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  • Jason Aiginitis

The Interview Red Flags No One Told You About

Interviews - the thing that most people absolutely hate when it comes to job hunting. I know you will likely hate me but I have always been one of those people that actually LOVES (with capital letters) to do interviews. In my eyes, interviews are the one situation where boasting about yourself and your skills is socially acceptable. And at the end of the day, who doesn’t love to talk about themselves right?! During an interview, you can keep on talking about all the great things you have done, how awesome you are and how without you the world would be a darker place. But interviews are not just an opportunity to boast. They are also an opportunity to look into the potential employer and understand how they work as a business and if they would be a suitable workplace for you. One key thing to always remember is that during any interview, they are not just interviewing (or questioning!) you, but you are also interviewing them. They need you exactly as much as you need them so you need to make sure that when you accept an offer, it is for a good and healthy workplace that will allow you to thrive and progress in your career.

So that being said, what should you be looking out for during those interviews? There are obvious things such as “we are all family here” or “we work hard and play hard” and all those cringy lines that you can find in a million other blogs. What I want to talk to you about is more than that.

The Interview Red Flags that go unnoticed.

There are many things that can happen during an interview that we have unfortunately learned to accept as commonplace or that we subconsciously ignore. Those are the key red flags that I want to talk to you about so that during your next interview, you can pay attention and avoid workplaces that will be bad for your mental health and your career.

1. The Huge Technical Task

It is very common for an employer to ask you to complete some sort of technical task. Those technical tasks can be audits, setting up a simple account or solving a code issue. All those are absolutely fine and I would even say that if they hire you without some sort of task, this would constitute a red flag of its own.

What is not normal though, is to give you a task that would take you more than a few hours to carry out. This can be a sign that the employer is not truly interested in your qualifications or skills, but rather, they are using the task as a way to exploit your labor. Please bear in mind that I am saying this while taking as standard that you are not being paid for that task. I have been in and seen situations where the employer is compensating you for the hours you are going to spend on the task which is a HUGE green flag. Employers should respect your time and just like they wouldn’t expect their employees to work for free (hopefully!), they should have the same approach to their candidates. If a task takes more than 2-3 hours, it is a massive red flag and you should really consider how much you would want to work for them.

2. Not Keeping Their Promises

During the interview process, it's essential for both parties to be transparent and honest. If you notice that the company is not keeping its promises, such as scheduling an interview and then postponing it last minute, or failing to provide feedback on your performance, it's a sign that they might not be reliable. It could be an indication of disorganization, lack of professionalism, or even a lack of respect for your time. Keep an eye out for patterns of broken promises, as they could signal potential issues down the line if you end up working for them.

Moreover, an employer's lack of follow-through on promises could be a reflection of how they treat their employees in general. If they can't honor their commitments during the hiring process, you may find yourself in a situation where they're not living up to expectations regarding workload, opportunities for growth, or support. A company that values its employees should be able to communicate effectively and keep its promises, both during the interview process and throughout employment.

3. Not Talking About Remuneration

A critical aspect of any job is, of course, the remuneration. If the employer is hesitant or unwilling to discuss salary, benefits, or any other financial aspect of the position, it could be a red flag. Open and transparent communication about remuneration is essential to establish trust and ensure that you're on the same page as your potential employer. Avoid companies that are evasive when it comes to discussing compensation, as it might indicate that they are not willing to invest in you as an employee or that they may have unrealistic standards regarding your salary expectations.

Additionally, reluctance to discuss remuneration could suggest that the company may not offer competitive compensation packages or might be experiencing financial difficulties. It's essential to know your worth and ensure that you're being fairly compensated for your skills and experience. If a potential employer is unwilling to have an open conversation about money, it's worth considering whether the company is the right fit for you.

4. Involving Too Many or Too Important People

While it's natural for an employer to want multiple opinions during the hiring process, involving too many people or having high-ranking executives present during your interview can be a red flag. This might indicate that the company has a top-heavy management structure, which could lead to inefficiency and bureaucracy. On the other hand, it could also suggest that they are struggling to make decisions independently and that they might micromanage employees.

Under normal circumstances, a CEO for example would never be involved in the day-to-day hiring unless it was for a very senior position with a saying to the company’s strategy. I have seen too many places where the Managing Directors want to “meet everyone that joins the business” and 99% of the time, that equals micromanagement and a toxic work environment due to a lack of trust. The above situation pretty much indicates that the CEO/MD does not trust his middle managers to hire good people and highlights that the whole management structure might be broken or toxic. If anyone has a different opinion and feels that there might be an actual justified reason why a CEO/MD would take time out of his day to meet a junior that is about to join the business, please do let me know!

In conclusion, interviews are not just about showing off your fantastic skills and achievements, but also about dodging those sneaky red flags that might signal potential trouble with a future employer. Keep your eyes peeled and pay attention to the warning signs, so you can make an informed decision about whether a company is the right fit for your career and well-being.

Now, imagine having a trusty sidekick, a mentor to discuss or prepare for your interviews. It's like having your very own superhero, armed with invaluable insights, guidance, and a dash of humor to help you navigate through the perilous world of job interviews. Together, we'll laugh in the face of red flags and make the best choices for your professional growth.

So, my fellow job hunters, may your next interview be filled with green flags, chuckles, and a whole lot of rewarding experiences! Good luck out there, and remember, fortune favors the prepared!


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