Red flags in a job interview

Red flags in a job interview by Ela Moscicka

Have you ever left the job interview feeling that something is just not right? Have doubts about joining that company? High chances are you’ve spotted some red flags.

Keep in mind that the recruitment process is a two-way street. It’s not only about the company hiring the right person, but also a great opportunity for you to learn more about them before you say “yes” to their job offer.

Make sure to give yourself time to think about the entire interviewing experience as those might have been important warning signs.

Here are 8 red flags in a job interview that you shouldn’t ignore.

1. Entire recruitment process was chaotic

The job description didn’t really have enough details.

You never know who will be your next interviewer or how many steps of the recruitment process you can expect.

You’re asking questions but no one ever gets back to you.

Interviews get rescheduled multiple times or are cancelled without notification.

Do you feel like you’re the only one who cares? If the answer is “yes”, then you’ve just discovered one of the red flags in a job interview.

2. Unprofessional behavior

How you have been treated in job interviews says a lot about the people who work for this company.

Being a candidate (internal or external) doesn’t mean interviewers can have inappropriate comments or show a lack of respect to you as a person.

Heard them talking in a negative way about previous employees?

My advice: run away from such companies as those types of behavior tells a lot about their entire culture.

I’ve personally experienced unprofessional behavior when was interviewing for a junior role at one of the biggest pharmaceutical company in Poland. That happened many years ago, but I still remember it:

Interviewers were late for almost 20 minutes (didn’t apologize), didn’t read my CV before the meeting, looked down on me all the time, made me feel dumb, and didn’t make any notes.

I was too shy back then, but nowadays I’d just walk out of the meeting if such a situation would take place.

3. Lack of clarity regarding your role

The job description provided only high-level overview of the role. You’re trying to get better understanding of what exactly you’ll be doing but no one can really answer your questions?

Instead you hear: Don’t worry about it, we will figure it out later. Treat it as a warning sign.

No matter if you’re interviewing for an entry-level role or you’re a C-level executive, the people you’re meeting throughout your recruitment process should be able to explain the responsibilities.

If they don’t have clarity regarding your role, is there a career path at that company?

4. No opportunity to ask your questions

Went through a few rounds of the interview process where you answered tons of questions but still didn’t have a chance to ask yours?

As I’ve mentioned in the beginning (and in my other articles), the recruitment process is for both candidate and company: you should have equal chances to learn about each other.

Check my 2 other articles:
“Job interview preparation checklist” and
“Questions to ask in a job interview”

5. Are they interested in what you have to say?

You can tell a lot about the people you’re meeting by observing their body language, whether they’re maintaining an eye contact with you and their overall behaviour during an interview.

Do they really listen to your answers and ask the right follow-up questions? Or do you have an impression that they’re bored and just wait for a meeting to be over?

If you feel like you’re not being heard or the person is playing with their mobile phone then it’s a clear red flag.

6. Energy during the interview process

Do you know this feeling when you meet someone and immediately feel a “good energy”? They have a smile on their face, listen to you, and are genuinely interested in what you have to say.

Same applies for the recruitment process.

Once I found myself sitting in one room with 2 Recruiters who were bombarding me with questions. I was a candidate who came with positive energy, but after 5 minutes I was just praying for that meeting to be over.

I was looking for a job back then but I just couldn’t imagine myself working for 8 hours/day with those people.

Why? “Poker face” the entire time, no reaction to what I was saying (be it good or bad news). I felt like they just want to finish the entire list of questions they have prepared no matter what. They were just “ticking the boxes” and not really interested in what I have to say.

I remember leaving the building with a fear that maybe I won’t be able to make it back into the recruitment.

How wrong I was! 1 hour later I had another interview, also with 2 people, but OMG, what a difference and a great experience it was!

I knew immediately that this is the company I’d love to join! (I got a job offer the next day and I accepted it).

7. Unable to meet with your future Manager

Not being able to talk to my future Manager would be on the top of my list with the red flags in a job interview!

If that person doesn’t have time to meet with you now, if he/she is not interested in the recruitment process, then you should ask yourself this question: “What will happen once I join the team?”.

8. Lots of changes within the team/company in a short period of time

Make sure to ask your questions in a job interview, especially when it comes to your future team.

How long are people working there? Why the previous employee left?

If you hear about high rotation and interviewers can’t provide many insights then it might be a sign which you don’t want to miss.

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Trust your “gut feeling

You’re overwhelmed with emotions while going through the interviews. And it’s totally normal.

It’s good to calm down whenever you need to make an important decision.

But I’d say that you shouldn’t be afraid to trust your “gut feeling”. Sometimes you can’t name the things, but you know that something just isn’t right.

Thanks for reading & have a nice day,
Ela

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About The Author / Ela Moscicka
About The Author / Ela Moscicka

Ela spent more than 9 years in tech recruitment (6 years as a Microsoft Talent Sourcer in the EMEA Engineering Recruitment team) where she has helped hundreds of people land jobs in the tech industry.

She went through a career change and became a Software Engineer. She’s currently based in Prague where she works at Microsoft Teams team.

Her career tips have helped people break into the tech industry, change careers, and get jobs in top tech companies!

Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.


One thought on “Red flags in a job interview

  1. Been there, sooo many times. I learned to recognize red flags and act accordingly. However, for some companies, red flags during the recruitment process don’t necessarily mean that the company itself is somehow “wrong” – chances are, they simply have a poorly defined recruitment process but once you’re in, you’re as happy as a clam (happened to me around 2009 or 2010).

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