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Spot These 5 Signs of a Bad Employer, During the Interview

First things first: there's no way to tell, with absolute certainty, what it will be like to work for a company before you sign on the dotted line. That said, you can do your due diligence ahead of time to figure out whether the corporate culture is a good fit for you and up your chances of making the right choice. Research the company on the internet and pay attention to its interactions with employees and customers on social media -- but most of all, watch for these important signs when you meet with the hiring manager during your interview.

First things first: there’s no way to tell, with absolute certainty, what it will be like to work for a company before you sign on the dotted line. That said, you can do your due diligence ahead of time to figure out whether the corporate culture is a good fit for you and up your chances of making the right choice. Research the company on the internet and pay attention to its interactions with employees and customers on social media — but most of all, watch for these important signs when you meet with the hiring manager during your interview.

interview with the devil 

(Photo Credit: tedmurphy/Flickr)

1. The hiring manager is late to the interview with no apology.

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Maybe she’s disorganized; maybe she’s understaffed. Whatever’s going on, it’s not a good sign, especially if she doesn’t seem fussed by the idea of making you wait. Courtesy is a two-way street, especially during a job interview. This is where the old adage, “they’re not just interviewing you, you’re interviewing them,” comes into play.

2. Support staff is stressed or upset.

I once went to a job interview at which the administrative assistant who showed me in spoke only in a nervous whisper. Again, maybe it was unrelated to the stresses of the job. Still, it didn’t bode well for the rest of the interview. (Which went poorly.)

3. The work environment is too quiet or too loud.

This is more of a personal preference issue. If you’re an introvert, a library-silent office might seem like Disneyworld, but if you need some conversation in your workday, it’ll bum you out before you ever set foot in your cube. The opposite is also true: if you need quiet to concentrate, that 24/7 foosball game is going to get old, real quick.

4. The hiring manager doesn’t answer your questions, or allow you to speak to someone who will.

You ask your question about corporate culture; he deflects. You request a tour of the office; he declines. On a second or third interview, you’re not allowed to meet even one person who would work on your team, except for the big boss. Run. There’s a good reason they don’t want you to meet the other prisoners, er, employees.

5. They talk a lot about perks that seem geared toward keeping you at the office.

Free lunch and dinner are great, and so is an in-office ball pit, but unless you’re fresh out of college and have no time-consuming hobbies, you want to go home at some point. If the chatter is all about how much fun it is to be at work and not about how the company supports its employees, it might be time to reconsider.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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6 Comments on "Spot These 5 Signs of a Bad Employer, During the Interview"

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Annie
Guest

Red flag for caregiving positions: when asked if you have any questions, and you ask what they are looking for in an employee and the reply is “breathing,” run! (Really did happen!)

nancy
Guest

Organisations where people do not speak much….even if they sit side by side….but all attention in laptops….eg HSBC…is a classic example….espically in the human resource department…it is full of politics

D Jackson
Guest

I have found over the years that companies that refuse to supply low-level perks such as free coffee, monthly birthday recognitions, and company sponsored holiday activities (yes, these companies do exist still) usually are questionable employers. As these are signs that their pay scales are low, hard to move up the ladder, and tend to be cheap in other areas such as benefits and compensation.

No free coffee or drinks, br suspect.

Geoff
Guest

Not being allowed to ask questions, see your ‘cell’ and meet other convicts that’s Gold. So it’s not just me who thinks this is weird. And I am a guy, meaning that I know some women get treated like this

Christina
Guest
A few red flags that were not your typical to be anticipated… – Everyone was overly excited, happy and friendly. What that meant: They were presenting a false image, which continued after being hired. From the manager, it was passive-aggressive behavior, without ability to directly communicate, even when approached in a non-threatening way. From the co-workers, it was a toxic mix of ‘do whatever to keep boss happy’ and no one having the ability to challenge the status-quo, for the fear that boss would get angry (and they wouldn’t know it). Believe it or not, I was told to “watch… Read more »
Sam
Guest

Also, one red flag to see is when an employer doesn’t naturally ask you if you have any questions to ask them!

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