What is the biggest red flag that can be heard when being interviewed?

Updated on : January 17, 2022 by Jayden Hopkins



What is the biggest red flag that can be heard when being interviewed?

Very good question! And I would certainly add "flags":

Unclear / changing job description

A recruiter approaches you and after your willingness to know more about an opportunity, sends you the job description. A few days later, he receives an amendment to the initial one, expanding the responsibilities. A few days later, an interview would talk about responsibilities that were not mentioned anywhere before.

Social environment of the company

Sometimes you can meet with several people from the hiring company, depending on the position, you can go directly to top management. And that's a blessing to you

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Very good question! And I would certainly add "flags":

Unclear / changing job description

A recruiter approaches you and after your willingness to know more about an opportunity, sends you the job description. A few days later, he receives an amendment to the initial one, expanding the responsibilities. A few days later, an interview would talk about responsibilities that were not mentioned anywhere before.

Social environment of the company

Sometimes you can meet with several people from the hiring company, depending on the position, you can go directly to top management. And that's a boon to your own selection process. When you see long faces, a not so friendly communication between them and a lack of empathy, you should know that your days are going to be exactly like this.

Free consultation

Some companies, depending on the position and their hiring process, may want to see some action regarding their skills and abilities. Some may ask for some proof of what you have done, which is understandable; some may ask you to figure out some quick things on the spot; But some may give you homework with some specific instructions as to what they need. Unknowingly, you may be figuring out something that they've been stuck with, but based on their salary expectations and knowing that they just can't, they can keep going until they have what they saw that they could get for free.

Unclear expectations

There is an incredible gap between filling an existing position and jumping into a newly created one. New positions are often very diffuse in terms of responsibilities; The hiring company may also be confused about responsibilities, which means you'll end up wearing too many different hats, taking on other department duties, other people's duties, and your responsibilities end up being a Frankenstein-type job. The latter is extremely stressful, 99.99% of the time.

Inaccurate or misleading information

The hiring company can share information, either by painting an accurate picture of the current state of the company or something larger than life. When you pay attention to these “facts,” be careful if you notice big differences from what you were told at the beginning. Misleading facts could put you in a very stressful position when it comes to reality once hired, and all those promises and numbers will mean absolutely nothing. You are expected to act regardless of the facts and information provided.

Ghost company

In 2020, it is rare that a business does not have an internet presence or a footprint of some kind. By doing a quick search for the hiring company, you may find things that no one will tell you otherwise, especially not the hiring company. Or you may find little or almost nothing. Don't be afraid to ask "why" if you feel like you might reconsider the position, or just to find out out of curiosity.

The best sign for me is literally when the person or panel interviewing me believes these things:

That it is SO privilege to work with them / their company ... that salary "shouldn't matter", and the panel is NOT located in the west wing of the White House.

That it is their business what I win right now, what I won in the end or I NEVER won and press the point

When they are so disorganized, they send a junior engineer to interview a candidate for a vice president position (and no one else), simply incompetence.

When they are rude, they disdain the questions, really try to make one angry and respond (as if the

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The best sign for me is literally when the person or panel interviewing me believes these things:

That it is SO privilege to work with them / their company ... that salary "shouldn't matter", and the panel is NOT located in the west wing of the White House.

That it is their business what I win right now, what I won in the end or I NEVER won and press the point

When they are so disorganized, they send a junior engineer to interview a candidate for a vice president position (and no one else), simply incompetence.

When they are rude, they disdain the questions, really try to get one upset and answer (as if this is some kind of military personality test) and items like that.

When the dance card for me is not full: large spaces in the day, but without permission for MBWA and asking questions (or worse, that permission is refused).

No food served (notice I interviewed for senior positions; full-day interviews are common); the same goes for water, coffee, tea, bathroom, etc.

The obvious personal questions (will you move, etc.) are basically intimidation to make you think you are "lucky" to receive this post. Well, arrogant CEO, let me give you a little advice: I already HAVE a career at a great company. It pays me enough to think about buying a new Porsche as a gift for a graduate. See another post of mine. I bought a different car, much more expensive I will be happy to show you why I am worth what I ask ... but do not play five cent bullying (this has happened in companies whose names you would recognize A LOT)

"Did you bring your resume?" “Well yeah, but I would have thought you would have read it by now. I traveled 3000 miles to get here. "

What he brings up: not reimbursing legitimate interview expenses (no, I don't mean gas for a city trip). I mean flight, hotel, car tickets, meals. I once turned down an attractive offer on this point: if a group cannot meet the simple commitments, it cannot or will not accept the most important ones.

