Choosing a new employer is no easy task, so we’re alerting job seekers of seven interview red flags to help make the decision. 

Interview the Interviewer

As a job seeker, you understand the importance of preparing thoroughly for an interview.  You know employers will ask questions to see if your skills and personality are a fit for the position and the company, but if you’re a savvier job seeker, you realize the interview is a two-way process.  Accordingly, you should prepare key questions for the employer to see if their culture is a fit for you. You must interview the interviewer as well. 

Interview Red Flags

In addition to interviewing your interviewer to determine if the company will be a fit for you, you should also keep your eye out for the following seven red flags during the interview process.  They may indicate that the company you’re interviewing has some problems or issues you want to avoid.

1. Job description amnesia

After reading the job description multiple times and making sure you meet the skills and requirements, sometimes you can get stuck in an interview where you’re not sure you’re on the same page as the interviewer.  Be wary of interviewers who don’t seem to remember which role they’re trying to fill at the moment or don’t know exactly what the role requires, who it reports to, or other specifics.  It might be a sign that your interviewer didn’t prepare as well as you did for the interview.

2. Company culture conflicts 

While doing your due diligence and researching the company you’re interviewing with, you see engaging photos of cheerful team building exercises; light, airy open office spaces; and smiling, happy employees.  When you arrive, you see a drab, dimly-lit cubicle farm and employees who seem like they want to be anywhere but at their job.  If you get one impression from what the company says about itself online but find something radically different upon arrival, this could be a major red flag: false advertising.

3. Same old, same old

While it may not be a complete deal breaker, interviewers who ask only the same tired, cookie-cutter interview questions without coming up with anything specific to you as a candidate – your recent work history, past experience, expectations, etc. –may be “dialing it in”.  If each level of your interview process isn’t slightly different or doesn’t present new challenges, be alert.

4. Lackluster leadership

Even the position of your dreams and a fantastic team you get along with may lose their shine in a hurry if the company has poor senior leadership.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions about company leadership and do some research on the CEO on your own.

5. Future fuzziness

If your interviewers at all stages of the process can’t define the company’s mission, goals, and roadmap, be wary: an unclear future could indicate a shaky company.

6. Unpreparedness

Everyone you have contact with during the interview process should be prepared to interview you.  An unprepared interviewer isn’t able to give you the best window into the company or answer your questions insightfully, and they won’t be familiar with you or your skills as a candidate.  While this is a red flag, it is one whose importance you will need to decide personally.  Is lack of preparation a reason not to take the job? Only you can decide, but it doesn’t hurt to keep it in mind, especially if you’ve spotted other red flags along the way.

7. Tick tock, tick tock

While the time from interview to hire varies wildly depending on industry and even geographical location, companies do have control over many aspects of interview process length and style.  In general, a good company who really wants you on board should be trying to find ways to reduce or remove roadblocks that might delay the hiring process and cause you to decline their offer.  If the company isn’t in a sector known for long, drawn-out hiring processes due to security clearances and the like, an overly bloated or sluggish interview process might be something to consider.

By carefully assessing how the employer performs during the interview process, you will be better able to gauge if the company is the best fit.  Read Amy Elisa Jackson’s original article here.

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