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Recruitment 101: Interview Red Flags

June 9, 2021 0 Comments

Get excited about your next legal or healthcare job interview but here are the life hack red flags to watch out for during the interview.

So, you’ve connected with a recruiter (hopefully us!), been through a screening process,  spruced up your interview skills and finally, the big day has come – a job interview.

You’re a bundle of nerves, but that’s not a bad thing because it means you’re excited about the role and will do everything in your power to put your best foot forward. As you walk to the interview, you run through all the great stuff you’re going to be able to say that promotes both your hard and soft skills.

But there is one other thing to consider – don’t forget, you are also interviewing your employer. Obviously, they ultimately have the final say in whether or not you’re right for the role, but you also should be mindful that no matter how good the role is, the employer and organisation or company needs to be right for you. And there are a series of red flags during the interview process that will help you get a good feel for this.

Life Hack 1: The interviewer is late

If the employer is interviewing several candidates in a row, especially while caught up in BAU, the interview might start late. This is fine if you are kept abreast of the delay, but if they are late without any acknowledgement or notice, the first red flag is raised because it’s either a sign of disorganisation or…(see next red flag)

Life Hack 2: Lack of respect

Let’s not dance around the fact that the power dynamic of an interview lays weighted in favour of the employer but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t offer candidates respect. Even if this person will be your direct superior or report, getting a feel for the kind of relationship you will have with them according to the way they communicate with you in the interview is crucial. This doesn’t mean they have to be overly familiar or chummy (that might actually be a red flag too – see below!), but a simple show of respect is what you’re looking for, not a rude, condescending or dismissive tone or attitude.

Life Hack 3: High turnover

It may seem obvious, but watch out for a company that has a high staff turnover. While there could be a valid reason for this, often it’s not a great sign and related to issues such as lack of advancement opportunities, lower remuneration or benefits or, worst of all, a toxic workplace (If they ask “how do you deal with difficult co-workers” it might also be a sign of toxicity!) At the very least, if this comes up in the interview feel bold enough to enquire why.


Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

Life Hack 4: Schedule & hours of work

Most professionals, particularly in healthcare jobs and legal jobs, are accustomed to working overtime and “non-standard” hours. However, if an employer in an interview is vague about your schedule or says things like “we need you to be flexible”, try and gain some clarity about what this means. If it looks like you are going to have to completely forsake chunks of your personal life for the role, while this is par for the course, especially for higher level roles, it may also say something about the company culture or point to issues with human resource management.

Life Hack 5: Badmouthing the person you’re replacing

It’s a reality that not everyone leaves a job under the best of terms, but an interviewer badmouthing whoever you would be replacing is another sign of a toxic workplace. It’s also bad form and…

Life Hack 6: Inappropriate behaviour or language

Linked to respect and badmouthing former employees, more generally the way the interviewer communicates with you is something to watch and listen to. An interviewer being welcoming and friendly in a professional manner is great – being overly familiar or asking questions that aren’t necessary or contextualised is not. The same goes for you as the interviewee.

Live Hack 7: They haven’t done their research on you or the role

While the purpose of an interview is to investigate whether you are a good fit for a role, if it’s clear that the person interviewing you has hardly glanced at your CV or has trouble answering questions you have about the role, there is a double red flag. Sure, they are busy professionals and won’t have spent hours pouring over your CV or necessarily know every single detail about the role. But they should have a broad understanding of both. One great way of noting this is if they deviate a little from the scripted interview questions. This shows they want to understand you as an individual and are also really focused on you in the interview. Both GREEN flags!

Our final advice is to also listen to your gut, which will often give you a feel for what the interview says about the company or organisation. And you should also feel free to chat with your recruiter about any of the red flags that came up. If they begin hearing the same kinds of things from candidates about an employer, it’s great feedback for us around managing the network of relationships we need to, as well as looking after your best interests.

Gorilla Jobs Can Help You

We love what we do at Gorilla Jobs, and while there are challenges, we are always ready to help you as a candidate or recruiting organisation to ensure the best talent ends up in the best jobs. Reach out to us today if you have any questions!