Job interviews aren’t just a time for you to sit in the hot seat and be judged. They’re also an opportunity for you to vet the potential employer—to determine whether this company would be a good fit for you, and to make sure there aren’t any giant flapping red flags that should be telling you to run for the hills.
If you’re ever in an iffy situation in an interview and can’t quite tell whether your gut reaction is the right one, here are a few warning signs that this job might not be the one for you.
1. The vibe is... not so great.
Everyone looks miserable. It’s quiet, but it doesn’t look like that’s because everyone is concentrating so hard on their work. It just seems frosty and weird. If you’re a friendly collaborator by nature, this might not be the place for you. Things might be extra bad if you’re introduced to a few potential future coworkers and they don’t seem in any way enthused. If they can't fake it to impress a potential new team member, they're certainly not into the place.
2. It's all over way too soon.
Interviews don’t have to be long and grueling, but they also shouldn’t be too short. If you feel like you’re being asked a handful of questions with very low stakes and you get offered the job in a hot second, take a step back and make sure this isn’t because they’re desperate—or incompetent. Are they overselling? What’s the catch?? Don’t just snap it up because you’re flattered or relieved to get an offer in the first place!
3. You find out there's a high turnover rate.
Constant and consistent departure of employees might be another reason for a particularly hasty offer. If there’s a way to find out from current or former employees what the turnover rate seems to be and why it might be particularly high, that would be useful information. If that question seems to forward, simply asking some current employees how long they've been there might help. If everyone you’ve spoken to has only been with the company a short time, activate your spidey sense.
4. Everything is done super secretively.
You seem to be getting shuffled through the process on the DL. The interview doesn’t take place at their office location. You’ve not met the person holding the position you’re meant to replace. You don’t know why the position is open. You don’t get to meet anyone else on your team. Think about these things before accepting an offer, lest you show up for work on Monday morning and the entire team hates you for stealing their pal’s job seemingly overnight.
5. You're ghosted.
You interviewed, you followed up, and the line went proverbially dead. Or, they’re making you wait an inordinately long time before letting you know when you might expect next steps or decisions to happen. Leaving a candidate hanging is disrespectful and unprofessional—both bad signs right out of the gate.
6. They ask you for money.
Run. Just run.
7. Everyone uses robot-like corporate-speak all the time.
Too many buzzwords or fancy jargon might be a big ruse to make the company or team sound successful and inspiring, when the reality could be anything but. If they seem like they’re trying really hard to impress you but there’s not much substance underneath, try to do a bit more sniffing around.
8. There's no indication of company growth.
If the interviewer can’t give you a clear picture of career growth opportunities or provide you with a clear account of what your role would be—both immediately and in future—then watch out. Not having a clear sense of how you would develop your career there isn’t a particularly good sign at this stage—and it doesn’t bode very well for later stages either.
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