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Signs of a Nightmare Job?

Signs of a Nightmare Job?

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

October 21, 2010

A reader writes:

I applied for a position that looked great on paper – the organization, job duties, position, etc. I sent my cover letter and resume and within a week I had a call-back. I did a phone interview with one of my potential co-workers about my skills, salary expectations, and experience. Then, I was invited in to do a HR interview with a computer test before I met my potential co-workers and boss in-person.

The HR interview and computer test went well – no complaints. I was given the full job description packet, which had more detail about the position. Again, everything looked great and concise on paper. I then met with two potential co-workers for a face-to-face interview before I could meet with the actual boss. I felt as if the entire position had done a 180 on me. The two women had little information about the position and often contradicted what would be expected of me. They kept saying vague things such as “this position still needs to be defined” and “we need someone who is flexible.” I assumed at this point that they were simply disorganized and perhaps new at interviewing. They assured me that the boss would have more information about the position.

A week later, I went in to meet with the boss. She talked at long detail about herself and how busy she was – how involved she was in different projects, what her weekly schedule looks like, etc. I tried to keep the interview on track by asking about the job duties and what the most important aspects of the position were. Again, I was met with more confusion and contradictions. Afterwards, I met with the first two people for another interview and some written exercises. I left confused again, and ever since then I have had this bad feeling in my stomach I shouldn’t take the job if offered to me.

I was told that they would be making the final decision this week. However, I received an e-mail today stating that a completely different person wants a phone interview with me tomorrow. I was told that this person was in my job description and was mentioned to me previously. She was not. I have no idea who this person is or what my job relationship would be with her.

My question is – Is this job worth taking? Or am I creating unnecessary problems for myself? In this economy, and being a recent college graduate, I want to have a job. I want to work. However, this position seems highly inconsistent and I can’t shake this feeling that it may be more trouble than it’s worth. I’m not sure what I should do if offered this job.

It’s not always a terrible thing to walk into a situation that’s relatively undefined and to help define it. Sometimes it can be a great opportunity, in fact, because you can help mold the role and wear hats you might not have had a chance to wear otherwise — and other times it can be a nightmare.

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