You did everything right — wrote a stellar cover letter, proofread your resume until it was 100 percent error free, and networked until your hands were sore from all of that handshaking — and your efforts finally paid off. You’ve scored an interview. Press your best suit and get ready to describe your greatest strengths and weaknesses. You’ve got this.
But make sure you want it. Remember that the interview process is not completely one-sided. The interview is your chance to meet your prospective boss, examine the company culture first-hand, and assess whether the company is a good fit for your working style and career goals.
Here are six warning signs that you shouldn’t take the job:
1. Vague Description of Duties
These days, most job descriptions include the disclaimer, “other duties as assigned.” But if your prospective employer can’t give you the rundown of what to expect from your new job, be wary.
“Try to pin down specifics about what you will do and how you will be evaluated. Can’t get them? Walk away,” warns career expert Susan Price.
2. The Revolving Door
Often, a position opens up only when the previous employee leaves it. Don’t be afraid to ask about the former tenant of your future office or about overall turnover rates in the company.
“Ask why the person in the job before you left,” advises Alison Green of Ask a Manager. “Ask how long she was there. Ask about the tenure of others in the department, including the manager.” A high turnover rate can indicate a toxic environment — so beware.
3. Too Keen to Close the Deal
Lindsay Olson, writing for U.S. News & World Report, thinks that a hasty hire is a red flag: “[Y]ou have to scratch your head when a hiring manager offers you the job at the end of a 20-minute interview. Were you the only person they interviewed? Did she decide she’d hire you before you even came in? Why is she so desperate to close the deal right now?”
If the companies wants to hire you on the spot, it could be because you bowled them over — but be skeptical and sleep on it before you sign anything.
4. Bad Boss Vibes
While you shouldn’t approach an interview with the expectation that you’ll be best friends with your new boss, you should consider whether your personalities clash or click.
“Bosses that spend the majority of the interview time running their own mouth might be the type of supervisor that job seekers want to avoid,” reports Chad Brooks for Business News Daily. Other behaviors to watch out for are evasiveness, interrupting you or others, and being abrupt or dismissive with other employees.
5. Disorganized Disaster
Rescheduling multiple times, failing to return calls day after day, and running more than half an hour late to the interview: these are all signs that the company is comfortable with a certain level of chaos. A disorganized office isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be exhausting to work in such an environment. You should also be wary of emails and company documents (job description, website, brochures, and so on) that contain lots of typos and grammatical errors, as those mistakes can speak to the professionalism of the company as a whole.
6. Good Ol’-Fashioned Bad Feelings
If you have doubts or fears about the company and its culture, it could be your instincts telling you that the job isn’t a good fit for you. While the job market is still tough, it is getting better. Remember that taking the wrong job can be worse than waiting a little longer for the right one.
“If you take a job you hate, will you have energy to work all day in the pit of hell and conduct another stealth job search at night?” asks career guru Liz Ryan.
Do you have a cautionary tale about an interview gone wrong? Share it in the comments!