5 Interview Red Flags To Make You Run for the Hills

The prospect of a new job can be exhilarating. A fresh start with new coworkers and advancement opportunities can seem especially appealing, particularly if you’re coming from a job you hate. Still, choosing a new job is something you should be very picky about. It’s where you will be spending most of your days and energy. If a particular position seems like it’s not a fit, you could be facing years of wasted time that could otherwise be spent on jobs with advancement opportunities and résumé bolstering.

A job interview is a mutual process. The prospective employer is deciding your possible fit in the company just as much as you are. However, some people who interview focus solely on being the best candidate possible, consequently forgetting to ask questions or analyze responses in a way that determines their potential fit.

Here are five ways to determine whether an open job position is one you should quickly run away from, based on the interview process alone:


  1. The Interviewer Speaks Negatively About the Company

If the job interviewer mentions a negative aspect about their business or coworkers, this is a red flag that could hint at negative culture in the workplace. For example, if the interviewer is venting to you, a prospective employee, about the inabilities of other employees or executive leadership, it’s a sign you should move on unless you’re a fan of petty office drama.

Short of attempting to honestly answer the question, “What’s your least favorite aspect of this job?”, there’s no reason an interviewer should be unloading negative baggage on a prospective hire.


  1. The Interviewer Doesn’t Seem Proficient

Especially if the person interviewing you is expected to be your direct superior, it’s important they can be someone you’ll learn from. If you constantly feel like your intellect and experience overshadow that of your superior, you won’t feel challenged or stimulated at work.

For example, if the interviewer seems unsure how to answer industry-specific questions, appears disorganized or just doesn’t give off a good vibe, it’s likely someone you’ll be frustrated working with.


  1. The Interviewer Is Surprised You Want the Role

The last thing you want is a position a business does not value. If an interviewer asks something along the lines of “Considering so-and-so, are you sure you want to work here?”, they could be letting slip a major hassle of being an employee of the company.

For example, if your interviewer continuously asks questions like, “Are you sure you can handle a demanding boss like Greg?”, it may be a sign of an overbearing place to work.


  1. They Seem Overly Eager to Offer You the Job

There’s a chance you are a perfect fit for the role and, as a result, the business is very eager to hire you. However, if you feel you aren’t vastly overqualified for the position, be wary of overeagerness in this regard. A company that’s giving away jobs without much questioning is likely in crisis mode and experiencing high turnover.

If confronted with an overeager interviewer, ask yourself why the company is so enthusiastic about hiring you. If your resume is leaps and bounds above the typical candidate, be wary and consider turning down their job offer. Decline the job offer professionally by saying something along the lines of, “While I appreciate the offer, I have to decline, as it’s not the right fit for my career at this point.”


  1. The Job Responsibilities Don’t Use Your Skills or Passion

If you’re seriously looking to make this job your career, avoid job offers whose primary responsibilities fail to fully take advantage of your skills and passions. Therefore, one of the most important questions to ask in an interview is about the primary responsibilities and how they’re carried out. Even if the job description thoroughly explains the requirements of the role, it can be advantageous to reaffirm in person so you can ask follow-ups regarding specific responsibilities.

Aligning the job responsibilities with your passions isn’t as important if you’re looking for a part-time position or one you don’t see much longevity at regardless. Still, it should be noted that dull and repetitive work, lack of promotions and lack of enjoying the job all contribute to causes of work-related stress, which in turn has negative effects on your physical and mental health. As a result, pursuing only jobs whose responsibilities center on things you enjoy and are good at is a great idea for both your career and health.

The job process can be a rollercoaster of emotions, from the thrill of finding a position to the sudden realization during an interview that it may not be a good fit.

Comment and share your biggest interview red flags, and subscribe to Punched Clocks for more advice on navigating your job search.

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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