Job interviews aren't just a way for a company to evaluate a job candidate, they're also a way for a candidate to evaluate a company. With that in mind, I've identified these "red flag" phrases that should make you question whether you want the job:

  1. "Are you single, married or dating?" Personal questions mean that the interviewer (and thus probably the company as well) don't respect boundaries. If they're already prying, they'll be "up in your business" all the time you work there. 
  2. "Are you sure you want to work here?" If the interviewer seems anything less than enthusiastic about working there themselves, it's highly likely that you won't be happy either, should you accept the job.
  3. "Enough about me. What do YOU think about me?" While you probably won't hear this exact wording, interviewers (typically CEOs) who go on and on about themselves are narcissists who will screw you over in a heartbeat.
  4. "Great! You're hired." An immediate job offer during the interview is means that either 1) they're really desperate or 2) they're not very picky. Either shows that the hiring firm doesn't have their act together.
  5. "I haven't had a chance to review your resume." Consider: you've gone to the huge bother of preparing for the interview and traveling to the facility and the interviewer couldn't even be bothered to read one sheet of paper. Fuggetaboutit​!
  6. "Just a sec. I gotta check my phone." If the interviewer phubs you--a huge sign of disrespect--you can be double damn sure you won't be respected once you show up for work.
  7. "Sorry that I'm late for the interview." Hey, if YOU were late, they'd count it as a serious mark against you, even though YOUR logistics of making the interview are geometrically more complex than theirs. Why should you be any less wary?
  8. "Sorry but we'll need to reschedule your interview." This is #7 above but on steroids. If the company has no respect for your time and trouble when you're interviewing, they'll  walk all over you if you're dumb enough to decide to work there.
  9. "The job description has changed, it's now..." It's one thing (and sometimes a good thing) for a company to pivot. But if they pivot on a job description--and don't tell you before you show up--you can bet they'll jerk you around when you work there. 
  10. "The person you're replacing was a loser." Aside from being unprofessional, badmouthing your predecessor means the company finger-points when things go south. It also means they'll badmouth you after you leave. 
  11. "Do you check your email at home?" This falls into a general category of questions interviewers use to assess if you're willing to be available 27/7. If you take the job, you can kiss work/life balance good-bye.
  12. "We'll figure out the compensation later." Evasiveness, in general, is a bad sign, but evasiveness about your compensation usually means that they're hoping to pay you much less than you're actually worth.
  13. "We have a high turnover rate." Ofttimes this remark is made as if it's a source of pride as in "only the tough survive." What it really means is that the workplace is toxic and people don't like working there.
  14. "We work hard and we play hard." Accept this job and you'll be subjected to drunk coworkers and (very possibly) unwanted sexual attention. You may also expected to take up (possibly dangerous) hobbies. Yikes!
  15. "We're just one big happy family." Another statement that's presented as a positive but is actually a negative. Companies that characterize themselves this way treat employees like wayward children. If you're hired, expect a weekly spanking.
  16. "We've been flying under the radar." Translation: "what we're doing is either questionably illegal or isn't far enough along to create an Internet footprint." Either way you probably want to pass.
  17. "You'll be working for two bosses." If you accept the job, you'll be walking into the middle of a turf war. You'll get pulled in two directions and put into constant no-win situations. Run, don't walk, to the nearest exit.
Published on: Oct 13, 2018
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