Lying about the stock option plan (your shares will NEVER be diluted….) When the power they give me says, right there, in black and white, OH YES YOU ARE, and by the way, friend Bart, you get paid LAST a long lineup. However, I turned down another senior vice president position (and that company is bankrupt ... and diluted everyone's stock options except venture capital. Good guys).

I'll tell you what, Bart. WE REALLY LOVE YOU. But, first we need to see some work product ... can you stay a week or so and work on XXX? We can't pay you ... "Er, no, I can't, and I wouldn't. I work. You pay. That's how that little real-world scenario works, boys and girls. You'd recognize THAT company too.

You can usually see chiseled charlatans up front. That more than a few are in Fortune 10, let alone 100, is a fucking shame.

He finally passed the phone interview with the recruiter and was scheduled to meet with the team on the spot.

You are excited.

You look up the company to research and jot down some mental notes.

Use a Google map to see how far your office is and make transportation plans.

It is tomorrow!

You set your alarms.

You dress the best you can and start heading.

During the interview, red flags begin to appear.

Here are the five red flags I look for during interviews:

1. The person who greets you does not seem happy.

It is important to see their facial expression when they first meet.

Be it the receptionist,

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He finally passed the phone interview with the recruiter and was scheduled to meet with the team on the spot.

You are excited.

You look up the company to research and jot down some mental notes.

Use a Google map to see how far your office is and make transportation plans.

It is tomorrow!

You set your alarms.

You dress the best you can and start heading.

During the interview, red flags begin to appear.

Here are the five red flags I look for during interviews:

1. The person who greets you does not seem happy.

It is important to see their facial expression when they first meet.

Whether it's the receptionist, office manager, director, or CEO, they need to be in a good mood to meet your candidates.

After all, they went through a process and were deemed qualified.

It's awkward when the person who greets you is in a bad mood.

Negativity spreads much faster in the workplace, and that is not an environment you should be working in, as that is where you will be spending much of your time.

So if they don't look happy to meet you, RED FLAG!

2. Everyone is new.

Ask how long they have been with the company.

If all the people you are interviewing within the company have only worked for months, RED FLAG!

There must be at least one person who has been with the company for at least a year or so.

The reason is because they have knowledge of top management, company management, and the evolution of culture.

A company that grows too fast without direction, an unbearable work environment, and broken management are recipes for disaster.

3. Without professional progression.

Ask the people you are interviewing about their short-term and long-term goals at the company.

If you have no plans, RED FLAG!

Why?

For me, I like to surround myself with potential coworkers who have a plan.

These are the scammers.

These are the curious.

These are the passionate and motivated people who care about the goals of the company.

4. They oversell / overpromise the company.

If they continually say how wonderful the company is, how they can take time off whenever they want, how much free food they get, how much freedom you have, RED FLAG!

Successful companies don't have to exaggerate the position. The company, its talents and its achievements must speak for themselves.

There was a company that I met on the spot and they tried to sell me the dream.

Unlimited marketing budget.

Come whenever you want.

Learn from the best.

Specific objectives.

I went on my first day and they told me how I have a marketing budget of $ 10,000 for a quarter (when I was handling $ 250,000 / month), how my direct supervisor (CMO) has moved to a different position, and how our overall marketing goals they were pivoted.

Not only that, but also arriving at work and leaving at exactly a specific time.

Even if you have nothing to do!

They could have told me before I went on my first day via email, but they didn't.

It's safe to say I dodged that bullet and left a couple weeks later, along with over 2/3 of the marketing team.

A couple of months later, I discovered that they no longer had a marketing team.

5. They don't communicate with you on time.

Ask when you should hear from them.

Ask what to expect in the next steps.

These are great initiatives to take during the interview process.

Why?

Because you are taking control of the interview process and you know when to expect news from them.

Getting hung up is the WORST feeling.

When they say they will contact you next Monday and don't respond until Wednesday or Thursday, RED FLAG!

This is a characteristic of a company that cannot manage time well and / or has communication problems.

Finding the best company to work for is essential to your professional development.

Do not rush to make an offer.

Get to know the company, the culture, the people and the role.

A couple:

Technical lack of knowledge or thought.

I had a company that I interviewed that was creating a social media friend tracking app. I asked them what kind of security they used and if they did some kind of penetration test. Their respective responses were "not on the roadmap" and "what is penetration testing". That ended up being a difficult pass for both the interview and the product.

