We talk a lot about how to prepare for job interviews, the types of questions you should ask, how to read body language, and proper interview etiquette, but what happens when you’re on an interview and the hiring manager starts firing off scandalous details about a previous employee? Yes friends, there are plenty of red flags to watch out for during the interview process—here are some of the biggest ones.
Conflicting Job Descriptions
During your job search, you’ll be reviewing numerous job descriptions from different companies. For the most part, these descriptions should be relatively similar if you’re looking at job descriptions that are for the same role. The information gathered from a job description can be helpful when preparing for an interview, but in certain rare cases you might find yourself falling victim to the old bait and switch.
The job you applied to should always be the job you’re interviewing for. During your interview, pay close attention to what the hiring manager says. Do the responsibilities align with what was detailed on the job description? Is the job title the same? Is the salary at least somewhat close to what you previously thought? If something doesn’t seem right, it could be a mistake, but it could also be the result of some nefarious tactics.
During the hiring process, good communication is extremely important. The hiring manager should be on the ball with dates, times, and who’s interviewing for each open position, and they should always be able to answer questions very clearly. It’s reasonable to expect some missed calls or delayed email responses throughout this process, but if you’re noticing a pattern of poor communication it might be a sign of a larger problem.
If the hiring manager is constantly changing the date of your interview, it’s a major red flag. When the company in question doesn’t respect your time, it doesn’t respect you. Along with this, if your interactions with the hiring manager keep leaving you with more questions and confusion, it might mean the company is disorganized. These types of issues may also be good indicators of a toxic workplace culture, so use your intuition if something feels off.
You read that right. Imagine finding the perfect role at a company that pays well, shares your values, offers excellent employee benefits, and communicates effectively during the hiring process, only to show up to your interview and learn that the hiring manager has nothing but bad things to say about the company itself, and perhaps even about current or previous employees.
Let’s say you’re on your interview and the hiring manager starts by explaining that the position was recently vacated because the previous employee was fired, then goes on to make negative comments about said employee, while also throwing in jabs directed at the company and its leadership team. Yes, this can happen, and if it does, run away because the company is almost certainly as toxic as can be.
A Ridiculously Long Interview Process
Nowadays, the typical interview process is lengthier and more complicated than it used to be. You might have to attend multiple interviews before receiving an offer, so make sure you prepare accordingly, but be on the lookout for unreasonably long and drawn-out interview processes.
If you’re asked to attend a fourth or fifth interview, things are starting to get a little ridiculous. Sometimes, you’ll be asked to sit in an interview for several hours (yes, this can happen), which is not only exhausting, but it’s downright unnecessary. It’s possible that the company doesn’t know which direction it wants to go in, and it’s stalling the hiring process with never-ending interviews. This is just another reason why you should always keep your options open during your job search.
When you receive a job offer, you’ve got a big decision to make. A company that puts thought into its hiring process knows this, and should provide you with ample time to consider each and every aspect of your life and how this potential new job fits into it. In fact, you might be interviewing with multiple companies and it’s very possible to receive an offer when you’ve still got additional interviews scheduled. In this case, it’s incredibly important that you have enough time to think and plan.
If you receive an offer that is tied to an extremely tight deadline, it can feel like an ultimatum; almost as if the company is saying “We’ll hire you as long as you agree to our terms immediately.” At best, an offer like this is pushy and rude. At worst, it reveals an organization that is insecure with itself, and that lacks the self-awareness that any good company should strive to have.
It can be easy to feel as though you’re on the “defensive” side of things during the hiring process. It’s important to remember that while you’re being examined by a company, you’re also doing your own investigation into whether the job and company are a good fit for you. Have an open mind, be thoughtful and considerate, and watch out for any warning signs so you can protect yourself from a potentially bad situation.
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