Congratulations! You’ve been selected as an interview candidate from your dream company. It’s time to prepare yourself to ensure the interview goes well.
Before that, we didn’t mean to be a party pooper but your dream job interview could also turn into a nightmare.
If you’re reading this to prepare for your first job interview, you will also need to be ready and mindful of any bad signs the interviewer might give you during the interview.
Typically, they are red flags that do not give good representation to the employer. The signs may be unclear and sometimes you have to trust your gut to say that something is not right. In this article, we want to help you understand six red flags to save yourself from a bad employer:
1. The interviewer shows up unprepared or late.
A scheduled interview means both parties (interviewer and interviewee) have agreed to invest their time in the session.
If the interviewer or hiring manager doesn’t show up in time or looks unprepared, this indirectly shows that they do not value time. They might have their reason, but it shouldn’t be an excuse as to why they prefer not to prioritise the interview when they should have.
As the interviewee, you need to always come in prepared and show up early to give a good impression to your potential employer. You should aim to come 20-30 minutes early for a physical or face-to-face interview and 10 minutes early for an online interview.
However, if you’re not given the same energy, this raises the red flag as you can expect how your employment journey with the company will look like if you happen to work with them.
2. The company has a high turnover rate.
Turnover is the act of replacing an employee with a new employee. If a company’s turnover rate is high, it means that many of the employees resign from the organisation within a certain period.
A high turnover rate is a major red flag as it indicates toxic working culture or the manager is hard to work with. It can be difficult to capture toxic culture during an interview, but you can notice based on how frequent the role is advertised over a short period as it could be a bad sign.
If you have seen the role being posted a few times, you can ask the interviewer a question as simple as, “I’ve seen the role that I’m applying for being posted twice online before, may I know the reason why?” A good employer will be able to reasonably answer and explain why they had to advertise the role repeatedly.
3. No clear timeline is given during the hiring process.
You will normally be in contact with the recruiter or human resources officer who handles the recruitment process. While you’re interviewing for the job, you should be given a clear picture of the interview timeline. This includes how many rounds of interviews you should expect to be in and how long the hiring process should take.
We’ve heard issues by the candidates where they’ve been told that there will be another round of an interview but had not heard back for weeks. They only received a response when a follow-up email was sent by the candidates themselves. Worst case scenario is when the candidates are being ghosted after the first interview.
If you still have not heard back from the company, you can contact them by sending out a follow-up email one week after the interview. Even better, you can reach out to them and ask any questions in regards to the interview, especially the timeline in advance upon receiving the interview invite. If they cannot provide any clear details, it could mean they’re disorganised and don’t have a proper hiring system.
4. The interviewer provides a vague description of the job.
The job descriptions provided may not be clear enough, so you might have questions to help you understand better about the dream job that you’re applying for.
The interview is the best place to have all your questions answered. You can ask your interviewer to describe the day-to-day responsibilities and what to expect in the role. If they are not able to provide you with a clear answer on what’s expected from the job, then something might be up. It could mean that they are unsure of what to expect from the potential candidate.
A good interviewer will be able to explain the job responsibilities and other details related to the position. You have the right to know what a typical daily role looks like and the expectations you need to fulfil for the role.
5. The interviewer badmouths the person you’re replacing.
If you ask the interviewer a question about why the employee you’re replacing resigned and they answer by throwing offhand comments about that person, it can be a sign of a disrespectful and toxic workplace.
Badmouthing an outgoing and existing employee is another big red flag that you should never disregard. Besides the unprofessionalism, this shows a toxic behaviour of a boss that you need to avoid.
If you ask a question about why someone decided to leave the role, a good interviewer will be able to provide a diplomatic explanation without making bad comments about the person’s work ethic, appearance or personality.
6. The interviewer asks you inappropriate questions.
An employer has no right to ask personal and inappropriate questions like your age, marital status, religion, sexual orientation and more. There should be a line drawn between the interviewee and interviewer on what questions they’re allowed to ask.
Some of the improper questions may include:
- “Are you married?”
- “Are you pregnant?”
- “Are you planning to have more children?”
- “What’s your sexual orientation?”
- “Are you religious?”
- “Do you have a disability?”
If you’re being asked inappropriate questions, try to be polite and drive the conversation away by saying that you’re not comfortable sharing the information and asking them how the question is relevant to the job. There shouldn’t be a reason to ask inappropriate questions in an interview. If they still insist, it means they have the intention to discriminate on your personal life and correlate it with your career.
There could be more red flags that are not included in the list above, but knowing these signs will help you decide whether or not the job is the right one for you. If you have any questions or need career advice, feel free to contact us at Xremo.