Toxic social dynamics

I had an on-site interview with a company that mostly went well, except for one guy that I had almost instantly disliked. He was pretty sure the interview was over.

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A couple:

Technical lack of knowledge or thought.

I had a company that I interviewed that was creating a social media friend tracking app. I asked them what kind of security they used and if they did some kind of penetration test. Their respective responses were "not on the roadmap" and "what is penetration testing". That ended up being a difficult pass for both the interview and the product.

Toxic social dynamics

I had an on-site interview with a company that mostly went well, except for one guy that I hadn't liked almost instantly. He was pretty sure the interview was over as soon as he opened his laptop for the programming challenge he had prepared. I was a bit surprised when they brought him back to interview me again, least of all when I got the boilerplate "no longer moving" email from the recruiter.

Most people expect coders to be on the autism spectrum, but what happened is clear. I had a rental count of each of the five people I interviewed, so they brought it back to give me another chance. It was a sham: I had made a decision in five minutes and nothing could change that. Usually when companies allow an employee to ignore the unanimous disagreement of all their coworkers just to take a stand and pet their own ego, bad things follow. No matter how talented that person is, they cannot run a complete company, and putting up with childish behavior says horrible things about company leadership. They will eventually alienate enough people to cause a brain drain, or '

Sexism

I lead potential employers through my own version of the Bechdel test. I ask to see gender metrics in employees, positions, departments, all that. I look for clear signs of risk, such as no women in engineering or women limited to lesser positions. If such information is not available, I ask these red flags as questions. Lastly, I ask to speak to any women they have and test their experiences.

It may seem a bit invasive, but I've been a woman in tech long enough to realize that companies with a great sibling culture is where my career is going to die. I'm here to code, not to be a diversity employee. I'm not going to let a guy stroke me to "earn" that promotion, nor am I going to endure being ignored because these promotions are being handed out in strip clubs. If a company doesn't care enough about women to employ them at higher levels, or if higher levels are all earned with sexual favors, I can find out and it's game over. The only exception are startups so small that they have failed to build a substance engineering department.

Horrible reputation

Some larger companies have enough people that just going to a technical college and making friends in the field is a decent information flow. For example, it is widely known that if you are a woman and you go to work for Uber, you could also tell people that you are stripping so they can send your children to college, because that is basically what your daily reality implies. Amazon regularly works with its employees 60 hours a week just for working 60 hours a week. It's not to say that putting in the extra time and effort isn't something that can be demanded, but doing it to meet a deadline is different than having your employee essentially expecting a 50% discount on their skills. It will be a reduction in your ongoing quality of life greater than you think.

Work-life balance is not a thing

This is something that many people may not realize: regular lack of sleep causes brain damage for long periods of time. That is to say, worshiping the college student who hits the red bull that he constantly shoots every night means also worshiping his inevitable exhaustion a few years later. So hearing things like "this is a fast paced, demanding environment" practically translates to "we poorly plan our projects, rush to complete them, and then spend nights and weekends fighting fires for throwing shoddy products at half finished. " My brain is my main asset. It's not something to set on fire with an environment full of jerks demanding irrational things and making me clean up the mess. I worked for Zynga, A place like that fresh out of college and two months of working in that kind of environment made me want to die every day. I was not surprised when Pincus bled the company and left the employees bleeding. Not that he cared about them in the first place. Only a high-functioning psychopath establishes an environment like that.

There are good places to work. You just have to be very insightful to find them. If you respect yourself and carefully wonder whether or not you see that reflected in your interview, you will find places that do. I am super happy with my current job. I feel respected, that my work is what matters and that no one takes advantage of me. I couldn't put a price on that. If I was given the option of a million a year in salary and full percentage points at a company the size of Facebook, but I had to work at a cross between crazy and zynga, I would choose my current job every time.

I agree with Aiyswarya. I think the biggest red flag for me is the vague job description. If the job description isn't detailed enough, or the hiring manager doesn't provide enough detail for you to feel comfortable, you probably shouldn't consider the job.

The other would ask them how they evaluate an employee's performance in each fiscal year. If they don't have an adequate response, they likely don't have or establish adequate measurable metrics to analyze their performance ... which basically means that their performance review could be subject to major bias or issues beyond their control. The majority

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I agree with Aiyswarya. I think the biggest red flag for me is the vague job description. If the job description isn't detailed enough, or the hiring manager doesn't provide enough detail for you to feel comfortable, you probably shouldn't consider the job.

