3 Things Job Candidates Shouldn’t Ignore When Interviewing

Imagine you’ve accepted a position you thought was a good fit, only to discover after a few months it’s not what you hadhoped and need to move on. Sound familiar? One reader experienced this very thing and sought our feedback. Here is her story and our advice–the 5 things job candidates shouldn’t ignore when interviewing with a potential employer. Learn how to spot employers that may not be the best fit–before you accept an offer of employment.


Hi neteffects,

I made the mistake of rushing to accept a job offer for a project manager position for a company that looked good on paper and seemed to be perfect after interviewing with them. I was excited to get the offer and for my search to be over. Now after 3 months, I’m looking again. The culture here is toxic and the job itself isn’t what I thought it would be­ at all.

It’s disappointing, as I spent so much time just getting this job and really tried to make it work since I’ve been here. I don’t want to end up making the same mistake again the next time. Are there any warning signs to look for before accepting an offer of employment?

Shannon


While challenging, it is not impossible for job candidates to assess the viability of a long term working relationship before accepting an employment offer. By conducting some research and probing further by asking questions during the interview process, you’ll be able to gain valuable insights. This will aid in your decision of pursuing the opportunity further–before an offer is presented.

3 Things Job Candidates Shouldn’t Ignore When Interviewing3 things job candidates shouldnt ignore when interviewing

Signs of High Turnover

Turnover can happen for a number of reasons–budgets cuts and subsequent downsizing, management change, a toxic environment, and more. Repeat patterns of this behavior, especially in a particular division or department, should be questioned. Online research prior to interviewing will empower you with data upon which to form your assessment of the turnover and guide the questions you’ll ask to find out why.

How to Research Company Turnover

Leverage LinkedIn to conduct a search for current and former employees at the company you’re considering who’ve held the same or a similar role to the one you’re considering. You can retrieve this information by searching by the company’s name, title of the position, and can be narrowed down further by location. You can also use LinkedIn to reach out to any connections or request an introduction to a shared connection who may be able to provide you with the inside scoop.

Glassdoor’s company profile reviews section can also be used as well by opening up the Glassdoor website and searching by the employer’s name. If it is a listed business, current and former employees are able to leave anonymous feedback some of which may point to turnover.

Questions to Ask the Employer if There Are Signs of High Turnover:

  • Why is the position open–was the last person in the role promoted, or did they take a job elsewhere?
  • What is the average tenure of employees for this position and across the department as a whole?
  • How long have you been with the company?

If you sense there is high turnover relative to the size of the team (or not), this could indicate a poor supervisor, lack of opportunity for advancement, or something else. Good employers are comfortable being forthcoming with this information and should be prepared to share (show and tell) what they’re actively doing to turn things around– if they perceive it as a problem. If they don’t and the signs are all there that it’s not likely to change any time soon, take that into careful consideration.


Negative Reviews Online

Everyone’s experience at an employer varies, but if there are negative reviews that all point to a specific thing or follow a similar theme it could point to an ongoing issue that may impact you if hired. Glassdoor again can be quite invaluable for conducting research as well as reaching out to current and former employees through your online and offline network.

Make some notes about the specific complaints as it relates to the workplace and address them during the interview. If it is possible, ask to speak with the people who would be your colleagues and not just the hiring authorities while you’re interviewing. Ask specifically about they like about the workplace and what they would like to see change.

Questions to Ask the Employer if They Have Negative Reviews Online:

  • I’ve noticed online that there have been a few concerns from current and former employees regarding [insert complaint]. Can you help me understand why this seems to be a reoccurring concern and what, if anything, is being done to address it?
  • How is employee feedback gathered and what is done with the information?
  • Can you share information regarding changes that were implemented as a result of negative employee feedback?

Pushy or Overly Eager to Hire

Unfilled positions and/or lack of additional support when needed, can strain teams and cause productivity issues across a business. In addition, budgets for new headcount may go away entirely or be cut, making hiring new resources when they’re able to do so critical. Stakeholders charged with filling empty roles quickly may approach the process even more aggressively because for them, time and filling the position is of the essence. This however, is not the problem of the candidate.

You shouldn’t feel as if you’re being rushed to make an important decision without having all the information you need and adequate time in which to consider it. If they are hard-pressing you, it’s okay to tell them you need to take a pause or, thank them for their interest and walk away. You don’t want to be pressured into making a choice you might later regret.

Questions to Ask the Employer if They’re Being Pushy or Overly Eager to Hire:

  • How long has the position been open?
  • How soon would the person hired need to start?
  • How long do I have to give you my decision?
  • If I accepted, what would my first week, month, and 90 days look like?

With a little bit of preparation and due-diligence, you can make sure your next career move is a positive and rewarding one. If a potential job makes you feel uneasy, always go with your gut instinct. There are plenty of other opportunities out there and one that is right for you. By advocating for yourself, you’ll be showing employers that you’re confident in what you have to offer and take your career path seriously. And that’s the something the right employer will respect and want to hire.