6 Interview Red Flags You Might Be Missing
Congratulations! You crafted a winning resume using a creative resume template and avoided common cover letter mistakes to score a job interview with a company you’re excited about. But are you ready for the interview process ahead? We reached out to Jill Ozovek, a career coach who helps people interview for and land their dream jobs in New York City, to find out the right way to prepare. After talking with Jill, we’ve got her key things to think about as you learn more about working at the company, along with six interview red flags you can’t afford to miss.
1. The phone screen is totally off. Though they can be informal or quick, phone screens are a pretty important part of the interview process and can give you a real glimpse into how a company operates. Jill says, “If the person phone screening you constantly puts you on hold or gets distracted by someone coming in the room multiple times, that could be an immediate red flag.” She also told us, “If they seem frazzled and all over the place, or make multiple mistakes about you, your background or the job you’re interviewing for, then chances are that this isn’t a company you want to work for.” Note that if the company IS a good one to work for, they’ll show you early signs that it really is.
2. The team treats the administrative staff terribly. If all goes well with your phone screen, you’ll be bounding into the office shortly after. Since this probably is your first IRL experience with the company, pay super close attention to vibe, culture and how people treat one another. Jill asks, “How do the employees treat the receptionist? Do they acknowledge her or him? Do they address him/her by name? Ask him/her anything non-work-related like, “How was your kid’s recital?” If people breeze in through the doorway without so much as saying hello or seem discontent, keep that in mind to consider as part of the big picture later.
3. You’re unimpressed by your potential new boss. Meeting with your potential boss means the process is headed in right direction! Though this can be a nerve-wracking meeting, take it as an opportunity to evaluate the person you’ll be reporting to as much as they are you. Jill says to consider, “Are they prepared for the interview? Does it look like they read your resume?” And don’t forget to consider the compatibility factor too — do you like this person’s personality? Do you admire their experience and expertise? Do you feel good about working closely together or as part of the team? When looking for a gig that will help you meet all of your goals, be smart about selecting the person who’s best-positioned to help you get there. It matters!
4. Your interviewer doesn’t give you time to ask questions. Asking the right questions is just as critical as answering them, and any good company will care a ton about what you have in mind when looking for a new opportunity. The only thing worse than terrible answers to your questions is a situation where you don’t even get to ask them at all! Issue no forgiveness if your interview ends and you haven’t had a shot to bring up anything you’re wondering about. If time was truly an issue, your interviewer should at the very least apologize and give you an easy way to follow-up with them.
5. The Glassdoor reviews are consistently awful. Whether you do your research at the beginning of your job search or midway through, make note of the trends in what people talk about when the company is mentioned. Jill says, “If you see an outrageous Glassdoor review, it could be a one-off. However, it’s hard to argue with consistent, horrible reviews.” To get the whole picture consider, “Do people from the company speak at industry events? Have you seen employees at conferences? How do they present themselves?” If the answer isn’t positive, take that very seriously.
6. You feel uncomfortable. If you feel unreasonably uncomfortable at any point in the process, take that as a HUGE red flag. It doesn’t matter if it was joke that fell flat or an honest question met with a scoff — or even something even more severe. If you can’t be yourself or don’t feel quite right, start looking elsewhere ASAP.
Ultimately, whether you receive an offer from a company you no longer feel excited about or have a hard time tuning out the illogical voice in your head telling you “no” about a new job, refuse to settle. With so many cool companies hiring creative and smart people, you’re sure to find a job, team and culture that are truly a fab fit FOR YOU so long as you keep at it.
Have you ever had a horrible job interview experience? Tell us about it @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)
Getting the word out about your brand takes time, drive, and ingenuity. And it doesn't come easy for many entrepreneurs. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're chatting with Selfmade alum Taylor Morgan McPherson, founder of Sustainable Sparkle Bar, about ways in which she scored press as a solo startup brand and what she learned from Selfmade to take her brand marketing up a notch.
B + C: How did you know Sustainable Sparkle Bar was your business to start?
Glitter has always been my thing, so when I started my event company I decided to make it my niche. I started telling people I threw glitter-themed parties where people would get sparkled with glitter body art and makeup. Six months after that I applied to my first festival and to work with SUR restaurant in West Hollywood.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
I honestly can't say that I've had a specific strategy that I've followed when it comes to getting my business off the ground. I have a PR background so I was just constantly pitching new business and posting on social media.
B + C: What's the biggest challenge you face as a small business owner?
I would say creating a stable income and revenue stream. With a seasonal, event-based business it can be very up and down.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
The relationships I made and the push to start an email database.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I love what I do and I believe in myself 100%. Staying motivated isn't the hard part. Pushing myself to do the work and staying accountable is the hard part.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip? Do you use any apps that help you manage your business?
I keep multiple to-do lists, hand-written and digital. I also tell clients and partners that I will have something to them by a certain time or day so I have to stick to it.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Just do it, take the leap. And don't worry about what anyone else says to thinks.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Issa Rae, I'm so inspired by everything that she's created being a creative and a black woman. It's my dream to have my own show one day based on my life and where I give advice and talk about the world. She's doing it and making people laugh and giving people joy. And it's based in LA. Watching Insecure only further cemented my dreams of wanting to live in LA.
B + C: How did you hear about the Office Depot scholarship?
One of my friends that I met through Camp No Counselors saw an IG ad for it and nominated me.
B + C: What has receiving the scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start/grow your business?
It's completely helped me level up and take my business to another level. Selfmade helped me host my first virtual event and taught me how to set up my website to sell tickets to events and get RSVPs.
B + C: How have Office Depot services or products helped you accomplish more in your business?
I got new cards to send in all of my orders with my discount code on them. I also bought a really cool 4K camera that I now use for my social media.
Let Office Depot OfficeMax help you stand out in the crowd. From signs, posters & banners to promote your business, to marketing materials to keep your customers informed, Office Depot OfficeMax offers a full suite of business services & solutions to help you & your business get noticed.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.