The other would ask them how they evaluate an employee's performance in each fiscal year. If they don't have an adequate response, they likely don't have or establish adequate measurable metrics to analyze their performance ... which basically means that their performance review could be subject to major bias or issues beyond their control. Most major employers have defined goals that they set with you each year and have associated metrics. That means that at the end of the year you will know if you met your goals or not. I work in a state that has very liberal "at will" clauses that favor employers. This means that employers can fire you for the simplest reasons, no matter how much you put your ass on for them. They use this to their advantage with contractors for sure,

Another red flag would be if they seem desperate to fill the position. I interviewed a company that had obtained a large government contract. to do electronic validation and very tight deadlines to deliver. The problem was, they didn't have enough talented staff to get the job done. The manager kept emphasizing that he needed him to get started on site as quickly as possible and to get to work as soon as possible, with minimal orientation or training. For me, the red flag was that there was a chance that they wouldn't keep me around once I had done about 6 months of validation for them, and they would probably let me go with some BS excuse.

Another was this company in the frozen depths of northern MN that needed a similar job and they said they would keep me on a trial period for 6 months as a contractor after hire and then decide if they wanted to hire me as a permanent employee. They assured me that they always hired all of their contractors on a permanent basis, so I didn't have to worry about the 6-month trial period, which every employee is also subject to. Just a standard operating procedure for them. But I could also smell BS on this one. The job I was interviewing for required deep technical knowledge with research experience, and my feeling was that the last person was probably fired because this person was probably not meeting some vaguely defined goal. They were smart because they knew they had no other similar competitors in the area for miles and miles, so they could basically push me if necessary as they knew that I probably wouldn't be able to interview elsewhere with ease and convenience. Therefore, you need to be careful to think about how many other potential interviewers are in the area in case things don't work out with the current one, in case he accepts the job offer.

A last one for me is the business processes implemented. If you have the feeling that the company or department lacks a proper chain of command, their business processes or procedures are a mess, or they hardly ever document their work or have poor documentation procedures, then that is a huge red flag. Because there is a good chance that they cannot fix their things and do not know how to run a business, a department or a team. Which means you spend a good deal of your productive time looking for answers that should have been documented, rather than focusing on the task at hand.

If the manager gives you a walk around the office area and most people seem moody or depressed or the office area looks shabby, then it is probably good to avoid the company.

"Work hard, play hard."

This is a code for "You'll break your ass even on Hawaiian shirt day."

Expect to work perpetually understaffed with strong peer pressure to attend company picnics on the weekends.

Work hard, play hard = no time for you.


OTHER RED FLAGS TO LOOK FOR

Dust on diamonds. Tricks like bikes, Xbox, ping pong tables, weird collaboration areas ... and they're all covered in dust.

The Gestapo. They preach it. They teach it. They put worship in culture. Beware of the hive mind where people may look different but everyone thinks the same. Expect to be force-fed Kool-Aid, whatever

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"Work hard, play hard."

This is a code for "You'll break your ass even on Hawaiian shirt day."

Expect to work perpetually understaffed with strong peer pressure to attend company picnics on the weekends.

Work hard, play hard = no time for you.


OTHER RED FLAGS TO LOOK FOR

Dust on diamonds. Tricks like bikes, Xbox, ping pong tables, weird collaboration areas ... and they're all covered in dust.

The Gestapo. They preach it. They teach it. They put worship in culture. Beware of the hive mind where people may look different but everyone thinks the same. Expect to be force-fed the Kool-Aid, do what they tell you, don't ask questions, and don't let feelings get in the way of pretending you love your job.

Dinners called. Strange hours. Receive responses by email on Tuesday nights or sunny Sunday afternoons. If they are communicating with you when the rest of the world is living their life, chances are you are about to give up on yours. Yes, the world is connected. Yes, sometimes after hours emails make sense. But be the judge ... and pay attention.

Robots. Heavy use of office jargon and sanitized language means the company has been hijacked by climbers and corporate drones. Look for fancy and cryptic words to describe easy things. I once heard someone describe hiring a new employee: "We are looking to add a new asset this quarter." Seriously? Who talks like that? Nobody interesting, that's who.

The Overlord. Young, modern workers led by an older man who was breathing heavily. Expect it to last only as long as your youth lasts ... which means 27 years or less. At first, you might think that you are part of a secret. But as you get older and more expensive, you have the feeling that any day could be your last ... and it's true. They will be taking notes on every mistake, no matter how insignificant it is. And the day before your grandmother's funeral, you will get the notice.

