CAREER: INTERVIEW RED FLAGS
After such positive responses to my career blog posts and instagram posts, I decided I would try and write more career posts! Today's topic is about interview red flags. Have you ever interviewed for a job, got the offer, worked for 6 months and then felt like you were duped in your interview? Did you feel bamboozled? I've been there. Looking back, I can honestly say there were warning signs during the interview process. Thanks to my experience, I have been able to sense when a company is not a good fit after only a couple of interviews. After speaking with friends, they had very similar experiences. I know a lot of you are in college, applying to law school or almost finished with school so you will be starting to interview for jobs before you know it. I hope you find this post helpful!
(1) The interviewer doesn't review your resume, doesn't know the job description and/or isn't prepared. Look...I get people are busy but if you know you're interviewing someone, you should at the very least skim their resume. If you don't even take a moment to at least pick out 2-3 things to talk about on my resume, you are showing me that you aren't invested in finding the perfect fit. BAD SIGN. Also, if you work in a department that isn't relatively large, you should know what type of person should be a good fit and what the job description says. I have had interviews where I prepared myself by trying to connect my experience to the job description and then I get in the interview and the interviewer looks at me like I have three heads. I had what I thought was my dream job once and the interview process was absolutely horrible but I didn't pick up on some things until after I worked there. During the interview process, a couple of the people actually said I wasn't experienced enough for the position. Meanwhile the position was ENTRY LEVEL and I had a few years of experience at that point. If the interviewer doesn't know what they want during the interview, they probably won't know what they want when you start working.
(2) If/When you receive interview feedback, the recruiter can't articulate what the interviewers liked or didn't like. Going back to my nightmare job, I was pushed through multiple rounds of interviews and given positive feedback. After one of the later interview rounds, I got a call from someone in the department (not the recruiter) giving me "feedback" about my interview. All of a sudden there was negative feedback from the same people I had interviewed with twice before (yes, I was made to interview with the same people repeatedly). When I asked for more specific feedback, I was told that the person couldn't "articulate" the issues. Now, I'm talking to an attorney and they can't articulate the interviewers' feedback? Number one, this told me that the company doesn't require their interviewers to record their interview feedback which is a big problem. If they recorded their feedback, the person would be able to easily reference their feedback. Number two, this also showed me that the person was uncomfortable giving feedback. This should've been unsettling since this person was going to be my direct supervisor. The whole thing was odd because they still had me come back in for another interview (*insert eyeroll*) and eventually offered me the position. I found that the inability to articulate feedback was a common issue once I was working there.
(3) The recruiter or contact doesn't keep their word about timelines. I get that there are budget considerations and scheduling issues, but if a recruiter says they will contact you in two weeks, they should contact you. Even if they are contacting you to let you know it will be longer, that's better than just being unresponsive. I recently read an article on LinkedIn about recruiters being "ghosted" by Millennial candidates. Be sure to keep your timelines and follow up with recruiters if they don't contact you by the deadline. If they seem annoyed, make a note of this. They shouldn't be mad at you for staying on top of timelines. Shouldn't you be doing that in the position?
(4) The interviewer asks you questions meant to stump you, not get to know you. So I had a two hour long interview with a woman once who asked me the most asinine questions. At some point you have to ask yourself, are you looking for a great fit or are you drunk with power and trying to stump the potential candidate? Ain't nobody trying to answer riddles for an hour. I had one interviewer ask me what would I do if I won the lottery. I mean obviously I would quit but I would never admit that in an interview. What does that even show you about me? Shouldn't you care more about how I stay organized, how I prioritize my work, etc?
(5) The recruiter or contact is not respectful of your time/schedule. Have you ever had a recruiter contact you and schedule an interview for the next day at short notice? Like damn, you don't care about my time do you? Most recruiters know if you currently have a job. They shouldn't expect for you to drop everything for a last minute interview unless it's an emergency (i.e., your interviewer is going to be out of the country for months with no access to internet or phone). If you see this regularly occurring during the interview process, it might be time to dig deeper. Once you get the job, they might feel like any time not spent at the office isn't worthy of respect.
(6) The interviewer bad mouths your predecessor. I'm laughing while writing this post because every single one of these red flags were waving hard during my interview process for the dream job turned nightmare I mentioned. During my interview with the Director, he started off by asking me if I knew why the position was currently open (ummm no, why would I care?) Once I said no, the Director proceeded to trash talk the person who was in the position before me and proudly bragging about firing them. I should've known that this position was not going to be the right fit but hindsight is 20/20. After starting my position with the company, the Director bad mouthed other former employees and made fun of them, often accusing them of continuing to access company software amongst other things. What a mess! Just as you shouldn't bad mouth a former employer, the interviewer should not bad mouth former employees. Just remember, if they do it to them, they'll do it to you. It's also immature and unprofessional and shows that the company may have a culture of shifting blame to others/throwing employees under the bus.
I hope this was a helpful post! If you have any career topics you would like me to write about, let me know!