Interviews can turn any company into a group of professional magicians.
With some smoke and mirrors, even the most disreputable companies can transform themselves into the belle of the ball to some interviewees. Placing themselves in a position of power, there are times where unsavory businesses are able to manipulate the information provided to you, hindering your ability to truly tell if they are the right fit for you.
So how can you tell where a company stands? Check out these tips to pinpointing interview red flags to help you determine if this glass slipper is a fit, or if they will turn back into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight.
They Seem Unorganized
You can come to expect that more things happen in fast-paced businesses than studying every detail of your resume. Sometimes in your interview you will find that your interviewer may not have everything set-up and ready to go as soon as you step into the office, and that is ok.
However, if you find your interviewer losing everything you have provided them, continuously repeating questions you have already answered or saying you already discussed something you have never heard about, proceed with caution. Take it with a grain of salt, as the interviewer may just be having an off day, but also note that this could be a precursor to show what it is like working under this individual.
They Get Too Personal
Understand that there is a massive difference between questions relating to how you will fit with company culture (like your hobbies and interests outside of work) and questions that are actually illegal for a company to ask (such as questions regarding your race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion). If your interviewer asks any questions that even graze this area, seriously pick up your things and walk out.
Do the same if your interviewer begins to ask questions that are misogynistic, like your relationship status, plans to have children in the future or any comments regarding your appearance.
Finally, don’t be afraid to turn down a position due to questions that you personally feel are unethical or make you feel uncomfortable. Always trust your gut, as you will likely be working closely with this individual in your day-to-day.
They Avoid Tough Questions
Although it may seem scary or risky, always be sure to ask your interviewer about their business’s current challenges and what they are working to improve. This not only gives you the opportunity to understand where they stand and what needs to be worked on, it also puts the company in a vulnerable state to openly admit that they are not perfect. Whether they are a small micro-agency or Facebook HQ, there is no such thing as a perfect company. An ideal business will embrace the fact that they have faults and express how they are planning on addressing these issues.
If your interviewer cannot provide one example of how their company can improve, then they are either lying to you or they genuinely think they are perfect. Regardless, both will be detrimental to you. If they are lying, you will likely be placed into a less than ideal environment, which will start of your relationship with the company on a sour note. Conversely, if they really do think they are perfect, you can’t help but wonder what their goals are moving forward. After all, if a company is “perfect” how can they continue to improve themselves and their standards in the future?
They Seem Desperate
“Could you start as soon as tomorrow?”
Listen, when you are on the search for a new job the concept of getting an offer right away is logically the direction you would want to go. But before you tell them you can start this very second, take some time to consider why they are so desperate to fill this position so quickly. Could this be due to somebody leaving the company in a rush? If it feels like the company is oozing a sense of urgency to fill the position, pause and ponder.
Hiring somebody is a costly investment for any business. Not only do they have to pay for salary, benefits and training, it is also an investment of trust. Will this individual fit in well with the team? Do they encompass and embrace the values of the company? This being addressed, it is exciting for a company to express early interest in you, but immediately offering you a position without discussing with the team shows that they are more interested in filling an open spot than supporting company culture.
They Are One-Sided
I once wrote a post comparing interviews to a first date, and still believe that they are much more similar than you may think. So like any date, conversation should naturally flow to focus on both of you. After all, who wants to start a relationship without knowing who the other person really is?
You have grounds to be concerned if your interviewer seems more focused on disproportionately speaking about himself or about you. Interviews should be 50 percent about the interviewee, and 50 percent about the company. Ultimately, they are a test of chemistry to see what you have to bring to the table, and how you would fit in with their culture. Avoid those companies who exude a “me, me, me” mindset or just silently listen to your life story with no contribution to the conversation.
With a few magic spells, any company can successfully disguise themselves to appear to be the star of the show during interviews. Hopefully these tips will help you look past the shiny lights and determine if a company is a right fit for you.
Do you have any examples of red flags in past interviews or advice on how to deal with these uncomfortable situations? Comment below.