another third. Okay, now we want you to meet this person, okay, now we’re gonna meet this person, that’s all well and good. But I’m now taking time out of my full time job to come interview for your potential job. And I think that that’s something that the hiring managers we all tend to forget is like, sometimes people looking for a job is very much frowned upon. So they’re trying to do it in secretive. And they’re sort of forced into this position where they’re, you know, lying essentially, to their current employer about where they’re going, they’re taking doctor’s appointments, they’re doing this, they’re doing that. And so if a hiring manager, if a potential employer is not understanding of the fact that you’re juggling a current job, and that looking for a new job is frowned upon, then, you know, they need to be able to work with you and not just continue to put put you in a position of feeling like you’re just lying to everybody. And then you know, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot. They’re already not really respecting your time and working within, you know, what you have to get. So I think that’s definitely a red flag.

John Wall 16:51
Yeah. And that’s one of the ways you hit it right. And you’re starting to feel if you can work together, like if somebody’s going into the fourth or fifth interview, it’s fine for you to be like, well, let’s do this over at coffee at 7am. Or let’s do this over at some restaurant at 6pm. So they’re not screwing up my day job as as how things go. So that can be part of it. We have chippers on the line here. He’s saying he is a longtime fan of the show, not a first time listener nor caller. not treating as a game to win. Yeah, that is, you know, that is definitely part of it. And then the other thing he said was this. Yeah, however organized or disorganized, the hiring process is, is just a reflection of, you know, what it’s going to be like at the company. So it’s true. If you if you can take some uncertainty, and this doesn’t bother you, that’s fine. But if you’re find yourself getting angry and frustrated before you’re even a door, yeah, maybe that’s something you want to think that there are other options that will be a better fit for you in this situation?

Katie Robbert 17:52
Well, I want to go back to his first comment of focusing on finding a good match and not treating it merely as a game to win. So think about job interviews, like relationships, because, you know, you spend the majority of your time with these teams with these people, they become basically your second family. And so if you, if you approach it like it’s a game to win, then that’s likely how you’re approaching personal relationships as well. You know, not a therapist, but have definitely seen my fair share of these dysfunctional situations. And think about treating it the same way that you would treat your own personal friendships and relationships, and you’re not just looking to find a good match and win the game, as Chip is saying, you want to find something that is potentially long term sustaining. Now some people, they really are just looking for a paycheck, and that’s fine. But for a lot of us, we’re looking for organizations where we can feel integrated into the culture, we can feel like we’re part of the quote unquote, family, because it is where you spend the majority of your waking hours. And so I think, you know, this is a really good piece of advice is, it’s not just a game to win, you really need to make sure that it’s the right move for you and for the organization. And so really taking the time to vet, you know, I saw a lot of red flags, but can I live with them? In my situation when Chris interviewed me? Yeah, I could live with working for someone who was a little bit off the wall and kind of quirky, because at no point, did he give me an indication that he wasn’t a good person, and that he was going to treat me poorly as an employee. And so I can live with someone who’s a little bit, you know, of an oddball. That’s fine. I could totally do that. And it ended up working out really well. And so you just have to start to make those decisions of Okay, this looks like it might be a red flag. Maybe the organization is disorganized, but can I live with that? Do I thrive in chaos? Maybe it’s going to be different for everybody.

