Have you ever left an interview with a feeling that something was not quite right?

For the last 20 years, starting as a recruiter and now as a coach and resume writer, I have coached hundreds of people to get ready for their interviews, and then heard back with stories about what happened. These stories often had red flags that were important to consider, particularly if the person genuinely wanted the job. What seemed odd in the interview? Were there any red flags that should not be ignored? Did you leave with a negative impression of the company?

As a recruiter, I once arranged for a candidate to fly to Portland for an interview at a company’s corporate headquarters. It was the final step in the hiring process. The next day, she called me and said she would not accept an offer, even if it was extended to her. It turned out that she was very unhappy with her experience at the company.

  • First, she took a taxi in the morning from the airport to get to the HQ. But at the end of the day, no one told her how she could get back to the airport. (This was before Uber existed). The receptionist left without even acknowledging that she was sitting in the lobby. So, she shut the door to the building herself, walked out, and called a taxi.
  • She was not sure if this was an example of the company treating their employees without much thought, or if it was just a miscommunication. Either way, it was a big red flag that she did not want to work there. And thus, the company lost out on hiring a good employee.
Job vs Career workbook

Many companies are now paying more attention to their hiring process, making sure that it reflects the organization’s values. Having a better process will actually attract good employees. So, what could have been done to improve the situation that happened above?

  • No one was explicitly responsible for making sure that she could get back to the airport. This was the source of the problem.
  • No one even asked about when her plane would leave or when did she need to be at the airport.
  • No one made arrangements by calling a cab on her behalf.
  • Someone could have volunteered to drop her off at the airport on their way home. It would have allowed for a more informal conversation to end the interview.

A company should always give you a good feeling when you finish an interview. Each business hires differently, but the hiring process is a good indicator of the corporate culture. In this case, the process was sloppy, which made the candidate not want to work there.

A company never gets a second chance to make a first impression. So, pay attention to red flags in your interview, particularly any breaches in basic business etiquette. Your intuition will always be right.

Debriefing my clients after an interview is one of my favorite things about working as an interview coach. We get to go through everything together, figuring out if there were any missteps and how you can fix them for next time. Practice makes perfect, after all! If you’d like a free consultation to talk about how I can help land you the job of your dreams, please contact me today. I’ll teach you the red flags in your interview to watch out for, and what to do if you spot them!