Job interviews are a two-way street. You need to evaluate your prospective employer — and walk away if they don’t live up to expectations. Here are eight red flags to look out for.
While most companies strive to be great places to work, a few will always miss the mark. The art of job seeking lies in telling the former from the latter — before it’s too late.
How can you hone this skill? First, research prospective employers thoroughly before you even set foot in an interview. Second, learn to spot telltale signs during the interview itself that suggest the position isn’t right for you. Here are eight common red flags in the application and interview process.
1. bad reviews
Just as an employer will do a background check on you, you should do due diligence on them. Dig around on sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn for reviews by current or former employees. If this feedback suggests a toxic work culture or poor management, you might want to look elsewhere.
2. vague job descriptions
If it’s not clear what your responsibilities are, who you are reporting to and what is expected of you, you’re in trouble before you begin. Ask for clarification during the interview and reconsider the opportunity if it’s not forthcoming.
3. feeling anxious
If you start to feel uneasy during the interview, or overwhelmed by the responsibilities and tasks being presented, this is probably not a good fit for you. An interview should leave you feeling excited about the future and energized about getting to work.
4. poor rapport
An interview is not a one-way street. Ask questions to learn more about why the position is open, how long it’s been vacant, the company culture and what your career path might look like. If the hiring manager fudges, or can’t answer in an open and direct way, you need to ask yourself why that might be.
5. signs of a poor work-life balance
If late nights and weekends seem par for the course, or you’re told overtime is mandatory, the company is not looking after its people. Achieving a happy and fulfilling professional life means establishing boundaries, switching off in your downtime and prioritizing your physical and mental health.
6. a rush to hire
An immediate job offer without the chance to speak to the person you’ll be working for says something is not right. Also, make sure you get everything in writing, with time to review it properly, before you commit.
7. lack of development opportunities
What opportunities does this role offer for upskilling and career development? Does the company offer in-house training, subsidized tuition with external providers, or both? If you’re keen to explore new career paths but the hiring manager dodges your questions, take pause.
8. no sense of community
Finally, whether you’re working remotely or on-site, you’ll want to gauge the morale, engagement and general happiness of your prospective colleagues. Ask to meet the team virtually or physically. If you’re told that’s not an option, it may be time to pull the plug.