The Quitter. The person you are replacing "just quit." People don't just give up money unless things are really bad. Quitting means not qualifying for unemployment compensation. And they were willing to risk spending their savings. Unless your interviewer has a solid reason and you need to ask, think twice before taking the leap.

NASA interviews. "Tell me about a time when ..." If your interview is more like a checklist for a shuttle launch, it is probably a micromanaged environment. Be on the lookout for over-prepared, time-critical interviews with a tight structure and ready-made question lists. Well done job interviews should take a natural conversation course.

I'm new! It's new! They are all new! Unless they are growing, and you can tell from recent office changes and new furniture and equipment, they probably have a high turnover. You will be new until you are unemployed.


PS Like most red flags, these are not hard and fast rules. These are simply things to keep in mind.

Like many tips, follow your instincts, it is usually correct.

Well, most of the jobs I've had have been low-level or retail-related; but I will tell you some things not to do to me that became apparent very quickly.

“What is one time you've provided exceptional customer service…?
I hate this question. When I was looking for a job for the first time, a long time ago, I politely informed them that I had no experience. When this question came up, I was puzzled and told them that I had no experience; they just nodded, looked disappointed, and wrote something. I knew I was not going to get that job at the time this question arose.

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Well, most of the jobs I've had have been low-level or retail-related; but I will tell you some things not to do to me that became apparent very quickly.

“What is one time you've provided exceptional customer service…?
I hate this question. When I was looking for a job for the first time, a long time ago, I politely informed them that I had no experience. When this question came up, I was puzzled and told them that I had no experience; they just nodded, looked disappointed, and wrote something. I knew I was not going to get that job at the time this question arose.
After that, whenever I was asked this question, I would just make it up and answer.

They read questions on a sheet of paper.
Big red flag for me. Interviews should be personal, at least a little bit. When they start to do this and they don't bother to commit to you, they are not actually considering you for employment, they are just following the motions.
Sometimes they have to do this, but you can tell when they are doing it because they don't really care that much.

Planning.
As a full-time student, you should ask about this up front. I was recently fired from a position where I asked them if they would be willing to work around my education once it started, they told me that if I couldn't dedicate myself one hundred percent to my job, they couldn't keep me. en - removed me from the show next week.
Make sure to clarify that they can fix the hours you have available, even in the future.

"We're looking for people who want to grow in our company ..."
Hearing this from a retailer is a bad sign, man. It means that they want your work with them to be the priority, and anything else is secondary; however, I'm only talking about retailers, other jobs may be exactly what you want to hear. If you wanted to pursue a career in retail ... well, you just wouldn't want to.


The best interviews I have ever had were extremely short. One, my first job that I got when I was seventeen, said the manager. "So you have no experience?"
"No."
"We can change that."
It started the next day.

For me, the red flags refer to how ... well, unemotional the interview looks like. If they are passionate and real, even silly questions deserve an answer.

It can be easy to fall in love with a potential employer based on your office layout or the variety of benefits it offers. While these first impressions are important, you will want to make sure you are on the lookout for red flags from the company throughout the process.

By digging into your interviewer and company culture, you can determine if the company is best suited for your long-term goals. You must be confident in your final decision to accept an offer, so it is important to weigh the pros and cons of an employer before proceeding. To do this process a bit

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It can be easy to fall in love with a potential employer based on your office layout or the variety of benefits it offers. While these first impressions are important, you will want to make sure you are on the lookout for red flags from the company throughout the process.

By digging into your interviewer and company culture, you can determine if the company is best suited for your long-term goals. You must be confident in your final decision to accept an offer, so it is important to weigh the pros and cons of an employer before proceeding. To make this process a little easier, keep an eye out for these 5 company red flags:

1. Lack of online presence or is outdated

You can learn much more about how a business operates and promotes itself by evaluating its overall online presence. To do this, keep an eye on your website trade shows compared to competitors and industry trends and pay attention to how up-to-date your social media platforms are. Unfortunately, outdated websites or a lack of a social media presence are just a few of the company's red flags to watch out for. If working for a company that invests in the latest technology and keeps up with industry trends is important to you, this may not be the right fit for your long-term goals.

2. Your personality does not fit the culture of the company

It is important to pay attention to how well your personality will fit in with the team or the overall company. For example, if your immediate team favors a more independent approach, but typically thrives in team settings, this may not be the best option for your work style. Similarly, if your prospective manager practices a leadership style that you've had negative experiences with in the past, this should immediately raise red flags. Ultimately, you want to know that your personality and preferred work style will fit in with the overall team and the company you would be joining.

