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Job hunters spend a great deal of time researching companies, crafting cover letters and resumes, and preparing for interviews. During the process, many candidates forget that the job search is actually a two-way process.
When you are looking for the next great fit for your career, it’s important to stay objective about the companies you meet with. A job can appear perfect on paper, but there are certain behaviours you may come across that will serve as a red flag.
Here are some of the most common issues you may come across in your search:
The HR person is unfamiliar with the role and its requirements
When a job is posted at an organization, it is up to the HR person responsible for recruiting to know as much about the role, who the candidate will be reporting to, and the structure of the team the candidate will be working on.
A call with the HR person is often the first step in the process, and while the objective is to get more information about you and your background, they should be able to answer your questions about the role and the team. Vague answers like, “the hiring manager is great,” and “everyone on the team is really nice,” should cause some concern.
A lack of information from the HR person indicates a lack of communication between HR and the hiring manager. That lack of preparedness so early in the process speaks volumes about the hiring manager and how the role in question is viewed.
The interviewer didn’t read your resume
I’ve been on my fair share of interviews throughout my career. Over the years, the meetings I’ve had with people have melded together. However, there is one interview that stands out to me — the one where the person clearly hadn’t read my resume.
The person started the interview by telling me how impressed he was by my experience at a particular company and he wanted me to elaborate more on the work I had done while at the organization. There was just one problem: I had never worked at said company.
The interviewer clearly had me confused with someone else. Needless to say, it was an awkward start to our meeting and it really soured me on the company.
Regardless of how busy they are, an interviewer should make every effort possible to be prepared for the candidate. If you get the sense that the interviewer hasn’t done their research on you, that may be a sign to keep looking.
The interviewer is distracted by a device
I was once in an interview (my third with that particular company) and the person I was meeting with could not go more than a few minutes without checking their phone. Not only was it rude, it also made for a fragmented conversation with long pauses of silence as I waited for him to finish checking his phone. I walked out of that interview feeling like I hadn’t been heard at all.
Pretty much everyone is glued to their phones these days, and while the person may have their device with them; their attention should be on you. Had my interviewer told me he was waiting on an important call or dealing with a family emergency, I would have understood. As it was, he was only checking to see what new notifications had popped up on his screen.
You’re the person who may be joining the team, so that time together should be used to get to know you and get a sense of your personality. If they can’t invest 60 minutes to have a thorough interview with you, they’re probably not someone you want to work for (or with).
The job description doesn’t match what is discussed in interviews
You’ve crafted a fantastic cover letter, polished up your resume and had a great call with the HR person. Then you meet with the hiring manager and they’re talking about a role that doesn’t sound at all like what was described in the job posting. Sound familiar?
I’ve had this happen to me more times than I care to remember. This type of scenario usually happens (in my experience anyway) because the job was posted quite hastily and without much understanding of what it was they were actually looking for. I have gone to a few digital marketing interviews only to meet with the hiring manager and have them describe the responsibilities of the role as very different from what a digital marketing job entails.
When you’re looking to make a change with a new job, you’ll want to be sure that you and the hiring manager are in agreement about what the role entails. You don’t want to accept a job thinking you’ll be a digital marketer only to start and realize they need you to be a project manager.
They ask you for free work
Competition for roles can be intense as companies often receive hundreds of applications per job posting. To help confirm that candidates are right for the role, companies will ask candidates to partake in certain tests that pertain to the role.
In my own experience, I’ve had to do software and writing tests, which are pretty standard. What you need to cautious of is being asked to do work as part of the interview.
Several years ago, I went through four interviews at an organization only to be told that there was a tie between myself and another candidate. To help break the tie, they wanted me to put together a full marketing plan for a national campaign. I quickly withdrew my candidacy.
What they were asking from me was work – work they would have normally paid someone to do. That type of request should never be a part of the interview process. If you come across something like that, you may want to give serious thought about whether that organization is the right place for you.
What red flags have you come across in your job search? Let us know in the comments section below.