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What are some red flags from employers?

If I ever seriously get into computer science engineering, (which I hope I'll do) I'd like to know what to look out for. So, based on personal experiences, what are some of the biggest red flags to look out for with an employer, and what do they mean? Thanks so much for your time. career computer-science computer

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Alejandra’s Answer

Hi Myles!

I don't have red flag advice for computer-science specifically but I can give you some red flags about companies in general. There are some really important questions you should be asking when interviewing and these will give you the insights into the culture that will let you know to join or run. I hope these are helpful!

(a) Tell me about work-life balance on the team I'll be joining: How a company responds to this tells you A LOT. If they say they're working on this or are having issues with this, BIG RED FLAG. In my experience, this often means they have issues with it and either aren't doing enough about it or aren't looking to do anything about it. You don't want to work at a company that is "figuring out" work life balance, you wanna work somewhere where they already figured it out.

(b) What are some challenges the team is facing and what are the current plans to overcome these challenges? : This will tell you what the biggest pain points are on the team. If they're big issues are something you can handle, then great, but if you hear something during this questions and you're like "wow, Idk if I can deal with that" that's a red flag.

(c) What are some team members that have been working on the team long term?: If no one on the team has been there for more than 6 months- 1 year, that's a big red flag in my opinion. You want to work somewhere were people like to work, not somewhere were everyone is 1 foot in 1 foot out.

I hope this was helpful and good luck in your career!

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Lisa’s Answer

When considering employers, it's important to do your research so you can be as informed as possible before agreeing to an offer of employment. Just as employers carefully vet the right candidates, candidates should take the time to research the company.

Red flags to consider:

Online reviews from current and past employees - Read the positive and constructive feedback, and check the dates of submission. If there are a lot of recent negative reviews with specifics that are alarming to you, keep that in mind as you formulate questions to ask during the interview process.

Company financials - Are they a startup with little funding? Are they in an industry that is becoming obsolete?
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Mark’s Answer

Glassdoor is an excellent resource where people leave reviews of companies as an employer.

High turnover rate is a red flag - if people are leaving faster than they do at other companies this is a good indicator something is wrong.

A poor experience as a prospect is another red flag. Are they courteous and prompt in their communications? Does the job description make sense? If you interviewed, were they on time or did you wait in the lobby for an hour past your scheduled interview time?

Be wary of any company that makes part of your pay contingent on some activity or metric. Sales is an exception, but most of the time you want to be paid for your time, not for some threshold of achievement. This is a way to set you up to not get paid fairly.
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Asim’s Answer

This is very interesting question. Red flags depend on many variables e.g., economic conditions, industry momentum, market demand for the software technology or the specific technology being sought after as integral to other product being developed, funding, etc.
For a new software engineer, I would recommend 3 red flags to take into consideration in your research of the employer or even if you are employed already:
1. Succinct vision, mission, and goal for what product is being developed for what purpose (revenues, demand, etc.)
2. Clarity of product Software Architecture and Plan Of Record (POR) showing Delivery with MVP1, MVP2, MVP3,etc. and how many of them have been accomplished/ launched to date.
3. Funding available and secured along with resources/ people and tools being used.

These should provide you a good visibility into what the company is all about.
Good Luck!