3. During the interview, the prospective employer is unsure of the answers to your questions or is wary of answering them.
Before giving me the speed-dating treatment at that last PR firm, the employees neglected to answer my questions about the position. What did the job entail? What about time commitment? Wages? My prospective employers knew just as much as I did: nothing. Of course, I should have foreseen this—the job board listing was also extremely vague.
Your Takeaway: Why would a company be so indecisive about an open position? “They didn’t want to tell you the truth,” Kohut says, “so they told you they didn’t know.” Her advice: If an interviewer pushes your inquiries aside, they could have something to hide. Since an interview is a preview of what your life could be like at the company, Woodward explains that you should discuss both the frustrating and exciting elements of the job. “Test how open they are,” he says, adding that if the interviewer dodges any questions, that’s a red flag.
4. The interviewer gives you a hard sell or an on-the-spot offer.
I was contacted by a recruiting agency, and the recruiter convinced me that he’d be my advocate, telling me everything that I wanted to hear: He’d collaborate with his coworkers on positions, and would get in contact with a company he’d previously done work with on my behalf. I was comforted—but not for long. After several unrequited voicemails and emails, communication on his end went mum.
Your Takeaway: If an interviewer is trying to convince you that he has the solution to all of your problems and/or a job that’s perfect for you, Woodward says that you should question his motives. In my case, the recruiter sold me a scenario that he knew he couldn’t deliver. His motives were purely monetary—he’s paid to add eager job seekers to the agency’s talent pool, so future openings can be more easily filled.
If a prospective employer offers you a position upon first meeting you, the company (most likely) doesn’t have a long-term plan. If a situation like this arises, tell the interviewer that you’re excited about the opportunity, but you need more time to think over your decision. As Woodward explains, no employer should be too desperate to fill a position.
5. The position forces you to compromise your career objectives.
Although I was qualified for all of the jobs that I applied for … they didn’t all thrill me. So when the rejections rolled in for certain jobs that I’d merely convinced myself would suffice, I wasn’t really devastated. Instead, I actually let out a sigh of relief.
Your Takeaway: Ask yourself in advance what five qualities your job must have—i.e. flexibility, a specific industry, etc.—and then determine if the prospective position has all of these characteristics that you crave. If you find yourself compromising on your must-haves, and then rationalizing those compromises, don’t make a rush decision, says Woodward. In most cases, you shouldn’t have to force yourself to fit the job—the job should fit you.