The Job Interview Red Flags Every Candidate Should Watch Out For

The Job Interview Red Flags Every Candidate Should Watch Out For
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 10 March, 2022

red flag

Want to take your job hunting skills a notch higher than the competition? Preparing for a job interview doesn't stop when you've already rehearsed your answers or learned everything there is to know about the company and role you are applying for. Job hunting involves making a commitment to another entity that you're giving them your time, skills and effort to contribute to their operations. Just as they have the interview to gauge whether you're a good hire for the role, the interview affords you the same chance to see whether you're a good match for the company.

Always remember that you also have a great role to play in a job interview. Think of it as a two-way street - remember that you are interviewing hirers too. It is one of the best ways for you to have a feel for your future workplace before signing on the contract so use this time well.

1. The company hides information from you.

Asking questions before committing to an interview is not a bad thing. In fact, responsible hirers won't take it against you if you inquired (e.g. about the type of interview to expect or the interview's location) before accepting their invitation. In fact, asking questions may even work in your favour as it would show your interest to the post. During the interview, be mindful also if the hirer refuses to answer questions about the company or the role.

Likewise, finding little to zero information about the company you are applying to is a big cause for concern. Though not all companies, especially newly-built ones may have an online presence yet, do know that some fly-by-night companies and illegal recruiters may operate the same way.

Here at, we believe that "Knowledge is power" and we highly encourage candidates to do their research first before sending out their applications. Our newly-launched Company Reviews feature takes out the guesswork and does the job for you during this crucial part of the job search process. Learn insider information on companies you are interested in by reading comments about them from current or former employees.

2. Your interviewer exhibits rude behaviour.

Good manners and right conduct should be expected from both sides of the interview. Badmouthing co-workers or the person you are replacing, as well as using unsavoury language are not only unprofessional but are also big causes for concern as well.

Recent college grad Nihad Peavler shares her experience to Fast Company when she found herself with an interviewer who swore like a pirate. Still, she went ahead and accepted the job when it was offered to her. She then found herself in her very own ‘The Devil Wear Prada' movie when her interviewer, now her boss, exhibited even more rude behaviour. She lasted all of four months in that company.

Think of interviews as dates - would you want to continue dating a person who behaved rudely towards you?

3. The hirer has not reviewed your career profile.

There are many reasons for why this might happen. Perhaps there were lots of candidates who applied and yours might have skipped the interviewer's eyes.

As bad as this may seem, you can actually turn the situation to your advantage. Use the opportunity to position yourself in the best light and choose which parts of your career to highlight. Put the spotlight on the key areas of your career profile and take charge of the situation. The hirer's oversight may be a distraction but try not to let it derail your performance.

Now should this be a deal breaker? It depends whether your interviewer is a recruiter or your would-be manager. The first one may be negligible, the second not so much. However, it's not enough reason for you to stop the process right then and there. Again there may be a ton of reasons behind the interviewer's behaviour, but keep your eyes out for it if you do go on to the next stages of the hiring process.

4. The hirer could not explain your job's purpose clearly.

Here's another step in the process where asking questions is not just expected but encouraged. There may be times when an ad may not be able to clearly portray a job role clearly, and the interview is the perfect chance for candidates to do it. Take it as a bad sign if the person(s) who should know these things is unable to come up with satisfying answers.

This occurs sometimes for newly-formed roles or departments in a company, or it may be signs that your future manager is disorganized. It is every hirer's role to give candidates a clear picture overview of what the job entails and what needs to be achieved to succeed in the position. ‘ The hiring manager should know what it takes to be successful within their department. This includes the knowledge, skills,background, education, and attitude necessary,' says Forbes' Lisa Quast. David Lewis, an HR consultant from Connecticut, USA also says, ‘ If you're having a hard time explaining the role to friends and family after an interview, that should raise some questions.'

5. The hiring process is much too long or short.

The length of hiring processes may differ depending on the career level a candidate goes for. For those gunning for senior roles, it's normal for them to go through rounds of tests and interviews before the job is offered. However, hiring processes that go on for far too long for even entry-level positions are a cause for concern. It may be indicative of indecision on the part of the supervisors or a workplace that's steeped in red tape.

Lightning fast hiring processes are just as bad. You might not be getting the necessary information needed for you to process when you find yourself in one. It may be a blessing for those who have been searching for jobs far too long but it may also signal desperation on the part of the company.

Again, these are not deal breakers but do think carefully about why the hiring process went on the way it did.

6. The company culture does not feel like a good fit for you.

The interview process gives you the best chance to properly evaluate not just your future boss but also the workplace you'll belong to in the next few years. Observe your surroundings well and imagine yourself whether it's something you can imagine working at. Open your eyes and look at the people around you. Can you see yourself as their co-worker? Look at the place and check out what's happening around you. Does it encourage you to continue on with the application process? What is the overall vibe of the place and is it something that you can live with?

Whether you found yourself in a workplace that's lively or something that is comparable to a library, you have to remember that the company's culture should match yours. This is a place where you'll be coming in five to six days a week and it's a place where you should be able to feel comfortable and at home. Again, please don't hesitate about asking questions during the interview to help yourself have a better picture of what a typical day is like in that company.

We always urge our readers to exercise good faith and careful discernment when deciding to accept a company's job offer, but know that there are no perfect job interviews or interviewers. Knowing the red flags to watch out for during these sessions will help you decide whether the job is the right one for you or not. Assess how important the job role is to you, know what's at stake based on the information you've gathered during your interview and weigh your options.

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