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by Vault Careers | November 09, 2011


The job search process is as much a way for the applicant to see if he wants to work for a company as it is a chance for companies to see if they want to hire him. Just like the interviewer can't find out everything he'd like about the person he's interviewing, the candidate can't predict for sure whether he'll be happy in the position. Keeping an eye out for a few red flags may be helpful.

1. Lack of preparation during the interview.

It's a bad sign when the job applicant shows that he or she is unprepared during an interview, but the same can be said of hiring managers. If a candidate is kept waiting long after his scheduled interview time; is told at the last minute or repeatedly that the company needs to reschedule the meeting; or discovers that the interviewer was unprepared or inattentive during the meeting, the applicant may start to wonder if the company is similarly disorganized in other aspects.

2. Negative impressions of company culture during the interview.

An interview provides applicants with the chance to enter their prospective office and get a glimpse of the employer's company culture. The candidate can observe if employees are interacting with each other and working collaboratively or if there is little talk in the office and most people keep to themselves and work independently. The candidate can also get a gut feeling of the office atmosphere by observing whether workers appear rushed and stressed or, on the other extreme, appear to be wasting time and doing little productive work. These glimpses can tell the candidate a lot about what he can expect if he is hired, and whether he'll feel comfortable with the company culture.

3. Low salary relative to job description.

A low salary for a job description that includes numerous responsibilities and a hefty workload and requires ample experience isn't only a problem because it makes it more difficult to pay the bills - it's a sign of how the company values its workers.

4. High turnover.

If the last few people to hold the job quit after just a few months, the candidate can reasonably expect that the same thing may happen to him. A high turnover rate indicates that the company offers jobs, but not necessarily careers, and is fairly comfortable with frequently replacing its workers rather than investing in them. 

--Published Courtesy of Brafton