There are scores of articles and books about red flags to look for when hiring a candidate.
But what about the red flags that candidates are looking for when going through the interview process?
Choosing the right job and work environment is key to everyone’s happiness in life, which is why you should have the mindset that your potential employer should try to impress you just as much as you are trying to impress them during a job interview.
In this article, we will quickly list the top 10 red flags to consider when you begin interviewing. If you encounter any of these during a job interview, we are not necessarily advising you to walk away. However, it is definitely advisable to learn more about the company, the position and your co-workers before accepting the offer.
1. They don’t ask if you have any questions.
An interviewer should always want to hear if the candidate has any questions about the role or the company in order to ensure a good match. Good communication is vital to a successful business, so if an interviewer does not exhibit good communication on your first experience at their office, it is not a great sign. An ideal workplace gives their employees a voice and opens up dialogue for questions and conversation to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
2. They are not respectful of your time.
If a potential employer repeatedly reschedules your interview date at the last minute, or has you waiting over 15 minutes for the interviewer without a solid excuse, this is a bad sign. If your employer isn’t concerned about making a good first impression and does not value your time, do you think that attitude will get better once you are on their payroll? There is nothing more frustrating than coming fully prepared for a meeting with your higher-ups only to have it cancelled or rescheduled at the last minute.
3. There are indications that your profession is not respected.
One candidate interviewing for a sales position was advised to “always remember the ABCs — always be closing!” He was not impressed that this was the best bit of advice the interviewers had for him when he asked about what it took to be successful in that position, and slightly offended that they felt he needed a reminder about this basic aspect of sales.
4. Hostility or intimidation is being exhibited, perhaps coupled with enticing offers and compliments.
The same candidate later in his interview was told that sales professionals that did not meet their goal in 3 months were usually “axed”. This intimidating statement seemed unnecessary for a first interview. Some interviewers use intimidation to put candidates to the test and see how much pressure they can handle — but it’s really not a good technique. Aggression balanced out with kind words/talks about how great the company is are great control tactics, but are also the hallmarks of an abuser. It’s no wonder this sales candidate refused the generous job offer when it came in.
5. The offer comes in quickly, and after one interview.
Of course, this isn’t always a red flag. If you are obviously a good fit for the company, or if experts in your profession are difficult to find, a quick offer is a sign of a smart company that means business. However, if you notice that there are lots of open positions in the company and they seem a little too eager to get you to sign on the dotted line, this may be a sign of a desperate business that is in troubled waters. Bide your time for a maximum of one week after the offer is sent and learn more about the company using resources like Glassdoor.
6. The interviewer is not prepared with your resume and a list of questions.
Hiring the right candidate is of monumental importance to any company. If your interviewer does not seem prepared for your interview or the conversation seems unprofessional, what do you think working with them on important projects will be like?
7. The office energy feels off, and the vibes are not positive.
OK, hear us out on this one. Although “vibes” cannot be quantitatively measured, you should keep your eye out for how other workers are behaving in the office. Is one guy practically nodding off at his computer, while another woman rushes anxiously around the office with a look of fear in her eyes? Are none of the colleagues talking to each other, smiling, or looking happy? Is there a blatant lack of diversity in the workplace which does not reflect the locality? These are all big red flags, and they are easy to pick up on.
8. Inappropriate behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable.
You’re not sure if it’s just in your head or not, but it feels like your interviewer is surprised by how you look. As the interview progresses, you feel like you’re being treated differently than other interviewees would be. Go with your instincts and learn more about the company before joining the team. It goes without saying that any employer that will treat you differently based on how you look, especially if it is due to age, disability, race, gender or sexual orientation is probably not your best choice for a workplace.
9. Unclear expectations about your role and overall company strategy.
This is one of the most common and biggest red flags. If your interviewer is unable to answer basic questions about your role, or a thorough job description has not been presented to you, it’s like a recipe for miscommunication and disappointments. It is also an indication that the company lacks direction, organization and a solid plan. No matter how great a candidate you are, you are not going to be able to fix that.
10. High turnover.
As a candidate, always ask who you will be replacing and why that person left. If the role is new, you will need extra initiative and self-starter energy to take control of the position and prove how you can enhance the company. If you are replacing someone else, it’s important to know why they left so you don’t end up in the same position too.
These are just some of the most common red flags that candidates might see during an interview.
The appearance of any of these red flags does not necessarily mean you should run away — after all, every company has bad days, and joining a team during a transition/growth time may prove to be a huge opportunity for your career. Be careful not to judge an entire company based on one person, especially if that person is not going to be your direct line of report. However, it is always a good idea to do a little bit more research about a company if any of these red flags present themselves, so you can make an informed decision when presented with a job offer.
What kind of red flags have you seen from employers or candidates? Do you have any interview horror stories you’d like to share? Please feel free to comment below – we would love to hear from you.
And if you are looking for an industry expert who will guide you through the career search and interview process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts at Longmire Staffing Services.