Five Interview Red Flags and How to Avoid Them

Job interviews are a two-way street, where interviewer and interviewee both get information about whether the candidate is a good fit for the position. But any two-way street can also have warning signs. Slippery when wet. Falling rocks. Not to mention — the dreaded red flag.

Do you know the interview warning signs?

Bad hires can cost companies a lot — in time and money. For a potential employee, accepting a job offer at the wrong company can make you unhappy and even set back your career.

Here are some key red flags you might see on both sides of the job interview desk. Ignore them at your peril — and make sure you’re not accidentally hoisting one yourself.

Be on time, and expect punctuality
Running late for a job interview is never a good look. Remember: Your ability to be at the right place at the right time is viewed as a basic requirement. Think of it as your first task at your new job.

On the other hand, if your interviewer runs late, it could be a sign they aren’t well organised, aren’t well prepared or simply don’t respect your time.

Be specific, and ask for specificity
A good interviewer will ask for specific examples of a time you displayed the abilities and traits they’re most looking for. Not sure if you’re ready to do that? Aerotek recruitment consultants take a lot of pride in making sure all our candidates are prepared before they meet with any hiring manager. With a strong understanding of each client’s employee value proposition and your passions and priorities, we’re able to advise you on what to expect during the interview process so you are prepared and positioned for success.

As a potential employee, make sure your interviewer can provide specific details about the job description, responsibilities and organisational structure. And take note if different interviewers have contradictory views on what your role will actually be.

Take responsibility for mistakes, and seek accountability
If you’re asked about a time your efforts fell short, be frank and give examples. Remember that the point of the question is not to find out how somebody else did something that wasn’t your fault, it’s to learn how you handled a setback. Show grace.

Another red flag to look out for on your side of the interview desk: Your interviewer badmouths the person who previously held the open position. This shows that the company has a problem with trust and blame.

Stay professional
From the moment you’re in public on the way to the interview to the moment you’re back in your own space, you should be professional, courteous and focused on the task at hand. Even a misstep at the last possible second can spell disaster.

Interviewers may in some cases ask “stress” questions designed to see how candidates handle pressure. In these situations it is imperative to always act in a professional manner. However, if at any stage throughout the interview you don’t feel safe or comfortable, you are well within your rights to refuse to answer a question or end the interview. 

Prep for your interview.
Want to go beyond avoiding red flags, and nail a big interview? Prepare for your next big opportunity with the help of a trained professional. Contact an Aerotek recruiter in your area to learn job interview techniques that will have future employers saying “wow” when you leave the room.

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