Interviewing Is Like Dating—Here Are Warning Signs That It’s Not Going To Be A Match

by Guest Author, Jack Kelly

You start dating with the high hopes that the person will be “the one.” In your desire for romance and finding a partner, you overlook obvious warning signs.

In a lot of ways, the interview process is comparable to dating. You’re infatuated with the company, long to work there and would do anything to get the job. In your pursuit of the role, you ignore or make excuses for how the company treats you.

Here are red flags to watch out for when you are enamored with a job, blinded by the opportunity and aren’t thinking clearly and critically.

Warning Signs On The Job Description

The first introduction to the company starts with the job description. Like any budding relationship, you deserve honesty and transparency. The job listing should provide all the relevant requirements, responsibilities and compensation. The advertisement needs to disclose whether the role is remote, hybrid or in-office.

Clear expectations must be laid out so you can make an informed decision on whether it’s the right fit. When the job description lists 10 to 20 bullet points demanding that you unrealistically possess all the cited skills and experiences, requires you to do too many tasks and the compensation is not commensurate with the work involved, it’s a warning sign.

The company and its management may have unrealistic expectations of what experiences candidates must possess, and didn’t take the time or effort to price out the salary correctly to ensure that it is competitive with what other firms in the same space offer. These matters foreshadow future problems, if you ultimately join the company.

Heavy-Handed Treatment In Setting Up Interviews

Be watchful of how the interviewers set up the meetings. The polite thing to do would be to ask what days and times work best for you. If you provide several options, but the supervisor heavy-handedly demands that you make yourself available for times that are more convenient to him, it shows that he lacks empathy and may be a bit of a bully.

To manage expectations, the company should set forth the number of interviews, how long the process will take, and provide the names and titles of the people you’ll be meeting. By offering this information, you will know what to expect and can do homework on the folks you’ll be speaking with. If the company does not offer this information and stops communication during the hiring process, failing to provide feedback and ghosting you for months at a time, it’s a flagrant red flag.

Rude Behavior On The Part Of Hiring Managers

Pay attention to the way they treat you in the interviews. The hiring manager should offer a warm introduction, engage in polite small talk, and ask how you are doing. A natural, free-flowing conversation should follow.

If the human resources professional or hiring manager comes across as cold and clinical and treats the interview as an interrogation, you need to be careful. Listen closely to the tone of the interviewer. Does the prospective boss talk down to you or dismiss your questions? Does the boss come across as arrogant and obnoxious during the conversation, talking over you?

When the interviewer arrives late without offering an apology, make a note of it. If the person comes across unprepared or like they didn’t fully read your résumé, check out your LinkedIn profile or do any due diligence to learn about you and your background, it’s problematic.

Since layoffs, hiring freezes and job rescissions are becoming more commonplace, the people involved with hiring should tell you what is happening with the organization. They should honestly advise you if there is a chance of you being let go if the economy worsens. Ask if they would add that your job offer won’t be rescinded in the employment contract. Inquire if there were recent downsizings. If so, how were they handled? If the interviewers try to dance around the subject, it’s not a good sign for the start of a mutually respectful relationship.

Out Of Touch With Reality

Many times, managers are out of touch with the job market. They don’t possess up-to-date data about compensation. They are unaware of how hot a sector is. Bad bosses are generally not intellectually curious enough to determine how many people out there possess the requisite experiences necessary for the job.

They just assume that many people would love the role and take it for lower pay than industry standards. Instead of finding sources that could reliably provide real-world intelligence, they belligerently and arrogantly think they know what’s best and dismiss any information that contradicts their incorrect assumptions.

Afraid To Make A Decision

Lately, the interview process has extended to three to six months. You’re required to meet with up to 10 people. Many of those involved are tangentially involved with what you would be doing at the company, but are pulled into the process anyway. This happens because the hiring manager lacks confidence in their own decision-making process and needs the others to validate their choice in a candidate.

Rude Lowball Offer

How do they handle the job offer when you reach the offer stage? Usually, a company will feel you out ahead of time to find the compensation you desire and offer a pay package that meets or exceeds your request.

The firm should have a fair number in mind and share the range beforehand so that there is no misunderstanding and everyone is on the same page. After six months of interviewing, meeting 10 people and the manager makes an offer far under your expectations, it’s an obvious bad sign. It could be their negotiating style, but they are most likely trying to gaslight and cheat you out of what you’re worth.

Run Away

If you experience these and related signs, consider taking a pass and moving on to another opportunity. You’ll end up feeling abused, overlooked and mistreated. I get that you love the company, but it will be a one-way relationship.

There are plenty of other great jobs, companies and managers out there. You owe it to yourself to keep looking until you find the right match.

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About the author: Jack Kelly is a CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms. He is passionate about advocating for job seekers and his articles come from an experienced recruiter’s insider perspective.

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