5 Red Flags to Watch Out for In Your Next Interview

By Chelsea Babin

The interview process isn’t just a chance for companies to assess your skills, abilities, and potential to fit within their organization, it’s also a chance for you to evaluate if this position is something you’d truly be interested in doing for the next several years or longer. Sometimes we forget this because we’re nervous about making the best impression possible in the interview. However, you shouldn’t let your nerves take over and blind you when there are red flags right in front of your face! Make sure to watch out for these 5 red flags in your next interview.

1. You Can’t Picture Yourself on This Team: The power of visualization is strong when it comes to assessing your options in advance and that couldn’t be more true than when you’re interviewing! If you get the chance to meet the team, interact with your future coworkers, and see what their work style is like and you simply can’t picture yourself fitting in well there it may be a sign that this isn’t the right opportunity for you. After all, company culture and coworker relationships can dictate a lot of your happiness or unhappiness on the job.

2. No Clear Path for Success: If you ask the hiring manager what it takes for someone to succeed in this role and the only answer you get back is a bit of humming and hawing, this may be a major red flag. Unclear job responsibilities can often indicate a jumbled, disorganized company with no clearly set boundaries. The lack of answer to this question could also mean that no one has succeeded in this role before you or been able to grow out of it so they’re unsure what to tell you. Either way, this could be a major red flag if you’re looking to grow within a company that has clear goals for its future.

3. Overworked and Overstressed Peers: If you’re asking people who work at the company, previously worked at the company, or the people who are interviewing you about the job and you frequently hear words like “unpredictable”, “overwhelming”, “overstuffed”, and “understaffed” you have stumbled upon a major red flag. When your future peers are overworked and overstressed (so much so that they’re candid about it in your interview) this may be a sign to cut and run unless you want your future to look the same as their present.

4. Unaware of the Benefits: Monetary compensation is just one way you’re rewarded on the job. Another way is through benefits and training. However, at some companies, you’ll notice that they offer a long list of benefits and yet, once you start working there, you realize no one actually uses them because they’re looked down upon if they do. Quite frankly, benefits are useless to you unless you’re encouraged to actually use them so if you see abandoned ping pong tables in the office or if no one who works there seems to be familiar with their PTO policy this is a major red flag.

5. Late, Rude, or Disorganized in an Interview: Just like you’re expected to show up on time prepared and friendly for your interview, hiring managers should grant you the same courtesy. It’s important to remember that everyone has their bad days and, if they offer an apology after arriving late or being disorganized, this may not be a red flag. However, if the people interviewing you are late with no excuse, consistently rude, and incredibly disorganized this may be a sign that you don’t want to work for this organization unless you want the next few years of your working life to be filled with rude people who aren’t respectful of your time or aren’t able to keep their work lives organized. It’s a personal judgment call on this red flag but you’ll know the kind of toxic environment we’ve described if you ever have the misfortune to step into one for an interview. Those are the kinds of things most companies just can’t hide!

When you’ve prepared for an interview and are ready to make your best impression possible, you should have the confidence to represent yourself while simultaneously evaluating the company you’re interviewing for. If you see any of these 5 common red flags in your next interview, it may be a clear sign that you want to move on and look for future job opportunities elsewhere. Hopefully you’ll never encounter any of these but, if you do, you’ll be prepared to reject an offer if it’s extended to you and apply for better opportunities elsewhere!