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After all, this means that your counterpart must also obey the unwritten laws of the application process. You are not a supplicant – your interviewer should meet you at eye level.
You should therefore look out for the following warning signs which may indicate that your counterpart may not be the right employer for you.
If your interviewer can’t wait to talk their competition down, then alarm bells should definitely be sounding for you. Quite apart from the fact that no-one wants to spend their days with someone who likes to be negative, ask yourself why your interviewer feels the need to do that.
Could it be that the competition is way ahead of the company you are interviewing for? Is the company perhaps in trouble because they can’t keep up with their competitors? Or maybe the company is losing staff to the competition because they offer better pay or working conditions. In any case, you should listen carefully during the interview and pay attention to any conspicuous clues. Take a look at the competitors later and find out what they have to offer.
Interviewers should be professional, and they should know that their job is just as much about selling their company to you as it is about assessing you for a role.
If the interviewer is bad mouthing the person who just left the role you are applying for, the chances are that something went very wrong with that working relationship, and you really don’t need that sort of atmosphere when you spend so much of your time at work. Furthermore, you don’t know what the company will say about you behind your back or when you are leaving.
One of the most obvious questions to ask at an interview is about career progression, and you should, of course, ask this because you really want to know, but this question can also give you an insight into the company you are applying for.
If the interviewer tries to fob you off, is unable to come up with recent, solid examples of how others have progressed within the company or is unable to talk to you about a clear career path, it could be time to consider a quick exit.
One of the best things about a really good job is working with a great team that supports each other, builds each other up and stays positive no matter what. If your interviewer spends their time talking only about themselves, and the team barely gets a mention, you’ve got to wonder whether they’re a team player and if everyone in the business is the same.
If you really enjoy something, whether it’s a film, the last date you had or your job, you can’t wait to tell people about it, can you? If your interviewer is barely able to scrape up a smile when you ask if they enjoy their job, it could be time to worry.
While you’re waiting in reception before your interview, look out for any other staff and see if they look happy at work. Is the receptionist genuinely pleasant and willing to chat to you? What is the interaction like between members of staff? Do they acknowledge you and try to make you feel welcome?
If the interviewer tries to hustle you out of the door quickly and doesn’t give you the chance to ask any questions, or even worse, if they actively avoid answering your questions, maybe there’s something they are trying to hide. Evasion is never a good sign.
If you can’t get a clear picture of what you would be doing, or if the job description has markedly changed at interview from what you applied for, those warning bells should be clanging again. If you add to that no clear discussion of the salary and benefits you can expect, it really is time to head for the door!
Taking the time to think about what you want from the company you work for, watching for any warning signs and listening to your gut in an interview situation can help you get a clearer picture of what it’s like to work for a certain business. This can also help you make sure that you get what you think you’re going to get in terms of your career and its progression, your training, your salary and the company culture if you choose to accept their offer.
An interview is about give and take and can strengthen your self-confidence. Always keep in mind that you have valuable skills that a company can benefit from. Ask the right questions and remain attentive in the job interview to find out whether you and the job (including the company) are a good match.