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When it comes to a new job, many times, by the time we realize the company or the job is a nightmare, we’ve been there for a few months or even years.
But sometimes, the red flags and warnings are right there in the interview.
To help you save time, stress, and headaches from taking a new job only to find out it is a horrible situation, here are some important red flags to watch out for during the interview process.
#1. Training New Employees
When talking about training, does the interviewer mention there is no training?
In some cases, this might not be an issue, but most other times, it is.
If there is no training, you are left on your own to figure things out.
Worse yet, you find out that new employees are training other new employees. With few seasoned employees, this could be a cause for concern.
#2. Generous Severance Packages
We all want to be paid well, and if you work for a company long enough and get laid off, they offer you a severance package.
The problem is when the interviewer mentions to you during the hiring process that they offer generous severance packages. This should not be a perk to entice people to come work for the company.
You must understand if overtime is required or not at the new job.
Depending on the industry and your role, the answer will vary.
However, one person shared that when they asked about overtime in the interview, the manager responded, “Well, the overtime isn’t mandatory, but most folks stick around after hours most days.”
This is a subtle way of saying you will have more work than you can get done, so be prepared to stay late most days.
#4. Can’t Go Out For Lunch
Some people enjoy going out to lunch occasionally, just to get away from work.
Even though it is simple, removing yourself from the environment can help you to recharge for the afternoon.
While you wouldn’t think to ask if you could go out for lunch, one person interviewing with a company did. The response was shocking.
“The boss doesn’t like people going out to get lunch because they’re afraid you’ll never come back, so being your own lunch.”
If you get this reply, you leave the interview and don’t look back.
#5. Saying Yes To Everything
During the interview process, it is natural for you to ask for things, like does the company help pay for classes if you go back to get a master’s degree.
But this becomes an issue when the company is overly eager to say, “Yes, we could do that!” to everything you ask.
This could be a sign they are desperate to hire people.
#6. You’ll Be Wearing Many Hats
Saying you will be wearing many hats is a gentler way of saying the company is understaffed and you will be doing the work of four people and earning the wage of one.
This is a classic move of many employers; sadly, even current employees are not immune from it.
If a co-worker quits, the other person picks up the slack until the company hires a new person.
However, the company never planned on hiring a new person, just saving money instead.
#7. Unclear Job Expectations
Any time the interviewer cannot clearly explain the position or what success looks like in the position, this is a worrying sign.
If there is no clear understanding, you will not know what to do or prioritize.
Even worse, when the company figures things out in time, they will use it against you that you weren’t meeting expectations, even though they were unclear from the start.
#8. What Do You Like About Working Here
One question many ask before accepting a job offer is learning what current employees like most.
A good answer could be that the company treats you fairly by offering sizable raises and fun events on Fridays.
But when the answers are more along the lines of the office location being great or something other than the actual job, this is a warning you need to pay attention to.
One person shared, “Watch the interviewers faces when you ask, they’ll react honestly immediately with their expressions before they answer. If their face falls or they look confused or annoyed, delta out of there.”
#9. Work Hard, Play Hard
This is a catchphrase that more and more companies use.
The reason it’s a red flag because most companies don’t follow through with the play hard part.
They work employees to the bone and then think offering free soft pretzels once a year is a worthy thank you.
If you get this response, follow up by digging deeper into what they mean by playing hard.
#10. Using ‘Family’ When Referring To Employees
Many times when you hear this, it means you will not be seeing your actual family because you will be stuck at work, putting in 80+ hours a week.
An excellent follow-up to this is to ask what it means to be family and if they can explain this in more detail.
Many times the truth will come out in their response.
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This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
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