A job interview is like a first date.

You and your potential employer are getting to know each other for the first time.

They want to find out if you're the right fit for the job, and you want to see if the role and workplace meet your expectations.

Of course, you can use this opportunity to figure out the pros of the job, but what about the cons? You'll need to keep an eye out for red flags that might turn you off.

Do They Get Bad Reviews?

Before the interview, research the company to learn about how they treat their employees.

Look for signs of:

  • A disorganized workplace with poor communication and low levels of employee support

  • Employees who feel dissatisfied with their roles, pay, benefits, and working conditions

Flaticon IconMostly negative reviews can be a sign of a toxic workplace with low morale.

Flaticon Icon

BUT!

The reviews might not tell the whole story. Employees might exaggerate complaints, or the company might have changed for the better since the reviews were posted.

It's a good idea to ask questions about these reviews during the interview to see how the company responds to your concerns.

Do They Treat You Poorly?

A woman saying,

When you communicate with the employer:

  • Do they give you options to select interview times?

  • Are they polite and courteous during the interview and screening calls?

  • Do they give you enough time to speak and ask questions during the interview?

Flaticon IconThink twice about employers who don't respect your time and presence.

If they bounce you around between different contact people, fail to answer your questions clearly, cancel last-minute without reason, or are just plain rude, they'll probably treat you poorly as an employee.

Do They Make You Jump Through Hoops?

A performer dancing in a flaming hoop.

It's an interview, not the circus!

You should expect two to three rounds of interviews. You might also have to take behavioral tests, provide samples of your work, or demonstrate your practical skills, which is totally reasonable.

Flaticon Icon

Alarm bells should ring if:

  • You're in the fifth round of interviews and they want you to do more.

  • The tasks they want you to do are actually full-on projects and it feels like you're just giving them free labor.

Quiz

Kija is interviewing for a sales job. The hiring manager asked her to complete some tasks. Which tasks should she be concerned about?

Take a 30 minute personality quiz

Complete a 50 page sales proposal

Present a brief mock sales pitch

Present a sales pitch to a real client

Are They Unprofessional?

Things to look out for when you're at the interview:

  • Does it start on time?

  • Do the interviewers badmouth their employees or competitors?

  • Do they ask you inappropriate questions or make odd remarks about your personal life, appearance, and health?

Flaticon IconEmployers should be on their best behavior!

If they act unprofessionally during the interview, you can bet their behavior won't suddenly improve in time for your first day on the job.

Quiz

Kija was asked some tough questions in her interview. Which questions were inappropriate?

What are your political beliefs?

Why did you leave your last position?

Do you plan on taking pregnancy leave?

What would your last boss say about you?

Do They Give You Bad Vibes?

A cartoon woman asking,

Sometimes you have to trust your instincts.

Look for anything that gives you a poor first impression or doesn't sit well with you.

Flaticon IconAnything that doesn't pass your eye test should give you pause about working there.

  • Does the workspace look uncomfortable?

  • Do the people who work there look really stressed out?

  • Does your future manager seem like a nightmare to work with?

  • Is it clear during the interview that the role isn't what you expected it to be?

Take Action

Liz Lemon from 30 Rock saying,

No workplace is perfect, but you shouldn't settle for less!

If you find something you dislike about a future employer, it doesn't mean you have to withdraw your application or drop the interview right away.

But if any of those negatives are dealbreakers, you need to decide if it's worth your time to continue pursuing this job.

The next time you go through an interview process:

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This Byte has been authored by

SB

Steve Birek

Virtual Facilitator