Identifying and Avoiding Red Flags in an Interview

Although your resume and other screening tools are key factors employers use to make hiring decisions, the interview is your time to showcase your personality. The interview doesn’t start when you sit down and begin answering questions. It begins when you pick up the phone for a phone interview and continues through your interactions with staff members in the office. Throughout this process, there are red flags employers watch out for that could deem you to be a “bad hire.”

Below are some red flags and warning signs to avoid in an interview (besides the obvious one of showing up late):

The Money Issue. Compensation is typically discussed in two questions; What are you currently earning and/or what are you looking for? You want to answer these questions precisely by breaking out your current base compensation and the exact bonus amount, if there is one. You do NOT want to say “around” or “I’d rather not say.”The important thing to remember is to avoid pricing yourself out of the job or painting yourself into a corner.You want to make it about the position without focusing on the money aspect.

For example:

  • “Naturally I’d like to make more money, I think everyone would. I am more concerned with the position itself, the people I’ll be working with and how I would be spending my time.”

Why are You Leaving Your Current Position? It is critical you avoid saying anything negative about your current job, employer, or boss. If you state too negative of a reason for leaving and this is a consistent theme on your resume, then the company will assume the worst about you. Or, if your reasons for leaving are all centered around “great opportunities,” then the company will assume that you are an opportunist and will always be “one call away” from leaving them too. You must not appear as though you are a mercenary who is always on the lookout for the next great opportunity.

The End of the Interview. An interview should be thought of like a sales presentation because, in fact, you’re selling yourself. When you feel things are winding down and you DO have an interest in the role, make sure to share this interest with them. You want to avoid situations where the interview ends and you’re very interested—but the interviewer is feeling that you aren’t.

You want to do three things:

  1. Thank the interviewers for their time
  2. Communicate interest and demonstrate why you want the job
  3. Ask “what are the next steps”

By preparing for these inevitable questions and having well-thought out answers, you can avoid fumbling responses the day of the interview. Visit https://talentbridge.com/candidates/job-search-resources/to learn more.