Remember – Interviews go both ways.

For many people, job interviews are among life’s most stressful situations — right up there with final exams and public speaking. When you really think about what an interview is, it makes sense that it is particularly nerve wracking. There are few other instances in life in which you willingly ask another person to judge your competency!

Because of this, most of my clients have approached job interviews from the position of “what can I do to ‘pass the test?'” Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared — and I’ve helped hundreds of clients develop strategies for successful interviews. However, many forget something important — when you’re being interviewed, you’re also conducting an interview. Being observant during your interview can help you identify whether the workplace you’re considering is really right for you. Good observation skills can also help you identify whether the workplace you are considering isn’t right for anyone. Here area few tips to help you identify a toxic workplace during a interview.

How does the interviewer treat the value of your time?

In the COVID era, rescheduled meetings and long hiring processes are common. A rescheduled interview or delay in getting back to you isn’t a red flag in and of itself. However, a potential recruiter or employer who fails to acknowledge the value of your time is a problem. Some examples of an employer devaluing your time include the following:

  • Asking you to meet immediately or on short notice and threatening to remove you from consideration if you are not available.
  • Requesting you complete a “test assignment” that is unnecessarily complex and/or time consuming and reacting negatively when you express concern about doing unpaid work.
  • Showing up for a meeting late — or standing you up — without an apology. (Mistakes do happen, but if it seems like this is a common occurrence — run!)

If an employer does not understand the value of your time during an interview, the situation isn’t likely to get better when you are on the payroll.

Are you asked concerning questions?

It makes sense for potential employers to ask questions about conflict or challenging situations during an interview, but out-of-place questions could suggest that the situation you’re about to enter isn’t what you’re hoping for. For example, if you are interviewing for an IT position and the employer spends more time asking questions about workplace relationships than technology, you are probably about to enter a contentious environment. If you’re interviewing for an HR position and the employer spends more time asking about your filing skills — odds are you’ll be doing more administrative work than HR. Out of place questions are your cue to ask follow up questions that help you get to the heart of the situation. (If you want to know more about what kind of questions to ask, I’d be happy to talk with you!)

Do employee attitudes seem negative?

Everybody has bad das. Every workplace goes through challenging situations. A negative attitude doesn’t necessarily mean you need to run. However, persistent and consistent negative attitudes combine to create one of the biggest red flags! While it’s possible to spy a negative workplace during the first interview, I typically suggest you schedule 2-4 meetings to assess the real climate of the workplace before you make a commitment. (Yes, YOU can request an additional interview after the company has made an offer!)

Always prepare for your interview, but remember that part of preparation is knowing what red flags to be on the lookout for. If you would like to talk more about interview prep, red flags, or your specific situation, book a free call below! I’m happy to chat!