5 Interview Red Flags for Job Seekers

Job interviewing is similar to the beginning of any relationship. Each party is learning about the other to determine what they have in common. Do our goals align? Do we both have similar values? Can and will the other party be able to support those goals and values? Is this a good fit?

Unlike other relationships, the interview process is brief. You can’t wait till the third date to make a decision or pour on the charm. Both interviewer and job seeker only have a few minutes to come to important conclusions. Being able to spot the red flags during an interview will help you quickly determine if the job is a good fit.

Interview Red Flags for Job Seekers

Beware of the Ambiguous Job Description

“This job is just like any other [insert Job Title here] job”

If the interviewer doesn’t explain the job role clearly, it is an sign that they may not understand the role or the role itself is not well defined. If this happens, ask for clarification, specifics, and examples. Both of you will have a better conversation and ultimately a better understanding of what is expected of you.

Beware of Gossip Interviewer

 “We are looking to replace Mary. She has a bad attitude, comes in late all the time and never gets anything right.”

You have just met and already the interviewer is sharing the company’s dirty laundry. It is bad form for management to speak ill of employees during an interview. It’s a sure sign there is more to the story. Perhaps this manager is not fostering a positive work environment. If the interviewer is negative throughout the meeting it may not be the right place for you.

Beware of the Unprepared Interviewer

“I didn’t review your resume. Just tell me about yourself”

In business time is money. If the interviewer didn’t take the time to review your resume before bringing you in for a face-to-face interview, it’s not necessarily a lack of interest in you. The interviewer is clearly unprepared and not making a good use of time. This may be an unavoidable incident or a sample of the manager’s style. Best to take note and see decide if this will be an issue for you and your role.

Beware of the Getting too Personal  Interviewer

 “Are you married? Do you have kids?”

Personal questions about your family life are inappropriate in a job interview. Most interviewers know not to ask personal questions since it can be considered discriminatory. You do not have to give a reply. It may be uncomfortable to avoid the personal inquiry, so it’s best to practice a polite response in advance. You do want to build a rapport but you do not have to divulge any personal information that is unrelated to your job duties. You want your interview to be objective, not emotional.


Keep in mind the job interview is your opportunity to discover more about the company and the people you will be working with daily.  It’s as much about you as it is about them.  Use the time wisely, observe and take note of the warning signs.  After the interview, mentally weigh all the information to make the best career choice for you.