Job Interview Red Flags You Don’t Want to Ignore

Posted by , Updated on December 31, 2018

So, you snagged a job interview and you’re super excited. Not so fast. I know looking for a job sucks. It’s time consuming, stressful, and once you land that job interview, you’re so relieved. It’s easy to put on blinders and not discern potential problems. Don’t go into a job interview with rose colored glasses. Or, maybe you just got out of an interview and something doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s your gut. Maybe it’s paranoia. Either way, don’t be quick to brush it off as nothing. If a job interview doesn’t feel right, then it’s not right. Here are Job Interview Red Flags You Don’t Want to Ignore.


They Email Asking For Your Salary Requirements


When you applied for the job, there might have been a box asking for your minimum salary requirements. This is fairly standard. However, if that wasn’t on the application and they invited you for a job interview, but then later emailed you asking for your salary requirements, that’s a red flag. Why? First, it means they aren’t very organized. Second, it could mean they’re weeding out candidates that have high salary requirements. Your interview could be doomed before you walk through the door.


Morale is Low

office morale

During a job interview, you need to ask the interviewer about office morale. If they try to avoid the question, you just got your answer. On the other hand, they might be honest and tell you morale is low. In my experience, if morale is low in the office, nine times out of ten, it’s because of bad management.


They Call for an Interview a Millisecond After You Apply


Most companies, if they like you, will wait a few days to call. They don’t want to appear desperate. Calling you almost immediately is a bad sign. It means people are quitting or getting fired every day. So, don’t get excited if they’re chomping at the bit to interview you, proceed with caution.


It's a Group Interview


I call these “meat grinder” interviews. They call in a bunch of people all at once and weed out who they don’t like. Basically, it’s a lazy way of interviewing people. If you get the job this way, then chances are you’ll be fired just as quickly.


They Refer to Themselves as Being "A Family"

smiling family

If by family they mean dysfunctional family, then yes, it is a family. In my experience, if you’re interviewer says their job is a family, it has always been one of the worse jobs ever. It’s like they are compensating for their toxic work enviroment.


All Bad Job Reviews

one star job reviews

I understand that a lot of online reviews come from disgruntled employees. With that said, definitely take bad reviews with a grain of salt. Still, if there are pages and pages of bad reviews not just about working at the company, but the company in general, then you’re probably best looking for another job.


So Much Overtime

working overtime

This is not a good thing. What it means is that you will not have a social life and will be expected to do extra work. Overtime usually means management isn’t willing to hire extra people. I’m not saying don’t take the job, but go in knowing you’ll be overworked, stressed out, and run by poor management.


The Manager is Not Very Professional


If they don’t make eye contact, are not listening to what you say, and hardly ever smile, and are late to their own interview, then it doesn’t take a brain scientist to know they’ll be awful to work for.


The Pay Doesn't Match the Work

low wage pic

If a potential employer wants you to do a ton of work, work long hours, with very little pay, but they tell you that you must pay your dues first and then you may be promoted, proceed with caution. Look, I’m not saying that promotions don’t happen, but before you go into the interview, know your worth, and ask them to write you a letter of acceptance with salary on it.


Very High Turnover Rate

leaving a job

In the interview, ask what happened to the last few people who had the job you’re applying for. If they don’t want to answer the question, then they will change the subject very quickly. In that case, either the job was terrible and they quit, or the company has fired so many people, it’s become a tradition.


Commission Only

commision pic

Most jobs have three types of pay structures: salary, hourly, or commission. Sometimes the first two has commission along with it. Then some jobs are strictly commission. The interviewer will tell you stories of how guys on their team are making $50,000 a week, and one guy just bought a house in Nassau. When it comes to jobs that are commission only, the environment is very toxic and, in my experience, doesn’t make for a good job.


There is No Room For Growth


You may ask if there is room for growth within the company. A lot of companies will like that. It shows you want to stay for the long haul, and most potential employers will tell you. However, if you have a company only looking for robot workers and the last person they promoted was a friend of a friend, then my suggestion is to look elsewhere.


You're Waiting for Hours for the Interview

young woman waiting

True Story! I had an interview scheduled for 1:00 P.M. I arrived at 12:45 P.M. and didn’t see anyone until 3:00 P.M. What’s worse is not once did anybody come out and say anything. I understand that it’s their time and that a person needs a job, but there is a difference between being casually late for an interview and making that person wait two hours. If an interviewer does that, then chances are they are either very disorganized or selfish. I didn’t get the job.


They Offer You The Job Before Meeting You

job interview

This one doesn’t happen a lot, but it did happen to me once. I was offered a job through text messaging. If a company tells you that you have a job before even a face to face interview, then that means two things. Either you’re the most perfect human being on the planet or they are so desperate to find people that they will hire anybody.


All the Employees Look Miserable

miserable face

I understand most people would rather be at home watching Netflix or going to the beach than working, but if you look at all the employees and you get a sense of dread, then chances are this job is going to make you miserable.


Photo: Featured Image - Shutterstock, 1. Quinn Dombrowski, CC BY-SA 2.0, 2. (Public Domain), 3. (Public Domain), 4., CC BY-SA 3.0, 5., CC BY-SA 3.0, 6. rocketace, CC BY 2.0, 7. Chicago Labor Newspaper, July 7, 1894., The Condition of Laboring Man at Pullman 1894, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons , 8. McPheeSteury, Office worker slacking, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 9. (Public Domain), 10. (Public Domain), 11. (Public Domain), 12., CC BY 2.0, 13. (Public Domain), 14. (Public Domain), 15. (Public Domain)

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