John Wall 19:56
Yeah, another thing that goes into all this too, especially with younger organizations, If you’re provided any equity, if you’re going to be giving any kind of shares, this is something if you’ve never dealt with any of this before, find somebody who knows how this works, and talk to them and get advice, because this is not something to play around and try and figure out, you know, for yourself, but the big, the biggest chunk of this is, so many people get wrapped in like, Oh, I’m getting x 1000 shares at X dollars, you know, like it’s selling for, we think it’s worth 30, and I’m going to be able to buy him for a buck, you need to really dig in and find out how many shares are outstanding, and what types of shares are outstanding, because the biggest thing that I’ve seen over and over again, are people that get all excited about their shares. And they realized, you know, later on far too late that, you know, yeah, there’s a million employee shares out there, but the four founders have, you know, 65 million shares of their own, and oh, by the way, there’s our voting and yours aren’t, you know, there’s all this kind of stuff where you think you’re, you know, this might be a lottery ticket for a huge payout. And you realize that, no, you could actually be working there, you know, 10 years and go public and get a check for like, $5,000, you know, just something that’s completely gets burned. So, yeah, get help on that. If you’ve never, you know, find a mentor, mentor, somebody who can get you straight on that. And that’s another one where don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. As far as like, how many shares are out there? Who owns them? Is that public record? You know, what’s the share structure? Are there other types of shares on top of the ones that are given out? Chris says, Never chip says never take a job based on equity. That’s gravy, you should never plan on any Yeah, it’s a lottery ticket, you know, there’s, it’s a trade, it’s like, if you’re gonna go with this company, where they’re gonna want you to work 24 hour days and sleep in the office, like, that’s okay. If you also get a lottery ticket that like, maybe you’ll never have to work again, if it goes, right. Like, if you’re okay with that insane culture, and doing a sprint for a year, for a huge payout, like, that’s fine. But definitely don’t get yourself into a situation where you think you’re gonna give your life to someplace and then find out you’re getting a check for 5000 bucks, like, that’s just no more greater suffering on the startup front than that.

Katie Robbert 22:01
Well, and I think that that, you know, goes back to these decisions are personal. So what I can tolerate, and what John, what you can tolerate, are probably two different things. And you know, we have different, you know, home lives, and we have different, you know, situations of people who rely on us and what we need. And so all of this is very personal to you, as the person who is, you know, looking for a job. So, a lot of why this came up was because we very, you know, publicly saw, Elon Musk took over Twitter, he fired a bunch of people and then went, Oh, shit, I still need these people. Let me bring them back. And all of us as outsiders are sitting here going, Well, I would never go back. I was just fired. But not everybody has that luxury of saying no, some people need, you know, the paycheck, they need the health insurance, they need the income coming in, despite how dysfunctional and toxic the environment is, because they suddenly just found themselves with no money coming in. You know, one of the one of the hard questions that I don’t think I definitely never asked enough, as a job candidate, didn’t even think to ask it until sort of it was too late was, you know, what is the plan for if the company is acquired. So for example, I joined at my previous job, I joined the agency and was sold on this culture, and it was an ESOP. And so it was employee owned, and after certain amount of time, you’re vested and blah, blah, blah, Well, lo and behold, less than a year later, which had already been in the works, the company was acquired, and none of that mattered. So only the people who had been there long enough for their shares were invested. And I hadn’t been there long enough. So I didn’t get anything, even though I was part of the team. That was one of the selling points for the agency as a whole. And so I think it’s completely appropriate for you to ask, you know, you’re telling me that I get all of these shares and this employee owned or these benefits of this vacation? But do you have a sense of what would happen if we were to be acquired? You know, and of course, they may not know they that may not be on the roadmap, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea for you to at least ask the question, especially if you’ve been through it beforehand, like you know, I’ve been through it, John, you’ve been through it. I know Chris has been through it. We all know what happens, like, you tend to lose your vacation time, you tend to lose the benefits that you’ve become accustomed to. All the things you were told it was going to happen suddenly go away. They take away the coffee machine in the kitchen. Why would they do that? Because the new owners don’t believe in coffee. They only drink herbal tea, and that’s fine, but God dammit I need my coffee. And so those are just some of the things like making sure that you know what’s going to happen to you in those situations is a self protection if and if the hiring manager isn’t even willing to entertain In the question, even if they don’t know the answer, if they’re not even willing to talk about the potential, then I think that’s a huge red flag, because companies are going through so much turnover in terms of mergers and acquisitions. It’s especially in tech, like, you have to expect that that’s coming at some point.