3. Lack of professional development opportunities

Professional development opportunities should be another area that you pay close attention to during your job search. Specifically, ask questions about continuing training, mentoring opportunities, continuing education policies, or leadership initiatives to get a better idea of ​​what your employer will offer to develop your skills on the job. If your interviewer can't describe the concrete ways the company can help you learn and grow in your role, you may want to think twice about working there.

4. Bad reputation

In today’s digital world, it’s very easy to run a quick online search to find out what people are saying about your prospective employer. Look to sites like Glassdoor to read recent reviews about your target company or take the extra step to network with former employees to learn about their experiences. When reading reviews, however, be sure to pay close attention to any recurring themes in the type of negative comments (e.g., salaries, benefits, professionalism, etc.). If certain types of comments pop up frequently, that should serve as a major company red flag.

5. Conflict with the interviewer

If you like everything there is to offer about your prospective employer, but lack a connection with your prospective manager, you might want to take a moment to think about your decision. Having difficulty getting answers to specific questions about the role and responsibilities or a lack of communication throughout the interview process, might be tell-tale signs of what’s to come if you are hired.

Rather than one red flag, I would advise to pay close attention to themes throughout the process.

Does the process feel organized?

  1. Do you go through a process before interviewing? Is it clear where you are meeting and who you will be meeting with? Have you already provided some information in the form of an application and spent some time on the phone with someone from the company in a pre-interview?
  2. When you arrive, how do they greet you? Is the receptionist friendly and does it seem obvious that they are expecting you?
  3. Is your interviewer on time? Do you seem prepared with your paperwork?
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Rather than a red flag, I would recommend paying close attention to topics throughout the process.

Does the process feel organized?

  1. Do you go through a process before the interview? Is it clear where you will meet and who will you meet? Have you already provided any information in the form of an application and spent some time on the phone with someone from the company in a previous interview?
  2. When you arrive, how do they greet you? Is the receptionist friendly and does it seem obvious that they are expecting you?
  3. Is your interviewer on time? Do you seem prepared with your paperwork and does it seem as if something has been prepared in this interview?
  4. If you are interviewing with more than one person, do you feel like a clean hand-off took place or were you made to wait for a long period of time while your last interviewer scrambled to find someone else to meet with you?

Why this matters:

You can learn much about an organization by watching the interview process. A company that seems organized in the process is most likely organized as a business. If you want to work somewhere with a high degree of structure, you most likely haven’t found it if the interview process is a disorganized mess. If you want to work for an organized manager, pay attention to his interview process as you can learn from it. On the other side, you may want to work for a small, relaxed company with a loose organizational chart and laid back atmosphere. If that is the case, avoid the company where the process runs like clockwork down to the minute.

It is also worth noting that an easy interview process where it almost felt too simple to get the job offer is a major red flag. If they let you in so easily, who will your co-workers be? I would prefer to work for a company that made me work for it knowing that I will be surrounded by amazing talent that will push me to be better. Also, a company with a difficult selection process will most likely be a thriving company with more job security than one that does not place an emphasis on acquiring elite talent.

Do the interviewers seem like people you can connect with?

I interviewed with a company years ago where the executives that I interviewed with glowered and grumbled their way through the interview process. They complained about their people, asked condescending questions and tried to trick me several times in the interview. The entire culture of the organization felt heavy and negative. After the interviews, the hiring manager called to tell me that everyone loved me and I would be getting an offer letter shortly. Truth be told, I could not have gotten out of those interviews fast enough nor could any amount of money have convinced me to take that job. The executives of that company, up to an including the CEO, came off as jerks and life is too short to work for jerks. I politely turned down a strong financial package several days later when they made the offer, which utterly confused their team.

Managers who want to be seen as hard-ass interviewers are more concerned with their tough-guy reputation than finding great people. You can challenge people in interviews while still showing your human side and having some fun. If you get a feeling that the interview team is filled with people you don’t want to spend 40 hours per week with, trust your gut and find another organization.

Do the interviewers ask many questions centered around work ethic?

I have worked for several companies that value hard work as an ethos. Top performers put in long hours, not because they were forced, but because they were wired to maximize their compensation. Knowing that, I asked questions regarding challenging projects they had competed, extraordinary efforts, overcoming adversity, etc. You may not want to work for a company where most individuals work long hours. If you hear enough questions in this area, it might not be a great fit.

Another way of getting at this is by asking an out sized number of questions about your time management skills. If I am asking you to give me example after example of your amazing efficiency, I am most likely looking to hire you for a position that has too much work to do in an 8-hour period. You will only overcome this in two ways, work longer than everyone else or work more efficiently than everyone else.

