Starting a new job is a big change, so it’s important that you’re comfortable with the pace your new employer does business. Every organization is different, but there are some signs that call for a closer look. Let’s look at what you can learn from how employees join, train for, and leave positions at a company.
The application and interview process can seem really slow when you're applying for jobs. According to Glassdoor, the average length of the hiring process in 2020 was 23.8 days. That number can vary; job sectors like restaurant and supermarket work had much shorter averages (10.2 and 12.3 days), but generally, a very fast hiring process is a yellow flag. You don’t want to work for a company that rushes big decisions or seems desperate to fill positions that workers keep leaving. Ask for more information if the interview process seems to be moving quickly or if the starting date is sooner than expected. If you’re qualified and a position has been empty for a long time, it may not matter that the employer is moving speedily. But if you’re uncomfortable with the pace of your hiring, you probably won’t be comfortable with the speed of business either.
Onboarding is the process of training and supporting employees as they start a new position. The onboarding experience can have a huge impact on employees and the company. If the employer doesn’t clearly lay out the onboarding process, you should ask for more information. The Society of Human Resource Management reported that longer onboarding processes are linked to better employee engagement, company reputation, and quality of new hires. On the other hand, rushed onboarding can be stressful for new hires. There’s always a lot to learn in a new position, so find out what to expect before accepting any offers.
Natural Turnover, High Turnover, and Growth
Turnover measures how many people leave a company in a certain amount of time. Imagine looking at a company of 100 workers' employment records for a year. 0% turnover means no one left the company during that time, and 100% turnover means they had 100 employees leave that year.
You shouldn’t decide if a company or job is a good fit based on turnover alone. People leave their jobs for plenty of reasons. Maybe they’re moving, taking care of family, returning to school, or retiring. These examples are sometimes thought of as “Natural Turnover.” But turnover also includes people who quit their jobs and those who are fired. If a company has a very high turnover rate, there’s a good chance that some employees are either quitting because they aren’t happy there or being fired for not meeting company standards.
But it can be hard to figure out what amount of turnover is “normal” and what amount should worry you. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a chart of the turnover rates for different jobs over the past few years (see above). Some jobs have much higher turnover than others. For example, most state and local government jobs have had turnover rates of 20% or less for the last five years, but food service jobs have had a rate of around 75%.
So check how many job postings that company or location has when you apply. If they’re hiring many different jobs at the same time, you should ask why the positions are open in your interview. If they’re hiring because of retirement, an employee is moving, or growth in the business, that’s a good sign. If not, you should ask what makes someone a good fit for the position. This can give you an idea of what type of workers tend to stay in that job. Before deciding, think about whether you’re that kind of worker or if you would prefer to keep looking at other options.