Top 5 Interview Red Flags to Help You Steer Clear of a Bad Job

Top 5 Interview Red Flags to Help You Steer Clear of a Bad Job

Making it to the in-person interview always feels like such a victory. You have successfully navigated the phone interview and made it to the short list of candidates — way to go!

While this is a satisfying achievement, you don’t want to lose sight of the fact that you still need to decide if working for this company would really be a good fit for you. After all, wouldn’t it be tragic if you regretted your choice a few short months down the road?

There are some red flags that, if they pop up during the interview process, could help you avert a disastrous career move.

1. No one smiles.

Among other things, smiling reduces stress, gives an appearance of success, and provides a welcoming atmosphere. If everyone you run into at your in-person interview has a somber expression pasted tightly on his/her face, you have to wonder what is causing all the stress or why they aren’t more warm and friendly.

Or what the day-to-day life is like when they are not trying to impress potential new hires…

2. Employees are unusually quiet when the boss walks past.

If you get to go on a tour of the company during your in-person interview, take the opportunity to notice how the team reacts when the boss comes around. Do they seem at ease with coming up to him/her, asking questions about the work at hand, maybe even cracking a small joke? If so, these are signs of a healthy work dynamic.

However, if everyone stays rooted to their chairs and it is so quiet that you feel like you are walking in a library, there might be concerns with the supervisor’s management style. If s/he is a bad boss, that will hinder productivity, hurt morale, and even negatively impact the employees’ health. Do you really want to work in an environment like that?

3. The staff doesn’t make eye contact with you.

According to Psychology Today, “Eye contact is the strongest form of nonverbal communication.” Even though your interview may be the first time that you have visited the company, the eye contact that employees make with you can start to build trust between you and them.

However, if folks working at the company don’t make eye contact, it could be a potential sign of fear or anger among the team. Whatever the reason, it’s worthwhile to make a note of it and take the time later to discern what could have been happening in the office and what it would mean if you did accept an offer of employment.

4. The interviewer pressures you to make a commitment to accept the position.

It’s understandable that the company wants to get their open positions filled in a timely manner. They have goals to attain and customers to satisfy, both of which can be challenging to do when a team is short-staffed.

But if you get an uneasy feeling that they are a little too eager to get you on board, try to slow down the process to find out why. If they give you flak for doing this, ask yourself, ‘What could be the reason for this?’

5. The interviewer seems uncomfortable when you ask, “Why do you like working here?

Sure, it’s not necessarily an expected question, and it’s even not unreasonable for the interviewer to be a little surprised or to pause a bit before answering.

But if there’s a lot of hemming and hawing, or the interviewer starts breaking off eye contact as s/he answers, it could be an indicator that working for this company isn’t going to be all roses and sunshine.

Bonus: You have a gut feeling that something is “off.”

Intuition is a sense that shouldn’t be ignored during the job hunt, and especially not during the interviewing process. If you just can’t shake that feeling that something’s not right, take a step back and breathe. Try to get into words the things that are troubling you. This extra analysis may be very revealing.

What other red flags have helped you avoid accepting a bad job?

Image courtesy of Jeremy T. Hetzel

Melissa Cooley, career coach and certified résumé writer of The Job Quest, LLC unearths her clients’ career examples to showcase the talents and results that make them must-hire candidates. Click here for more information on ways to partner with Melissa for your career success!

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