back to blog

Run Away! Scariest Job Interview Red Flags

Employers know the risks of taking on a “bad hire.” It costs them valuable time and money (up to five times the employee’s annual salary, on average).  But what about the risks to you, the job seeker? You can’t afford to choose the wrong employer, either.

So why, then, do so many job seekers ignore red flags during the hiring process? It’s time to stop, look and listen. Here are some of the top red flags that could prevent you from accepting a dead-end job.

  1. The job doesn’t jive with the skills you have. More than one-third of all “failed hires” can be blamed on a poor skills match. Sometimes a job listing can bear little resemblance to the actual position because it’s either outdated, written by someone outside the department, or is based on the ideal “vision” for the position (as opposed to its daily reality). Take note of how the interviewer describes the position in-person and welcome skill assessment tests because they may be better indicators of whether or not your skills will be put to good use.
  2. The job seems too easy.A lack of opportunities for career advancement is the second most frequently cited reason for leaving an organization, according to research by Willis Towers Watson. This can be easily overlooked in a job interview, when you’re laser-focused on the position at hand. But, says the research, job seekers who desire career advancement should be looking for any mention of interesting challenges, income-raising potential, organized employee engagement efforts, and opportunities to move up. If, after interviewing, you see the job as a piece of cake, it may be time to question whether it will keep you satisfied.
  3. The interviewer should be docked for bad behavior. Job seekers know they need to keep it professional. But what happens when the interviewer doesn’t get the memo? Forbes warns not to dismiss behavior from your interviewer such as arriving late (or not at all) for a scheduled interview, badmouthing the last person who had the position, asking too-personal or inappropriate questions, and not paying attention to you during the interview.
  4. Everyone is stressed. It’s common to come across a “Stressy Bessy” at any office but if, when meeting with a team or when visiting for multiple interviews, stress seems to be the rule of the day, it’s a bad sign. The Daily Muse recommends smoking out a stressed-out culture by asking interviewers these two questions: “What’s your favorite part of your job?” and “If you had to describe the culture here in three words, what would they be?” Look for smiles, passion and clear answers. If you get blank, frazzled stares followed by sighs, consider it a sign the culture needs work.
  5. You just can’t see yourself fitting in. There’s good company culture and there’s bad company culture. But there’s also good company culture that just isn’t…YOU. Instead of trying to fit the mold of a potential employer’s culture, you should ask yourself whether you can truly see yourself being happy there. Research by Hiring for Attitude author Mark Murphy shows 46 percent of failed hires are let go because of poor attitude and mismatched culture.Take a look at the company’s core values and the benefits/perks you’ve been offered. If you don’t find yourself nodding in agreement vigorously, ask yourself why. If you thrive on structure but the work arrangement is flexible or if you prefer a private office but the environment is open office, consider whether these slight differences could turn into big problems for you.

Have you ever been disappointed in a job because you didn’t follow your gut? What other red flags have you learned to notice? Share them with us and your fellow job seekers here!


Image Copyright: ra2studio / 123RF Stock Photo