How to spot interview red flags

By Chris Devonshire | 1st May 2024

So, you’ve lined up a job interview and you’ve gone direct through the employer.

Which means that you haven’t had the benefit of a recruiters’ thorough assessment of the company culture to make sure it’s aligned to your values and career needs. Therefore, it’s important that you know how to spot interview red flags.

Congratulations, you’re getting ready for a job interview that you’re really excited about. You want to impress the hiring manager and really show that you’re the best candidate for the job. But, there’s a step before that.

As seasoned IT recruiters, we’re sharing some inside tips on how to spot interview red flags to avoid the wrong company for you before you sign on the dotted line and accept that job offer.

Top 3 interview red flags

  1. The interviewer requests for the interview to be rescheduled

You might think, hey, things happen, so sure I can reschedule. However, if it is a last minute reschedule and it happens more than once, watch out. If a company doesn’t value your time BEFORE they hire you, will they really respect your time once you’re an employee?

If you’re on the wrong end of a reschedule and decide to continue with the process, watch out for ghosting between interviews. It’s an inevitable follow up, for exactly the same reason as the reschedule.

  1. The interviewer is vague

We do appreciate the irony that this in itself seems like a vague red flag, so let’s give you some examples to look out for. One of the most obvious is if the interviewer struggles to outline progression opportunities for the role. Or, they may seem dismissive about your question regarding development plans or training support.

Another one is that the interviewer is not able to give you clear answers about the specific responsibilities of the role. Worse yet, they dodge your questions about company culture, specifically turnover rates. That could mean poor management or lack of growth opportunities. Watch out.

  1. Swearing, inappropriate remarks or behaviours

All interviews are different, and everyone has a different opinion on inappropriate remarks or behaviours. What we will say is if it doesn’t feel right TO you, then the company is not right FOR you.  Some examples are if an interviewer asks you about your plans to start a family or if they ask you questions regarding ethnicity or race.

Interviewers may swear, make an absolute statement that just doesn’t sit right with you or are they disrespect members of the team. If it makes you uncomfortable, trust your gut. Because a person who is comfortable making inappropriate remarks to a relative stranger will feel equally comfortable repeating those remarks when you’re a familiar member of the team.

Here’s a few more interview red flags to keep an eye out for.

  1. You get limited speaking time at the interview or you don’t get an option to ask questions
  2. There are more than 3 interview stages. Really? Why would a company need more than 3?
  3. The interviewer lacks enthusiasm for the role, the team and the company
  4. The interviewer’s camera isn’t on, if it’s a virtual interview. I mean really? How rude!

An interview is not just about you putting your best foot forward

An interview isn’t just about proving yourself to a potential employer – It’s also about assessing whether the company fits your career goals and values. That’s why working with a recruitment agency can really help marry up your skills, values and beliefs with the perfect match for you.

But, if you’re going it alone, pay attention to these interview red flags because they can help you determine if a job will be rewarding or if it’s better to keep looking.

Most importantly, trust your instincts and remember that the right opportunity for you WILL come along.

Watch out for our next blog on how to decode a job description – the funny phrases that are used that might mean something completely different. It’s worth keeping an out for.

Chris Devonshire