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5 Red Flags Employers Watch For In Job Interviews

Getting through to the job interview stage in the hiring process means the employer believes you have the right experience and skills for the job on paper. But now comes the real deal-breaker—whether you can communicate those skills effectively in-person and whether you come off as the right fit for the company's 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 avoid in your next job interview...


1. Poor Communication

Potential job candidate doesn't have good communication skills in the interview

This includes everything from talking too little, talking too much, or simply having poor nonverbal behavior like a lack of eye contact, or making the situation uncomfortable with poor body language. When it comes to questions and answers, a job candidate who can't provide effective responses to questions that are necessary to assess their experience and skills is always a problem.

Be prepared to address every point you have on your resume. And when an employer presents a follow-up question like "Tell me more about..." they are trying to dig deeper either because they're curious, or you provided an insufficient response.

An inability to communicate well in a job interview will leave the employer questioning whether you do have the experience and skills you say you have on paper.

2. Question of Permanency

Hiring managers question how committed to the job the candidate is in the interview

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 unsaid.

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 talking 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 if they ask where do you want to be in three years, answer with a position that corresponds with their jobs and growth opportunities.

3. Bad Talk

Employer picking up on red flags in potential job candidate

The purpose of the interview is to demonstrate why you're a great candidate for the job and effectively convey 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.

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4. Appearance

Hiring managers judging potential job candidate on her appearance in an interview

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

Job candidate talks about money during an interview

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 they're considering, which may end up being much lower or much higher from what the employer 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.


This post was published at an earlier date and has been edited to ensure the content is up-to-date.


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