This doesn’t make the company bad, it just warns you that they are short staffed. If you want to work for an exciting growth company, they are most likely going to ask you questions like this. Growth companies rarely have enough people to keep up with sales so employees are rolling up their sleeves and grinding. It can be incredibly exciting but if you have three young kids at home, this might not be the gig for you.

Do the interviewers ask you about overcoming adversity?

These type of questions typically come from organizations that are fighting through some adversity of their own. If an interviewer asks you to tell them about a time that you inherited a big problem or had to overcome negative morale in an office, you are most likely being considered for a company with big problems and morale problems. If they ask you about a time that you had to follow someone who was not performing, guess who you will be replacing? Pay close attention to these type of questions as they are most usually targeted.

Assume that every interview question is a glimpse into the challenges facing that organization.

I have interviewed for the past 20 years and rarely does my list of questions remain stagnant. My questions help me probe for behaviors and skills that my organization needs immediately. If our product line has become a commodity and I need a sales team that can build relationships and sell value, I am going to ask questions to help me find the right person for that job. If your interviewer kept probing about examples when you sold from weakness or had to sell against a competitor with a superior product or pricing, guess what you will be selling when you start with this company?

I recommend writing down the questions you were asked by each interviewer while going through the interviewer. Just jot down a few key words to help you remember the tone of each question. When you are done with all of the interviews, look for trends to form a picture of the organization you are starting with. Is it a good fit for your skill set? Is the culture a good fit for where you want to work? Are the interviewers people you would want to spend time with outside of the office? If you can’t answer yes to all three questions, this might not be the right place for you to work.

Good luck out there!

Bob is excited.

He hasn’t been on a date in a while and Alice was pretty enough he told himself.

Bob’s mom had told him to just keep being himself and eventually the perfect “one” would come along. Is this the night she’s right?

No. Bob's mom is wrong again.

Alice is nervous.

Alice gave Bob her number after meeting him at a bar last week. He looked nice enough, and nothing seemed too creepy on his instagram.

Alice has had so many bad dates that she gave up hope.

In other words, the bar for a good quote in Alice's book is REALLY low.

But Alice is about to be disappointed again.


RED FLAG N

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Bob is excited.

He hasn't been on a date in a while and Alice was pretty enough, he told himself.

Bob's mom had told him to keep being himself and eventually the perfect "one" would come along. Is this the night she's right?

No. Bob's mom is wrong again.

Alice is nervous.

Alice gave Bob her number after meeting him at a bar last week. He looked nice enough, and nothing seemed too creepy on his instagram.

Alice has had so many bad dates that she gave up hope.

In other words, the bar for a good quote in Alice's book is REALLY low.

But Alice is about to be disappointed again.


RED FLAG NUMBER 1 *

Cuando Bob vio a Alice por primera vez, estaba medio emocionado en el bar de deportes local. Le dio un codazo a su amigo Jim, "Oye, Jimbo, espectáculo de humo a las 5 en punto, checker out!" Antes de que Jim pudiera detenerlo, Bob se dirigió directamente hacia Alice.

Only God and Alice know what he said, but to Jim’s surprise, Bob came back with her number.

A few days later, Bob told Jim he and Alice were going to dinner.*


RED FLAG NUMBER 2**

Instead of offering to pick Alice up, Bob tells her to meet him at the restaurant. Bob chose a local dive bar that has great burgers. Alice has never been, but decides maybe it could be fun.

Bob has already been there for a couple hours. He’s sitting at a table with several other guys. Alice walks in and Bob does one of those awkward hand gestures in the air to motion her over. When Alice walks up, Bob tells his friends, “This is the girl I was telling you about.” When Alice walks up, Bob high fives her.

Alice, polite, plays along.


RED FLAG NUMBER 3***

Alice tries to make polite conversation with Bob. She figures she’ll give it a chance. But Bob doesn’t get it. Instead of reciprocating questions, Bob talks. And talks. And talks.

Bob drones on about everything from his ex girlfriend and his fantasy football roster to how much money he makes and how cool his friends think he is.

Bob doesn’t ask Alice any questions. Instead, he tries to impress her by talking the entire time.


RED FLAG NUMBER 4****

After an hour and a half nonstop soliloquy, Alice interrupts Bob to attempt an exit. Bob hardly takes notice at first and keeps talking. Alice has to stand up from the table for Bob to break his stream of consciousness.

