Job Interview Experts Reveal Red Flags To Look Out For With Potential Employees
Job interviews can be useful windows into the culture of a business. If you're in the hot seat, how you're treated and the attitude of the interviewer can have a big impact on whether or not you take the job. Make sure they treat you like you matter and beware of nebulous answers to questions you ask. Also, take note of strange demands, like being on call on days off (especially for menial jobs).
Lessie_Haag_DDS87 asked, What are subtle red flags at a job interview that say, "Working here would suck"?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
This is illegal, so asking it is definitely a red flag.
Was interviewing for a job as a receptionist and they wanted a list of any medicine I took at the interview. Umm. No.
No one works here for very long? That's not a good sign.
When they complain about the high turnover rate in the interview, there are usually good reasons why they can't retain employees.
You can't force people to pay back stipends for job training.
I applied for a phone job that paid awfully with really expensive benefits. I was offered the job and no joke after going through everything with me they slid a piece of paper across the table and asked me to sign it. The paper basically said if I quit in the first 3 months I have to pay back everything I earned while training (training was 30 days). The hiring manager said they require this because so many people quit after finishing training. I actually laughed at her. After seeing all the religious decorations all over the walls, the ledger of everyone's goals (looked like no one could meet the goals) the fact that they didn't offer sick pay and five of the employees I met were sick that day and working, I had enough. I was desperate for a job, any job, but that put me over the edge.
It's probably a bad idea to call interviewees ugly.
An interviewer/potential boss told me I had the look of someone who should work in the "back of the office". So probably that.
Most small businesses fail, ace.
Someone told me during an interview: "I'm an entrepreneur, so by definition, I know better"
That guy is an asshole boss for sure.
Total deal-breaker for me. I don't need permission to pee.
"When you need a bathroom break, you need to alert one of the managers and request a quick break. If the phone lines aren't too busy, we can allocate you some time to log off from your phone and go to the bathroom. If the phones are busy, you'll need to wait until the calls have died down."
An actual quote from an interview I've had. I took the job anyway. Turns out you ALWAYS had to ask permission to go to the toilet. Not just when it's busy
This doesn't sound like a good time.
"You'll be working under three managers, and your job will be to treat each one of them as if they are your only priority."
Nope, you don't own my private time.
When they say, "sometimes we may ask you to work nights and weekends and you always have to be near your phone."
If they can't manage their own time, and everyone looks miserable, run away.
When they keep you waiting more than 15 minutes past your scheduled interview time and make no apologies when you are called in.
When they are disorganized and no one seems to know exactly what you're there for.
When everyone looks glum - no smiling, laughing, interaction among employees.
You'll get the attitude you pay for.
If at any point you hear, "We're looking for someone with a rockstar attitude" what they really mean is "We're looking for someone we can overwork and underpay. You don't mind working 100 hours a week for $30k a year right?"
Re number 4: always get everything in writing.
Any interview lasting less than 10 minutes where they don't really ask you anything about yourself.
"Are you willing to work a lot for awhile until we get more people hired and trained up? We're a little short-staffed at the moment."
And pretty much any other question that starts with "are you willing to..." and ends with something most people in their right minds wouldn't be readily willing to do.
Offering to start you out at one rate of pay, then increase it once you're trained in, but there's nothing in writing agreeing to said increase.
When you walk in, do the people that already work there look like they enjoy it? If not, it's probably not a great working environment.
Hiring in haste is a biiiiiig red flag. No one likes desperation.
Had a phone interview once while I was also in college. The guy seemed kind of a prick anyway but nonetheless seemed to like me as a candidate. He said "alright. And when would you be available for an in-person interview?"
I believe it was a Friday afternoon. Monday I had classes all day... from 9 am spread out until 7 pm, so I said "Tuesday afternoon around 1 pm would work for me. I have cla-"
"Uh yeah... as I was saying, I am unavailable all day mond-"
"That's too long to wait" click
That extra mile ain't free. Work should be rewarded.
"We like to see someone go the extra mile."
Roughly translates to:
"You will work late nights, and possibly weekends, but not get paid any more for the time because you're salaried."
Opportunities for advancement are a big part of choosing a job.
When they cant give a straight honest answer about wages, hours, or opportunities to be promoted. Some employers get upset when you ask about it, but it is the entire reason for a job.
How are we supposed to plan for being sick?
I interviewed for a job once and the lady giving me an interview asked how many days a year was it acceptable to call in sick. I was like 18 and hadn't had very many jobs and had never got that question or ever even considered it. So I told her, "well I'm really not sure," she tells me to just take a guess. I say, "okay, for the whole year? 5 or 6? " she starts laughing and tells me that more than 3 or 4 would be a problem. I sat there thinking, well I was off by like 2, did that really justify you laughing at me? I ended up getting the job, it was working in the distribution warehouse of a chain of liquor stores building pallets to be sent out to other locations. On my first day getting anyone to talk to me was like pulling teeth. My supervisor who was training me acted like I was the most annoying thing in the world and hardly said 10 words to me the whole shift. If I asked something he'd just huff and grunt. After 4 hours I clocked out for lunch got in my car and never went back.
I'm prepared to not work on my day off BUT sometimes it's nice to make extra money.
"Be prepared on your days off in case we call you in."
"Play hard" better mean something like paintball and raves.
"We work hard and play hard" usually means they're slave drivers with terrible work-life balance issues, but will probably have a company Christmas party with free snacks and soda.
"If" is not what you want to hear in a job interview.
My first job interview ever I asked about how I would know where everything is. His response? "Just watch the others. We don't train." I hate that. Just tell me so when I'm asked to go get or make something, I don't look dumb in front of the customers.
Also when I asked about pay he kept dodging the question. "Well IF I decide to hire you, I'll tell you." "IF I hire you, you'll learn by watching the others as you work." "IF I hire you, I'll tell you how to you get your work schedule." "IF I hire you, we expect that pull always be available."
I literally hate the word "If" now. I went on a trip to Vietnam & the second I stepped foot in my house he called me to tell me I got the job. I denied it despite needing a job because I knew I would hate my life working there.
Who needs a schedule?
They won't tell you what your usual schedule will be.
You gotta have some workplace comradery.
Nobody is chatting, even in the break room.