If you’re looking for a new job or career because you hate your current job, the only way to avoid another nightmare job is to carefully vet any potential employer. However, we know that desperation can make the smartest woman a little blind, so we’ve put together the ultimate list of warning signs and red flags to watch out for when you’re interviewing for a new job. Here are seven warning signs to watch out for during a job interview.
Asking you to do a trial shift or piece of work for free
While trial runs are an effective way for an employer to review your competency in a role and assess how well you will fit in with the team, the nature of the trial says a lot about your future employer’s ethics and integrity.
If you are expected to work, you should be paid for your time. An employer who doesn’t do so is taking advantage of you and this suggests that he or she does not value your time or skills.
Not respecting you or your time
If you’re asked to attend an interview but you are then kept waiting for more than 30 minutes (especially with no apology or explanation) this is a surefire sign that the employer has little respect for you and your time. This is particularly common when a company becomes so successful (or thinks it is so successful), it assumes potential employees will put up with anything for the privilege of working there. Other warning signs of a self-involved employer include:
- an interviewer who does not know your name
- an interviewer who clearly hasn’t even read your CV
- being invited for the interview at extremely short notice (less than 48 hours)
- having your interview rescheduled or cancelled with less than 24 hours notice
The greatest risk of accepting a job with an employer who behaves in this manner is that it sets a precedence. Your employer may continuously take advantage of you as he or she believes they did you a favour by hiring you.
Being disrespectful about past employees
Nothing screams ‘toxic workplace’ louder than an employer who is so unprofessional and lacking in self-control that he or she speaks badly about previous or existing employees during a job interview. Always remember that most interviewers are on their best behaviour during an interview. If they are disrespectful at their best, you can only imagine what they will be like at their worst.
Chaotic and disorganised recruitment process
Unexpected events can happen during any hiring process, but if you’re dealing with a company who can’t seem to get anything right, pay attention. Whether it is repeated rescheduling of interview dates, asking you to send over information you have already sent, passing you from one person to another or being incredibly slow to relay vital information over to you, never ignore a gut feeling. If the whole hiring process feels like one blunder after another, that’s a clear indication that the company as a whole is very likely to be quite chaotic and difficult to work in.
A HR team with a clear conflict of interest
This may not seem like a big problem on the surface, but trust us when we say that it is. HR is your only ally if any problems occur at work. If the person in charge of HR has very strong loyalties with your employer (e.g. they are related to management, in a relationship with management or have a financial incentive beyond their paycheck) you may struggle to be fairly heard if you have any problems at work in the future.
The presence of a HR team with a clear conflict of interest also demonstrates that your employer has seriously poor judgement, which is another problem in itself.
No clear job description
A job with no clear job description is a clear red flag because it sets you up for failure. If you have no clearly defined duties and responsibilities, your employer is free to move the goalposts as much as he or she likes. You may find yourself being asked to do tasks you did not anticipate, you are not suitably qualified to do or that should attract a much higher salary than you are getting. Do not put yourself at risk of being taken advantage of. Always ask for a job description, or at the very least, a list of key duties for the role.
Everything feels too rushed
Sometimes an employer will need to fill a position quickly, but the hiring process should still be carried out in a professional manner. If a company asks you to start working the next day or fails to collect any references and issue a contract because they are so keen for you to start, take a step back.
Do not allow yourself to be rushed by them as this could come back to haunt you down the line. Always be firm about your start date (make sure it gives you enough time to get your affairs in order) and be sure to get a signed employment contract before you begin work.
It is also worth asking why the outgoing person is leaving. Your new employer may not tell you the truth, but their reaction to the question will help you to understand more about the company’s real work culture.
Did we miss any warning signs to watch out for during a job interview? Tell us below.
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