John Wall 25:20
Yeah, and that’s, it’s too bad. So you totally got the worst case scenario of that, because it’s in situations like that you want to look in if it says like, okay, it’s gonna take two years before you’re eligible for a payout. There can be language in there that says, you know, but if we’re sold within that two years, you still that still trips your equity, and you get it. And if people say, Well, no, we don’t want people winning the lottery like that. You can say, Well, how about if it says, I get 50%? You know, if I’m at 50%, or whatever the prorated amount is, I get the prorated amount. Because yeah, for somebody to be there almost a full year and like, get nothing from an acquisition. That’s pretty weak. That’s pretty, pretty lame, but you know, it is what it is.

Katie Robbert 25:58
Yeah. So we definitely got some feedback. So we asked, as I mentioned, we asked our Slack community analytics for marketers, and you can join our free Slack community at trust marketers, we ask them, some of the red flags that they have seen, or things that they look out for, and the one that I saw a lot was, work hard, play hard. And so this, again, this comes back to your own personal preference, but that is essentially code for, we are going to grind you into the ground, and maybe occasionally buy you really crappy pizza once a month, and say thank you, and like, we’re gonna give you a t shirt instead of a raise, because we spent $50,000, on shirts that are just going to sit in hrs office because nobody wants them, instead of compensating people. So definitely, you know, if you’re not comfortable in that kind of event, some people are, and that’s fine. That’s totally respectable at a certain point in your life, maybe that’s what you want. I’m beyond that point in my life at this at this stage, like I was fine with that when I was in my 20s. And now that I’m still in my 20s, and will forever be, I’m not comfortable with that culture anymore. And so that’s something when you see on a job description, we work hard, we play harder. That’s a huge red flag. What how, what is your interpretation of that, John?

John Wall 27:23
Yeah, yeah, I mean, in a lot of cases, that’s a hustle, right? It’s basically just saying, you’re gonna have to put in crazy hours. And that’s the way it goes, I go more with work hard, pay hard. Like, that’s really what it’s supposed to be. If you’re willing to work like a maniac, you should get paid like an exceptional performance. You know, and it’s kind of ridiculous for people to say, you know, we want exceptional performance, but we’re paying market rate. But then you do make a good point, like for somebody in their 20s, or a younger person, this is your chance to find your tribe, in your culture, like you may want, there may be places you want to go, where, hey, I go in here, and maybe I’m not getting paid as much as I can, and I’m having to work like an animal. But I’m getting the opportunity to work with these people who have been successful before or this is some kind of extraordinary opportunity. Like you look at the you know, the all these stories, right? The Pay Pal mafia, the, you know, folks that go a million years ago, and HP but there’s all these places where, you know, people kind of went in there learned about a winning culture, and then everybody spins off. And the thing with that, though, is it has to be a network, like when those people spin off to other companies, they bring you with them, and they give you new opportunities. Because unfortunately, yeah, I’ve worked in a lot of hostile cultures where, you know, the founders cashed out, and that was the end of it, like they left the workforce, you know, now they’re like, you know, Yak herding in the Himalayas, instead of working in like, sorry, I’m not going to move to the Himalayas. Like, that’s not going to happen so

Katie Robbert 28:45
well, and I think that that brings up a good point. So you as the candidate as you’re evaluating a potential employer, you know, you should be asking questions around what are the expectations of working outside of business hours, you know, and of course, you’ll probably get some sort of BS like, oh, you know, people do it. But we don’t encourage it, we don’t expect it. The fact that people do it means that it happens. And if you are not comfortable with that, that’s okay. You can say great. As soon as five o’clock hits, I sign off. And yeah, I’m not reachable. And that could be for a variety of reasons. It could be personal preference, it could be family responsibilities, you know, whatever the reason, you don’t owe them an explanation. And if their expectation is that you are signed on past five o’clock, they need to help you understand why that is. So when I worked at the agency, we had a client who was based in the UK, so obviously, there was a time difference. And so I was okay being up earlier in the morning. And so I was okay dealing with the client at like, six 7am. And sometimes I would get text messages from them around 630 In the morning, but I’ve set that expectation and that boundary that I would prefer that to getting at text or email at seven o’clock at night, when I’m winding down with my family. And so we were able to structure the team to have, you know, all of those different time zones covered. And we sort of identified who on the team would be on call at those times, so that you didn’t have 10 people trying to be online 24 hours a day at all times, that also goes with you have to set those expectations with the client of here’s who you can contact and here’s, you know, within reason, the hours, and here are the emergency situations where you can reach out to us outside of those times, and is having those conversations and setting those boundaries goes a long way. Because then the client knows what to expect, you know what to expect. Even if you’re not working in an industry where you have clients, it still goes the same with internal teams, when I worked in software development, we had code releases at three o’clock in the morning, because of the amount of time the release would take. And because of the expectation with our customers that the website that they used for the product would be online, starting at eight o’clock in the morning, Eastern and so we had to start at 3am. And so as we were interviewing engineers, we have set the expectation, when we do a release, you need to be available at this time. Now granted, it only happens once every two months. But that’s when it happens there. It that’s non negotiable. And so if you’re not okay with that, that’s okay. But that’s how it works.

