5 Red Flags Employers Watch For In Job Interviews

| 5 min read

Getting through to the job interview stage means you appear to have the right experience and skills for the job on paper, but now comes the real deal breaker – whether you can communicate it effectively in-person and whether you come off as the right fit for its workplace culture.

There are typical red flags employers watch for in job interviews. Any one red flag can reduce your chances considerably, so here’s what you need to watch out for when conducting your next job interview

1. Poor communication

This includes everything from talking too little, talking too much, or simply having poor nonverbal behavior like not looking people in the eyes or making the situation uncomfortable with poor body language. When it comes to Qs and As, a job candidate who can’t provide effective responses to questions that are necessary to assess experience and skills is a problem.

Be prepared to address every point you have on the resume. And when an employer presents a follow-up question like “Tell me more about …” – they are trying to dig deeper because there is an insufficient response. An inability to answer will leave the employer questioning whether you do have the experience and skills you say you have on paper.

2. Question of permanency

When an employer puts out a job offer, it’s going to be to someone they believe is committed to the job – not to someone who’s simply looking to fill in a gap in employment while planning to relocate or until a more fitting job comes along. Any reasonable job seeker wouldn’t present such a front, but sometimes casual conversation can lead you to say things that are better off not said.

Avoid talking about challenges in job searching or how you were looking for a job in fashion marketing, but somehow you’re now applying for this job in healthcare marketing. It brings to question if you’re really interested in the job the employer has to offer.

Also, avoid talk about any long distance relationships or that your spouse and kids remain in another state. The employer will question if your personal situation may impact your job loyalty down the road if a relocation package is not going to be part of the offer. And in they ask where do you want to be in three years, answer with a position that is commensurate with their jobs and growth opportunities.

3. Bad talk

The purpose of the interview is to demonstrate why you’re a great candidate for the job and what you have to offer. It’s not about letting your frustrations out about a boss you don’t like or people you don’t like working with. Any bad-mouthing simply brings on a negative message about your character. It’ll also make the employer question if you can manage workplace relationships professionally.

Often, bad-mouthing occurs when employers ask questions like, “Why are you leaving your current job?” or “Why did you leave the job?” Stay focused on offering a positive response that relates back to the goal of improving yourself and utilizing what you’re capable of offering.

4. Appearance

Yes, it’s wrong to judge a book by its cover, but in a job interview that is what happens. If you’re not dressed the part to look like you suit the job, it’s going to be hard for the employer to see it, too. It also leaves the employer to think that if you can’t even manage to present a well-groomed appearance for a job interview that you’ll be even slacker when on the job – and that’s not going to work, especially if this is a position where you may have interface with customers or business partners that require a professional appearance.

5. It’s all about the money

Salary is a factor in determining whether the job offer is ultimately right for you, but bringing it up too early in the interview process comes off as though you’re in it only for the money. And when you’re the one to bring it up, it puts you at a disadvantage. You create a situation where you need to reveal your desired salary before the employer offers insight to what it’s considering, which may end up being much lower or too high from what has budgeted.

The point is to first make the most impressive mark you can. If you’re the one they want, they’ll bring up the topic of salary and you’ll have an idea of what they’re offering, which you can then further negotiate so it meets your expectations.

Employers take into account many factors of interaction during the job interview – it’s not just about experience and skills you put on paper. Now, you can avoid all the typical red flags to keep yourself in the running.

Nathan Jeffery