In the nervous haze of preparing for interviews, it's easy to forget your personal stake as a job seeker. Interviews only offer a small glimpse of what it's like to work for an employer, so you should pay attention to subtle signs of an off-putting environment. Watch out for these common interview red flags to weed out bad job offers.
1. Unprepared Interviewer
Beware of interviewers who don't bother to read your resume. Smart leaders thoroughly research job seekers and use one-on-one time to probe deeper, as they depend on direct reports to meet goals. Poor preparation is a sign of an inexperienced or unqualified manager. No matter how great the job seems, dealing with a weak, disorganized leader every day is tiring and damaging to career growth.
2. Inappropriate Questions
Getting to know you is important, but interviewers should never cross the line and ask personal questions. Many clever hiring managers use conversational tactics to encourage job seekers to open up, but reputable ones back off when you steer the conversation elsewhere. Think twice about working for the company if the interviewer can't stay objective and avoid legally protected topics, such as marital and family status.
3. Rude Behavior
Showing basic kindness and respect toward job seekers should be a top priority for any recruiter. Hiring managers who check emails or take calls in the middle of an interview don't value your time, so don't expect them to be polite or supportive once you are hired.
4. Late Interviewer
Sadly, some hiring managers don't hold themselves to the same standards they expect of job seekers. When an interviewer shows up late with no apology, it sends a clear message that you are unimportant and unworthy of an explanation. A manager who doesn't care about making a good first impression isn't likely to improve after you get the job.
5. Loose Job Description
Many new and struggling companies have trouble defining their needs in a job description, choosing to hire for cultural fit over expertise. If you don't have a clear understanding of the role, be prepared for a chaotic or evolving workplace where your role might change drastically within your first few months on the job.
6. Negative Attitude
The last thing you want to do is work for a hiring manager who badmouths the company or employees. If a potential boss has no problem sharing negative information with job seekers, don't be surprised when your reputation is targeted down the road.
7. High Turnover
A high turnover rate for well-paying jobs is a common trait of toxic cultures. Ask the interviewer why the previous hire left. If the role was filled repeatedly over a short period of time, you're better of holding out for a job with a better track record.
8. Negative Reviews
Good employees can't get away from bad workplaces fast enough, and they often leave a trail behind. Research online and word-of-mouth reviews to get the lowdown on bad work environments or leadership teams. If you still decide to interview, show up armed with thoughtful questions about topics, such as leadership style, promotions and performance evaluations.
Interviews give job seekers a window into a company. To land the right position, set standards and walk away when interview red flags are overwhelming.
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