John Wall 31:29
Yeah, that’s funny. Chip had a, quote, your work hard is code for not pricing correctly or don’t have a business model is yeah, that’s about it, if you’re having to fight and get through it, he also brought up an interesting point, you know, if working hours and cultures are being exaggerated by the senior staff, which is what happens all the time, you know, try to talk to a non manager, and I was, that was one of my tips. I’ve been in a number of positions, you know, Mar tech stuff. So I always get at least one interview with somebody on the IT team, you know, because you’re gonna get an entirely different picture, there’s been more than one job that I have not taken. Because after talking to an IT person, I got a different opinion on, you know, how things actually work and who has technical ability and doesn’t and what’s expected and how you’re expected to perform out of hours and things like that. And so yeah, that’s those are all great things to, to jump in on is that, you know, getting a different opinion. Chris also texted in before he left about Glassdoor if you’re not aware of Glassdoor that is your best friend as far as being able to dig in. And many companies, there’s 1000s of reviews up there, you can get a feel for what the culture is like and get some interesting feedback there. So

Katie Robbert 32:40
well, in the way that Glassdoor typically works is you have people who are responsible for the reputation of the company, saying all of these glowing things about the CEO about the culture. And so you can see those verses, let me see if I can actually find what he gave us a couple of screenshots. But basically, you know, you’re gonna have two sides of the story. And it’s up to you to sort of sort through which one you think is, you know, reality. And so if you have the side of the story of See, here we are, oh, my goodness, my screen keeps jumping around. So which is not very helpful. Okay, here we go. So I’m going to present this just to sort of show cents, share screen, screen one. So you can see, we were asking in our Slack community, let me take that banner down, oops, I am just as much of a mess as John is with these buttons. And so basically, this is a screenshot from Glassdoor where, you know, recommend CEO approval business outlook. And so when you read this, you know, if your gut says this is all contrived, and it’s BS, definitely ask about it be like, you know, I saw this, but at the same time, you know, I saw this for the exact same company, expect your typical Asian utilize, you’ll be overworked and fatigued. Those are really good things to bring into the interview, to give the hiring manager the opportunity to respond and say, Yeah, you know, you know, the certain levels, they tend to get fatigued and they overwork their silos, and so be like, you know, help me understand how the silos work helped me understand. You know, the culture, the cattiness, I’m reading this, you know, is this happen a lot, especially if you have a lot of reviews that are similar to that. This probably likely what’s happening, you’re always going to get one person where they were just the wrong fed, and, you know, they’re probably just gonna put you on blast. It’s the same people who were told upfront that it was a 20 minute wait for food and they had to wait 21 minutes, and then they write a scathing review of the company. Like that’s always gonna happen. And so doing that homework ahead of time, similar to what we were saying with, you know, the about us and the diversity, bring that bring those questions into the interview for the hiring manager and say, This is what I’m seeing helped me understand what’s really happening.

John Wall 35:16
Yeah, and then the other one is LinkedIn. That’s even better if you can find personal links, so you can talk to people you actually know that is a much better source of info, then. Yeah, because Glassdoor it’s either angry people that have been laid off, or it’s managers trying to save the reputation of the company. And it is interesting to see even just, who cares about Glassdoor? You know, if they have a lot of reviews on Glassdoor, and they’re bad, and nobody’s aware of that, then that’s another red flag, something that you have to consider as you’re looking at this opportunity.

