It's not always easy to navigate the interview process objectively.
Truly, I get it.
Sometimes, you love the idea of a job opportunity or company so much that it's hard to pay attention to (no less accept) obvious warning signs. Sometimes, you just flat out need a job, so you're terrified to let a paycheck opportunity to pass you by.
Regardless of your situation or level of need, you'll serve yourself well if you're keenly aware of these common (and major) red flags as you head into any interview situation.
6 interview signs that point toward lemon:
1. The answer to "Why is this job open?" seems sketchy
Totally fair question that you can -- and should -- ask in the interview. Is it a newly created role? Did the predecessor move across the country? OR, did something go down that no one realllly wants to talk about? Be wary of the latter, especially if you get wind that this position has been filled and re-filled multiple times in recent months or years. If something smells off, it probably is.
2. The interviewer overshares
Candid conversation and a realistic picture of the team is all fine and well, but if the hiring manager starts sharing wayyyyy to much personal information about the team or the predecessor in this position -- or bad-mouthing anyone, guess what? You can and should expect just about the same treatment when you arrive.
3. The job description and overview have no "meat"
Even if this is a brand new position with only a "rough" job description, the leaders with whom you meet should be able share a solid overview of what the organization needs, and how your role will factor in. Certainly, many professionals shape their own job descriptions after they settle in, but if no one really knows the specifics about this role, it may well be because they haven't thought it through. And this could be very bad news if, in the weeks or months that follow your taking this job, company leaders decide they've aimed in the wrong direction
4. Everyone in the joint seems unhappy or tense
Oooh, this is a bad one. I've walked into a couple of potential recruiting client companies over the years and, within 3 minutes thought to myself, "Nooooooooooo" before we ever even sat down at the conference table. Always try to have at least one interview at the company's main office location. It will tell you LOADS about how people feel about working there. Are they smiling? Interacting? Collaborating? Or does everyone seem scared, mad, bored or freaked out a little? I'd avoid the latter if at all possible.
5. The online reviews of this company are unsettling at best
Glassdoor.com is your friend when you're trying to get intel on quality of work environment. Take a look here first and, if you see nothing (smaller companies often aren't listed), at the very least Google "Name of Company" and "Employer" - or - "Name of Company" and "Sucks" (seriously). You'll sometimes find assessments from people who have preceded you. Now, I wouldn't live or die by these necessarily, because every company has disgruntled former employees that just like to say mean things online. But if you see a lot of negative reviews, proceed with caution.
6. No one seems all that interested in you
Did the interviewer review your resume / background before he sat down for the interview? Does he seem to be listening to the answers after asking questions? Eye contact? For sure, if you're interviewing with a handful of people and ONE guy is kind of dialed out, that's no reason to run. But if everyone seems dialed out or blatantly disinterested, you can probably expect about the same level of engagement once you arrive.
Surely, interviewers could have off days. And yes, sometimes you're not seeing an organization on their best day. You certainly don't want to knee-jerk react to the slightest things. But if you're seeing patterns, or multitudes of red flags, or if your gut is screaming NO! NO! NO! ?
Then you could very well be heading for a lemon, and not the kind with vodka and a sugared rim.
How about you? Did you ever fall into a total lemon job? Or did you bail before you accepted? Share your stories in the comments, for heaven's sake.
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons (Liz West)