8 Red Flags to Look Out for During the Interview Process

We’ve all heard the horror stories of interviews gone terribly wrong. And while it may seem clear to us, reading about them after the fact, it can sometimes be a bit more difficult to identify a red flag when you’re the one sitting in the interviewee chair. Read on for some major signs you should give your potential employer a hard pass.

red flag

1. Repeated rescheduling

We get it: Sometimes things happen and interviews need to be rescheduled. But if a hiring manager calls to reschedule more than once or twice, take it as a hint they’re not going to respect your time more as an employee than they are as a potential hire.

2. Keeping compensation a mystery

A big part (if not the main part) of a job is making money. So if an interviewer refuses to tell you exactly what the expected pay range is for a position, or if they keep trying to put off answering until later in the process, that’s your cue to leave. There’s no point in wasting your time or theirs by suffering through a (likely unpleasant) salary surprise.

3. Requiring early tests or projects

While some industries require applicants to take certain tests or complete projects as part of their interview—think sample designs or coding exams—Business Insider points out that this should only be happening later on in the hiring process, ideally once you’ve already completed at least one interview. If they request these materials from you early on, it could indicate a lack of respect for your time (at best) or an attempt to get free labor (at worst).

4. An overly lengthy interview process

Sure, it will take time for a company to find its ideal candidate. But if they keep drawing out the process or string you along by continuing to require more and more interviews, it likely means they’re indecisive or just plain disorganized.

5. The old “bait and switch”

We can tell you from experience that if you show up for an interview for one position and are told you’re actually a better fit for a different position—one you’ve never heard of or had no desire to apply for—do yourself a favor and run. There’s no reason for a company to pull this move unless they’ve been struggling to find people to hire for a while—and there’s likely a reason for that.

6. A conflict of values

Ideally you should find out the major values of the core company before your interview is ever scheduled by researching them online and in the news. But once you arrive at the interview, it’s important to find out whether their micro values align with your work style—for example, if you value your independence and the hiring manager talks about how closely you’ll be working with others, take that as a sign that the fit isn’t right.

7. Talking trash

If your interviewers begin talking bad about the person who previously held the position to which you’re applying, take that as a giant red flag that they will disrespect everyone in the office—including you. There’s no reason to talk badly about others, so this is a good indication the office culture will be nothing but toxic.

8. Mandatory overtime for salaried positions

Mandatory overtime doesn’t make any sense if you’re applying for a salaried position. All that phrase means in this case is you’re expected to work over your allotted hours without any sort of compensation—a very clear sign that your time will not be honored or respected.

While walking out of an interview may seem difficult to do, it is much easier than leaving a job once you’ve already started. Just make sure to trust your gut if it’s telling you that something is off—your intuition is there for a reason.

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