7 Red Flags To Watch Out For During Your Interview

Elizabeth Witbeck

7 Red Flags To Watch Out For During Your Interview

If you have been invited to a job interview, you are probably very excited for the opportunity to meet with management at a new company. You might be tired of being unemployed and applying to so many positions. At this point, you’d be willing to accept any job offer that came your way.

Always remember that interviews are a two-way street: it is an opportunity for you and the management to get to know each other and see if you would be a good fit. There will be times when companies will not be a good match. Some companies are truly horrible places to work.

Beware of businesses where you wouldn’t want to work, no matter how much they paid you. Here are some of the biggest red flags you should look for during an interview.

1. They are late or don’t show up for interview

You and the hiring manager set up a 2 p.m. time for a phone interview. You sit by the phone, waiting for the call. The time comes, and you haven’t heard the phone ring. You wait a few more minutes, thinking they are probably just running a bit behind schedule. The minutes pass by, until you realize that the person is not calling at all.

There is truly no reason for a person to show up late to an interview, or forget about an interview entirely. This kind of behavior shows disrespect and disorganization. If a person is going to be running late, the proper thing to do would be to contact you to let you know.

They should also contact you in case they need to reschedule. If a person is not interested in showing up to your meeting, they are showing you that you are not a priority to them.

If your interviewer does not show up at your designated time, be sure to contact them to let them know that your interview was missed. They may have an excuse and want the opportunity to reschedule.

2. They are too eager to hire you

Hiring is an expensive process. It takes a lot of time, money and resources to find people for positions. Businesses want to make sure that they make the best choice possible when they are hiring. Interviews are necessary to screen candidates in order to see who is the best fit. So as a candidate, you should be concerned if the employer seems too eager to hire you right away.

I have been in interviews where the manager didn’t ask me any questions, other than “What times are you available to work?” This might seem like a dream come true for many job candidates. However, you need to do more investigating before accepting any job.

If an employer is open to hiring you without doing any further screening, it means that they will accept any warm body that walks through the front door of the company. You can be sure that there are many people who are unhappy working there because they are an improper fit.

3. They don’t try to build any rapport with you

Your work environment is where you are going to be spending several hours of your week. It is essential that you enjoy working with your coworkers and management team. Your interviewing team should try to build rapport with you.

You should feel welcome at the interview. It is common for the conversation to steer towards lighter topics, such as what you enjoy doing for fun, or joking about things together. Building rapport is an important part of the interview sequence.

In some interviews, trying to build a human connection with the other person may feel like pulling teeth. Once I asked in an interview “Tell me a bit about yourself” and the hiring manager refused to divulge anything about herself. The interviewer might be reading questions off of a script, instead of engaging in real dialogue. They may be rude to you. An interview is an opportunity for two people to get to know each other, and it is important that both parties treat it as such.

4. They didn’t even look at your resume

A major red flag in an interview is when the hiring manager does not show up prepared. They may have forgotten to bring copies of your resume along with them. It may be clear from the questions that they are asking that they don’t remember you and they have never looked at your application materials.

It is important to work for people that are organized and prepared. When a manager comes into your interview without key materials, it shows that they do not take the meeting seriously. If they don’t take this interview seriously, they probably do not take other aspects of their management duties seriously.

A great boss will come in prepared to your interview, excited to talk about the aspects of your job application they think would make you a good fit for the position.

5. The company is always hiring

There are some businesses which always seem to be hiring. You may see signs outside their storefront that say “Hiring, Apply Today!” These companies may be posting daily on Internet career forums. This is a big red flag.

At companies that are always hiring, you can guarantee a few different things: there is high turnover, the employees are miserable in their positions, and management is desperate to fill roles.

You don’t want to work at a place that can’t keep people in a position for any longer than a few months. You deserve a career at a company where you can get promoted and advance in your field. Find a business that values employees who are loyal, dedicated and have good work ethic.

6. The manager can’t answer your questions.

You should always come prepared with a list of questions that you want to ask the hiring manager. A good manager will be eager to answer your questions and spend a good amount of time making sure they have answered them completely. They want to make sure you have a good impression of their business.

Some managers might be completed perplexed when you ask them certain questions. You may ask them “Describe the culture of your company” and they are unable to answer, because the company is in a state of flux and upheaval and doesn’t have a specific personality. You might ask “Tell me what a typical day looks like” and they are unable to give a definite answer to what responsibilities you would have, because they have not thought it through completely.

A manager should be able to answer any questions you have. If they can’t, it is never a good sign.

7. The manager asks personal questions

There are some questions that an interviewer should never ask you. These types of topics need to be avoided during your meeting: nationality, birth place, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, marital status, pregnancy, and other similar topics.

Interestingly, many managers are unaware of the laws surrounding such topics. A manager may ask “When did you graduate from college?” or “Where do you live?” in a completely conversational way, not realizing the discrimination implications of these questions. While some people are just trying to be friendly, other managers might have a hidden motive behind why they are asking these kinds of questions.

You are under no obligation to answer these kinds of questions. If the person you are meeting with asks you a question that is plain rude, it is fine to dodge the question and revert the discussion back to your actual skills and experience.

About The Author

Elizabeth Witbeck

Elizabeth Witbeck works as a college consultant and educational entrepreneur. She launched the first business in the United States that sends care packages to first generation college students, and also helps prospective college students on their applications. Her interests include education, poverty, and working with youth.

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