Bob – thinking the date went great – invites Alice over for a night cap. She politely declines.

Bob: “We should do this again sometime.”

Alice: “I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.”

Bob: “Really? I thought we had a great time.”

Alice: “Thanks for dinner, Bob. I really better be going.”


Assuming the candidate isn’t an axe murderer and brings it up in the interview – the above scenarios cover a number of the most common red flags to run away from. If you’re a hiring manager and have ever felt like Alice, God bless you.

*RED FLAG NUMBER 1:

Let’s pretend Bob is the candidate. He doesn’t know anything about the company – but he heard it sounded cool. He does no research before showing up. He took no notes on his initial phone screen call. Bob treats this role and company as if it’s no different than any other company.

Bob’s approach to the job hunt is like a drunk guy on a bar hitting on girls – with a quantity over quality approach. If Bob just hits on enough girls, surely one will talk to him.

This often comes out in the interview quickly. Look for key phrases from the candidate like, “What do you all do here?” or “I just thought the company sounded cool.”

**RED FLAG NUMBER 2:

Bob shows up to the interview unprepared. It looks like he rolled out of bed and made no effort to present himself. Plus, he’s behaving way too informally – acting chummy like everyone is an old college buddy.

He talks about the position as if it’s already a foregone conclusion. He’s not making any extra effort to stand out.

***RED FLAG NUMBER 3:

During the interview, Bob drones on and on. He takes 5 minutes or more to answer every question. He talks only about himself. He overshares information. He talks poorly about former employers and co-workers. He blames other people for mistakes. His best examples of experience are things that don’t indicate he has a depth of knowledge or expertise in.

Bob also asks no relevant questions himself. Bob takes no interest in the interviewer, the company’s mission, or the results that drive the role he’s applying for.

Bob does not reference how he can create value for the company – and seems entirely unconcerned with value creation. Instead, Bob focuses solely on himself.

***RED FLAG NUMBER 4:

Bob demonstrates he is socially unaware. Both from his interactions with the people he’s encountered while on site and the way he phrases some questions.

Bob borders on inappropriate with some comments. Something strange about Bob just gives you a creepy feeling, too. Bob tries to extend the conversation beyond the point it has clearly ended – suggesting he’s not aware nor respectful of others’ time.

Bob is also over-assuming. He behaves as if the interview is nothing more than a formality to get the job.

Don’t be like Bob.

Remember - an interview goes both ways! It is amazing how many interviewers forget that they also need to be on their best behaviour and treat the interviewee politely and with respect.

My list of BIG RED FLAGS that I have experienced over the years:

  1. “Can we reschedule?” after I’ve arrived and waited 15 minutes
  2. "We don't have a meeting room booked for this interview, so lets do this interview in the hallway / cafetaria / kitchen area"
  3. The hiring manager hasn't bothered to read your CV before the interview and hasn't bothered to take 30 seconds to print a copy before entering the room.
  4. "You will report to
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Remember: an interview is both ways! It is surprising how many interviewers forget that they must also behave in the best possible way and treat the interviewee with politeness and respect.

My list of BIG RED FLAGS that I have experienced over the years:

  1. "Can we reschedule?" after i arrived and waited 15 minutes
  2. "We don't have a meeting room reserved for this interview, so let's do this interview in the hallway / cafeteria / kitchen area."
  3. The hiring manager hasn't bothered to read your CV before the interview and hasn't bothered to take 30 seconds to print a copy before entering the room.
  4. "Informarás a dos personas"
  5. "El salario es bajo en comparación con el mercado, pero piense en la oportunidad que le estamos brindando"
  6. "El salario es bajo, pero sus opciones valdrían cientos de miles cuando nuestra valoración crezca 10/20 / 30x"
  7. “This role level might be below what you’re looking for, but don’t worry, you’ll get promoted really soon”
  8. The interviewer only leaving 30 seconds out of the allotted time for your questions - and not willing to extend the time so you can get in your questions
  9. (negotiating stage) You tell them what you are expecting, they say they can’t do it and offer you less. You decline. “Actually, we have now decided to give you what you originally asked for”. In effect, they were trying to low-ball and screw you over when they could have met your salary ask. Imagine what it would be like trying to get a raise or promotion down the line.
  10. “The tasks and responsibilities for this role are not really well defined at the moment”
  11. “Are you married?” / “Do you have kids?”
  12. “I saw that we have <someone’s name> in common as connections on LinkedIn, so I reached out to him/her to get an opinion on you” (without asking your permission first)

Other Guides:


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