Job Interviews are important both for the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewer gets the opportunity to assess whether you are a great fit for their organisation.

On the other hand, the interviewee needs to assess if the company is an ideal fit for their career goals and aspirations.

A job occupies a large portion of our time. Therefore, the organisation that we work at is an integral part of our daily lives. If our job makes us happy then this will fulfill a large portion of our lives.

On the other hand, if our job makes us miserable, then it may cause undue discomfort and stress. For that reason, job interviews are just as critical for the interviewee and care must be taken in the interview to identify potential red flags.

There are other job interview related content on this blog. Feel free to click any of the links below to explore these resources:-

35 Important Things To Do Before, During And After A Job Interview

21 Top Tips and Tricks For Successful Job Interview

How to Use the STAR Interview Technique to Ace Your Job Interview

How to Ace A Phone  Interview

How To Ace A Skype Job Interview

11 Essential Questions To Ask A Job Interviewer

10 Job Interview Pitfalls That Job Seekers Must Avoid

5 Practical Factors You Should Consider When Travelling For A Job Interview

Hereunder are 7 red flags that you should look out for in a job interview:

Personality of Your Immediate Manager

Usually the immediate manager is part of the interviewing panel. Your immediate manager is someone who you will need to work closely with on a daily basis.

Therefore, try and pay close attention to that person’s personality. What does your intuition say? How was the interaction? How did that individual interact with others?

How would you describe that person in one word after the meeting? Is that word something positive or negative? Examine your response carefully?

If for any reason you get any negative feeling or perception about the individual then pay close attention. If you are called for a second interview, then examine this gut reaction further. Remember that you are free to ask questions in the interview.

If the negative feeling is something that you cannot shake off, then strongly consider if a job offer is made, whether it is wise to work at that organisation.

Reporting Structure

Reporting structure is a big red flag that you should consider in job interview. This is critical especially if the role that you are vying for is one that is compliance based. Let me explain this further.

If you are being hired for a role like an internal auditor or a safety engineer where the role requires you to implement changes in the operations to prevent accidents you need the CEO’S buy-in.

A CEO who does not support your efforts will make you ineffective in your role. This may happen in cases where the objectives of the CEO are not tied to your role. Alternatively, the CEO performance is based on profit.

As an example, there may be an instance where you need the buy in from your CEO to implement a change as a safety engineer to prevent an accident that can cost the business $50,000.

If this accident never occurred in the past the CEO may view your recommendation as low priority or as an expense.

This could make implementing process and structures difficult. Roles of a compliance nature need to have independent reporting structures.

Using the example above, a safety engineer’s role even though it may report to the CEO works more effectively when there is a matrix structure. The engineer should also report to someone at a head office level.

This will make the role more effective and easier to carry out. Therefore, pay close attention to reporting structures. Be sure to always ask the interviewing panel about the reporting structure of your role especially those of a compliance nature.

High Staff Turnover

Pay close attention to any comment that suggests that there is high level of staff changes within the organisation. Where employees are happy and satisfied, they tend to remain.

If employees are leaving, there must be a good reason for it. Therefore, probe more into the comment.

On the other hand, you can never compare someone else’s experience to the experience that you will have at the same company. Consider as well the stage that the company is in its life cycle as a possible explanation.

A start up business tends to have a higher level of turnover than a mature business.

During the startup phase, employees are usually expected to work long hours and the business will have a lot of teething problems. This commitment may not appeal to many individual which may account for the high turnover.

Budgetary Control

To accomplish certain roles within a business effectively, you need money at your disposal. Not having the authority to approve certain things could frustrate you in your role.

As an example, if a business is hiring you to be a Project Manager and you are not in control of managing the budget relating to the project, then that is a huge red flag.

If you are vying for the role of a sales manager or marketing manager within a business and you do not have a budget for your department, then again this is a huge red flag.

If you do not have complete authority over the budget then you do not have access to resources that you require to complete your role. Therefore, responsibility for the budget is paramount in roles such as the ones listed above.

Why the Predecessor Left

One red flag that you must look out for while job interviewing is why the predecessor left the job. If there was a problem, the manager will not give you that reason.

However, note well the response that was given and how the question is responded to.

Was there any hesitation in the way the question was answered? Was the response vague? Examples of acceptable responses to this question are the individual was promoted or the person left the business to go to study.

Organisation’s Culture

Besides asking questions directly to the interviewing panel, pay attention to the organisation’s culture.

If the interview is at the company premises then look at pictures on the walls, murals, if there are any words up that can give you an idea of the company’s missions and values.

Pay close attention to how the staff interacts with each other. Do they seem happy to be there or do they seem stressed out and burdened. By carefully observation, you should be able to get a sense of the company culture and office atmosphere.

Vague Job Description

If the hiring manager or the interviewing panel cannot provide clear and accurate information above the role, then this should be a massive red flag.

Hiring managers are usually clear on the requirements that they are seeking in new candidates. If this seems vague in anyway, then this is a massive red flag.

Final Thoughts

It is important to always remember that job interviews are not one sided. You are also interviewing and researching the company to understand whether the role and the organisation is the right fit for you.

Therefore, do not be afraid to probe respectfully if you notice a red flag. Above all, trust your instincts and guts. If something doesn’t sit well with you, maybe in reality it isn’t the right job for you.

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7 Red Flags That You Should Look For In A Job Interview

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