Katie Robbert 35:48
So John, I know you had a few more pieces of feedback from our community that you wanted to highlight.

John Wall 35:57
Oh, other ones that came in? Yeah, there was some interesting stuff. Leslie had a great quote anywhere that says, We are a family, I’m like, Well, yeah, you know, unless they are offering to put you in a nursing home when you’re 60. They’re not a family. You know, you hear that I hear the sports team analogy to I actually, that kind of strikes me as garbage also, you know, that’s like, well, as long as you’re great, we’ll keep you there. But, you know, basically, we’re free to fire you at any point. And anytime we really don’t care. So yeah, she was on the mark with that, you know, find out what we are a family actually means. And Shane is just saying, is it too good to be true? You know, there’s a lot of times where in an interview process, you’re going to be told all kinds of stuff about how great it is to work here. And if you find yourself just questioning that on its own, you know, whether that came in too late for me to load up. Was let me pull that one up. He was talking about during the interview process, if there if everybody uses your first name, basis, that, you know, that’s forced and weird.

Katie Robbert 36:57
I don’t know what you mean, John. So John, how do you feel about this interview? John? Are you finding this interview to be incredibly uncomfortable, John?

John Wall 37:04
Exactly. Yeah, Drew is the one that through that is I have to give you I mean, God said that in the middle. So that’s a great one Drew.

Katie Robbert 37:12
No, it’s yeah, no. And that’s a really good point. Because it’s definitely, you know, I think, you know, the way that he was positioned like they’re trying to overcompensate for insecurities and try to make themselves like, in control of the interview.

John Wall 37:29
Yeah, that’s, you know, there’s so many different ways that the process goes and what works, but you just kind of have to play it by ear as you go. Yeah. How about navigating boundaries? You have that on the on the list? What are some things that you’ve taken in? And when you’re going through the process? How do you try and get that clear from the front?

Katie Robbert 37:49
You know, and so it’s, it’s not an easy thing to do, especially if you are not hired yet. And so I can understand and respect where it can be a little intimidating to push back on a potential employer to say, these are the things I’m okay with. And these are the things I’m not. And so, you know, let’s say, you know, every December 2, you know, your child has an important appointment, or a sports thing or something, it’s okay to say, that’s a non negotiable day for me, I will not be working that day. But as you’re setting those boundaries, what the employer needs to hear is, and here’s what that looks like for you, my job will be covered, I will reach out to my, you know, counterpart, or I will let my, you know, contacts know ahead of time, I’m not available that day. So that you’re not just miss setting a boundary and saying, and this is it, but you’re also giving them some context as to, but don’t worry, here’s what that’s going to look like for you, my job will not suffer as I’m setting these boundaries. And so let’s say a boundary that you want to set is, I can only commit to working between the hours of 7:30am and 3pm. Well, the employer might say, okay, but our hours are nine to five. So that’s not going to work, your responsibility is to is to help them understand how that would work, for example, so like, okay, so I log in at 730 versus 9am. Here’s all the things that I will be able to accomplish before everybody’s online. And then when I have to sign off at three, and everybody else is online for an additional two hours, here’s what that looks like I will have already communicated the following three things I will have already delegated and I will have already followed up with my team and you know, so and so forth. So you can set a boundary for anything as long as you help the person on the receiving end of that boundary understand how they are going to be impacted by it. So John, you know, if I say to you know, I need you to work weekends, it’s totally appropriate for you to say, that’s not something I’m going to be able to do but here’s what I can do so that you don’t feel like you’re missing my presence on a weekend or or that you don’t feel like my job isn’t being covered on the weekends? And maybe you say, Okay, well, if you really need someone to work on the weekends, and that can’t be me, let me help you find a contractor that I can train and will work under me who will do that job. So that that responsibility is covered. Like there’s ways to have that conversation. So that you’re not just setting a boundary, which is totally appropriate, but you’re also helping your potential employer understand what that looks like, so that they feel more comfortable accepting the boundaries that you’re setting, and they can help you maintain those healthy boundaries as well, because they know what to expect from you.

