A job interview is a two-way street of assessing whether this could be a healthy and sustainable relationship for both sides.
Of course you should be as professional and amicable as possible during the interview process, but be sure the job you’re vying for lives up to your own standards.
It may seem like a dream job at first, especially if it comes with a higher salary. It’s also easy to get blind-sided because you managed to beat out the competition and that can be both extraordinarily difficult and empowering.
However, keep a close eye out for these five red flag warning signs leading up to the offer to avoid a potentially bad fit.
These tips are also solid for anyone wading about in the dating pool, but that’s for a different post…
Vague Job Description
So they’ve thrown out just enough keywords in the job description to perk up your interest, but what exactly would you be doing all day?
The employer may have needed to take a look at these job descriptions, or maybe it’s a position that is still being solidified as far as purpose. Whatever the reason, that’s an immediate red flag for disorganization and a hazy attempt at building a company.
Another scenario that you may face is being interviewed by multiple people at the same company who each seem to have a different perspective on what the job actually entails. You answer more and more questions about yourself, only to become increasingly confused as to what the company actually needs.
If that’s the case, it’s a trap.
Hiring Manager Wants You To Jump Through Too Many Hoops
Unless you’re a circus performer or Olympic gymnast, avoid jumping through actual hoops if asked. You may have read the job description wrong.
But if you’re being asked to jump through figurative hoops such as an unending amount of interviews and/or assignments, be forewarned. This may be a sign workers are pushed to overwork without fair recompense.
If you are given assignments or need to create presentations as part of the interview process, compensation is typically offered for your time regardless of whether you snag the job. Immediately that shows respect for your effort.
Criticizing Past Employees
Imagine a scenario where the interview is going great. You have an undeniable rapport with the interviewer. You’ve even made him/her full-belly laugh a few times.
But then they launch into a stinging tirade about how lazy and incompetent the employee you’ll be replacing was. It’s an uncomfortable and inappropriate situation, and is a definite warning sign.
If they’re so quick to bad mouth those under them to near strangers, what will happen to your own reputation if hired? Not only that, but it places your relationship with the interviewer as a co-conspirator of work space gossip before even signing a contract. They’ve immediately shown that the work environment is most likely toxic. Steer clear.
A response via email within a week or two is normal, especially early on in the hiring process. Finding the right candidate can be a chaotic process of sifting through many, many emails, so sometimes things can slip through the cracks of an inbox.
However if an interviewer is quite late to the interview itself, repeatedly begins to schedule the interview but never finishes, or refuses to give you a straight answer for months on end, then you might want to back away slowly and place your effort elsewhere.
They Want To Hire You Immediately
If you’re in an interview for only 15 minutes and they want to hire you on the spot, stop and reassess.
Why do they so desperately need someone? Is there high turnover at this company? Are they urging you to quit your job immediately and forego the typical two week notice? Or maybe this company has a bad reputation that you are unaware of. Either way, it’s probably not the right fit.
An evergreen rule of thumb is to always extensively research a company’s integrity before signing any sort of contractual agreement.
Not every situation like this will lead to negative answers, but it’s still good to be suspicious of so easily landing a job you believed was competitive.
Be wary of red flag warning signs while applying and interviewing for a job. The decision to commit to a position and for an employer to hire you should be mutually beneficial. As stated before, it’s a two-way street.
This guide presents five of those cautionary signs, though there are certainly more. Do you have any stories of interviewers acting questionable during the hiring process? Let us know in the comments!
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