Six Red Flags In A Job Interview

It’s a very exciting time for some of you right now as you might have just graduated college or university! Congratulations! The next step is landing that job you’ve been wanting. Before you get to that though, there’s the whole process of vacancy hunting and sending out your CV to more places than you can count. No joke, I would sit sometimes hours on end sending my application package to anywhere I could think of. It had gotten to the point that I’d even forget where I applied until I received a call for an interview or the rejection letter. Ah yes! Can’t forget about the good ole rejection letter. Don’t let that discourage you though. You keep sending out those applications.

 What’s that? Oh! It’s an email saying that you’ve been shortlisted for an interview! Wonderful! You might feel butterflies in your tummy, your heart starts racing because you really want to do your utmost best.  You pick out your best smart outfit and start practicing so you can wow your interviewer…. Or at least that’s what I did. But you know one thing I never thought about until my sister in law pointed it out to me? As much as they are interviewing me, I should be interviewing them. They want to see if you’re a person they’d want to work for them, well you need to see if they’re a company you’d want to work for. Trust me when I say that by doing this you’re going to save yourself a lot of time and trouble.

During your interview, there are certain red flags to keep an eye out for that are a surefire sign for you to run away as for as you can from that company. Below I’ve compiled a list of six red flags to look out for in your job interview:

1.Your interviewer is late

What a great way to start off your relationship with this place, no? This one irks me especially if in the job advert they had punctuality listed as a requirement. A few minutes late is forgivable but sometimes people can be ridiculous!

One time I had a company call me to offer me an interview. They asked if 10:30 am the next day would be fine. I asked if we could make 10:00 am work as I had a really important appointment at 11:00 am (which I had already scheduled two weeks in advance and absolutely could not change). The interviewer agreed that we can meet at 10:00 am. I arrived at the place at 9:45 am and asked for so and so and even stated that I was there for the interview at 10:00 am. The receptionist told me to just have a seat and that the interviewer would be right with me. I sat there waiting and waiting.  Around 10:15 I asked one of the employees if the interviewer knows I’m there and he said yes. By 10:25 am I was fuming! Finally, at 10:30 am the attendant calls my name and asked me to follow him, so I did, and he tried to make small talk with me but I was rightfully pissed because I was gonna be late for my appointment. I stepped into the room and I noticed that I had seen one of the interviewers gallivanting downstairs in the lobby the whole while I was waiting! I was very much displeased the entire duration of interview. To top it off there was no apology or explanation, but I did get the run down about how they need someone who is punctual and was questioned about my mode of transportation so that getting to work on time wouldn’t be an issue.

I find this to be very disrespectful because it’s like they’re saying your time does not matter. That’s really not somewhere you’d want to work unless you don’t value your time. For me, time is precious. You’ll never get it back so you wouldn’t want to commit yourself to a place that doesn’t respect this.

2. High turnover rate

Ask yourself why is it that people keep quitting. Does management absolutely suck? Is the workload too heavy? Is the pay not enough considering what you have to endure? Is the company a toxic environment to be in? Don’t be afraid to ask questions relating to this in your interview. Ask why the previous person who held the position left and how long they had been working there before leaving.

3. Listen for key terms and learn their translation

“Able to work in a fast paced environment and able to multitask” – More than likely you’ll be doing five people’s job but get paid for one.

“Time must be flexible” – You’re gonna have some crazy shifts that will make it virtually impossible for you to do the things you like. For example, if you’ve been thinking about starting salsa lessons on Fridays at six o’ clock, forget about it because you will not be able to remain consistent. You’ll probably end up having to withdraw since it’s an eight week course, you’re already on week five and you’ve only made it to three sessions, one of which you were fifteen minutes late because you got held back at work which you should have been finished with at five o’ clock.

“We treat our staff like family” –There is a favourite employee that you’re going to have to put up with and it’s basically just another way of saying that it’s going to be like high school again with a lot of little cliques.

“Must carry out other duties assigned by superiors” – Yeah, apart from the five people’s worth of other duties you have, you’re going to get stuck doing other people’s work too because they can’t for whatever reason. You’re still only getting paid for one.

“People oriented company” – The clients are people. You, the employee, are… I don’t know gum that somehow got stuck under the manager’s shoes and was brought into the building.

4. They want you to demonstrate your skills

You need to work for them before you’re hired? In other words free labour? I don’t think so.  You “get tested” for an hour or two, get a thank you, a handshake and a “We’ll get in contact with you” then never hear from them again? The minute they want to “test your skills” in this manner you should withdraw your application. That’s why after you are hired, there is a probationary period where you get your training after which you are evaluated and based on your performance a decision is made of whether or not you’re fit to continue with your employment there.

5. Generic interview questions

Pay attention to the types of questions they ask. Are they all just generic interview questions that they downloaded from Google? For me this is a huge turn off because it makes them look ill prepared. It’s like they put little effort into the interview.

 Of course there are going to be the universal questions like “Tell me about yourself”, which I personally like because it gives me the opportunity to steer the interview in the direction that I want, or even “Recount of a time when you felt most proud in your job”

I think those are fantastic questions so I can tell you what are my skills and strengths without having to directly list them out. However, if we’re on the fifth question and you haven’t asked me anything that specifically relates to the position in question, the interview feels pointless because everything I’m spewing out to you right now is in my CV and cover letter.

6. Observe how the manager/supervisor treats the staff

If you get the opportunity to see how the supervisor interacts with the staff before going into the interview room, do not waste it! If you see an employee getting publicly yelled at, pay attention to the person and if you find out that it’s the manger RUN LIKE THE WIND! Decline that job with all due respect. If they treat staff like that out in the open, imagine what happens behind closed doors. Regardless of the matter, even if the employee was at fault, that should be dealt with privately and in a respectful manner.

I know it’s a very nerve wracking experience to go out for these interviews and you get desperate trying to get a job because you want to start to work and pay off your student loan, but do not sell yourself short! Value your time, effort and skills. Don’t get yourself into something that you’ll instantly regret. I get that it’s very difficult getting a job in these times so you can’t be very picky and choosey because hey, bills need to get paid. However, don’t lower your standards and make yourself miserable.

Being part of a crappy company takes a toll on you mentally, emotionally and physically so I hope these little tips help you on your quest of successfully becoming a part of the work force and aid you in making the right decision for your wellbeing!

Happy hunting!


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