John Wall 40:39
Yeah, and it’s, you know, all that kind of stuff, any kind of additional requests, and that can all be quid pro quo, right? Like, it’s okay, you need me weekend, that’s fine. But I’ll need to get three personal days, you know, later in the month to take care of all the stuff that I normally would have done on a weekend, you know, it’s not, I’m just not gonna throw you three extra days. And this is good. It’s a great thing talking about laying out the boundaries, because that’s another thing when you come to an interview, and they’re like, Do you have any questions? I can’t believe that there are people like, yeah, no, I have no questions. Even if you can’t think of anything, say, you know, what are? What’s the first two years gonna be like, because that just kind of covers everything you’re like, Okay, what happens in my day? what’s expected of me? When’s the review process? You know, do I have a shot at a promotion, like all you to try and find out what it’s like, okay, there. Because if you can, if they can describe what it’s like to be there, you at least have some kind of idea of what the culture is like, and how things happen, and where you could go, and what could, you know, be your end result after a couple of years and, you know, hopefully find a network and have a group of people that you’re going to work with effectively, and it’s a cultural fit.

Katie Robbert 41:42
You know, I really like that angle. Because, you know, a lot of times someone says, Well, what is a typical day look like? Well, every day is going to look different. Every one of our days looks different. But I think John, to your point of your question is, what can I expect my job to look like one year from now, two years from now. And if they say exactly the same as it is today, then you know, there’s no real upward mobility, there’s no chance for promotion, you know, you can ask questions about, you know, what do you offer for professional development? Or do you expect me to do it on my own time? You know, what does upward mobility look like? How often are people promoted? What’s the typical tenure of someone in my role, you know, and you have to make decisions for yourself, again, of what you’re comfortable with. And so, not everybody is looking for upward mobility. And that’s totally respectable, not everybody is looking to have everyday be different. Some people really thrive in the repeatability and the predictability of certain roles. And that’s good, too, that can be really comforting, and you know, very, you know, sustainable because you know what to expect. And so it just comes down to first you deciding what’s going to work for you, and then you figuring out what, you know, what a good match is going to be. You know, as we’re seeing all of these companies lay people off, it may feel like, okay, now all these people are looking for jobs. But these are people who have now been given this unspoken power and authority to set the terms of what’s going to work for them, because they’ve now seen the worst of the worst. And they can choose to be like, You know what, I’m never going to go back to doing that kind of a thing again. And so the rest of us who are looking for really smart and talented potential hires, were the ones who are going to have to work really hard to make sure that we are offering them something that’s valuable, something that they want to sign up for.

John Wall 43:41
Yeah, unfortunately, it’s an open market. You know, there’s, everybody has to figure out what needs to be offered and what can take in it is weird in that even though we have these huge laughs I mean, the job market is still hot, right? There’s a lot of open positions people are trying to fill. So it’s not the kind of thing where you have to take the most horrible thing in front of you. There’s still options for everybody so

Katie Robbert 44:03
So John, any final thoughts on identifying red flags or setting boundaries?

John Wall 44:09
Ultimately go with your gut? That is the biggest thing is it you know, like if you felt like it went, Well, that’s a great sign. And if you get a bad feeling about it, don’t beat yourself over the head. You either figure out what the five questions you need answered to change your mind or or don’t be afraid to walk away if it just doesn’t feel right.

Katie Robbert 44:26
I think that that’s absolutely spot on advice. And if you want to continue this conversation with us, you can join us at AI slash analytics for marketers is our free slack group. There will be no live stream next week next week is us thanksgiving John and I will both be face first into bowls of mashed potatoes and stuffing. We will be enjoying it thoroughly. But we will join you again the week after that. So until then. Adios

Christopher Penn 44:57
thanks for watching today. Be sure to subscribe to ours. Show wherever you’re watching it. For more resources and to learn more, check out the Trust Insights podcast at trust AI podcast, and a weekly email newsletter at trust Got questions about what you saw in today’s episode? Join our free analytics for markers slack group at trust for marketers, see you next time.

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