don’t ignore these job search red flags

When you’re searching for a job, it can be easy to get so focused on getting hired that you overlook the red flags that can reveal a job or a company that isn’t the right fit for you. That’s a dangerous mindset to have, because it can mean that you end up in a job that makes you dread coming to work each day.

Here are seven job search red flags that people often ignore, to their detriment.

The person who would be your boss is rude. Your boss will have an enormous impact on your day-to-day quality of life at work, as well as on things like what projects you get, how visible they are, what kind of recognition you receive, future raises, what professional development you have access to and more. That means that your boss’s character and way of operating is hugely important, and it’s crucial that you use the interview process to assess what kind of manager you’d be working for. If your prospective boss is rude or disrespectful, assume that won’t let up once you’re hired (if anything, it’s likely to get worse). Watch out for the following types of disrespect in particular:

  • Seeming put out when you ask questions about the job or the workplace culture
  • Acting as if you should be grateful you’re being considered
  • Disparaging your skills or past work
  • Asking you to do unreasonable things, such as interviewing with only a few hours notice, without any acknowledgement or apology

You feel uneasy about your ability to do the job well. When you’re anxious to get a job, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that your goal isn’t just to get hired, but rather to get hired for a job that you’ll do well in. Otherwise, you can end up struggling and miserable at work, or even getting fired, which can make getting your next job much more difficult. Even if these worst-case scenarios don’t happen, being in a job that isn’t a great fit means that you’re unlikely to have the kind of accomplishments that will help you reach the next level in your career. If you have real concerns about your ability to excel at the job you’re interviewing for – not normal nerves, but genuine doubts that you can do what the employer is looking for – it’s probably better to withdraw from consideration and focus on jobs that play to your strengths.

No one has been able to tell you quite what the job will entail. If the employer can’t clearly explain exactly what you’d be doing if hired, that’s a danger sign. It can mean that the job is likely to change drastically after you’ve already been hired, possibly to something that you don’t want to spend your days doing or aren’t good at. It can mean that they’ll realize they don’t need the position at all, even if you’ve already quit a previous job and started working for them. And if they’re unable to explain what doing the job successfully would look like or how they’ll decide if you’re doing it well, it can mean that you’ll be left to flounder with no clear direction and be held to vague standards that never quite get articulated.

The interviewer doesn’t interview you. An interviewer who doesn’t ask many questions about your work experience is an interviewer who isn’t equipped to make a smart hiring decision. If you’re offered a job by a company that knows little about you and hasn’t made much effort to learn more, you’re taking a risk that once you’re on the job, it will turn out that the role or company isn’t right for you.

Online reviews of the company are overwhelmingly awful. Sites like Glassdoor.com, where people can leave reviews of their employers, aren’t always 100 percent reliable. People’s reviews are subjective, and a disgruntled employee might paint a very different picture than the reality. However, if a company has a significant number of reviews and they’re overwhelmingly negative, that’s worth paying attention to.

You have a terrible gut feeling. If you feel uneasy every time you think about the job or the manager, listen to your gut. Those alarm bells are often based on things that you’re picking up subconsciously, and it’s far better to walk away now than get stuck in a job that will make you miserable.

You’re pressured to accept the offer on the spot. Good employers will give you time to think over a job offer. They want you to have time to make sure that the job and offer are right to you, because they want to make good hires and not have people itching to leave after a few months. Employers who pressure you to accept on the spot or before the day is over are pushing you to do something that isn’t in your best interest. Be very wary.

{ 51 comments… read them below }

  1. LO

    I needed to see this today, Alison! I went on an interview about a week and a half
    ago and realized that I’m the kind of person that gets so wrapped up in “winning” the job
    that I don’t see the red flags, which is how I ended up in my current job and plenty miserable.

    I don’t know how I can learn to remain calm in these types of situations, but the tunnel vision is real.

  2. Mimmy

    Oh I am definitely guilty of missing red flags! Many of what’s described in the article has happened to me, and it almost always bites me in the rump. The worst one was allowing a hiring manager to hire me on the spot. This was over 15 years ago so I don’t remember if he actually *pressured* me, but my job coach did. That ended up being the most toxic job I’ve ever had.

    How does one reconcile with turning down a job offer or self-selecting out of consideration due to these gut feelings, particularly when you’re unemployed?

    1. Laura

      I think you just need to tell yourself “I followed my gut… time to move on” and MOVE ON. I struggle with feeling guilty about decisions, but most of the time my instincts are absolutely right.

      1. Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks

        I was offered a job on the spot. but the decision NOT to take it was very easy for me–the salary was considerably lower than what I was making at the time. a couple of years ago, I had an interview with someone who kept me waiting for almost an hour with no apology. I’m glad I didn’t get that job. I’m sure it would have been disaster.

    2. voluptuousfire

      I had that last summer while unemployed. I applied for a job with a law firm that was a step in the direction I wanted to go in with my career and got an interview. The call with the HR person was routine and the in person was fine. They were very pleasant but neutral. I prepped for the interview and threw in a few different facts about the firm and they liked that.

      There were some good things about the job but after speaking with the team, it didn’t seem like it was a mutually good fit. The office vibe I didn’t like and the team had a pretty good poker face, so I didn’t think I was going to move forward. I presumed the interview was a loss and moved on. No big deal. Two days later I got a call from the HR person and they offered me the job. I was surprised! I had time to think about how things went and it felt off, so I turned it down. In a way it was interesting because I never had the luxury of doing that before. I had a lot of transferrable skills for the role but didn’t have the core background needed and I thought that would have put me out of contention. It felt like I was the best out of a handful of people they interviewed and that’s not a good feeling. I’ve had that happen before and accepted the role and it backfired horribly. I interviewed for the role I’m in now a week later and it’s a mutually great fit.

      Go with your gut. If you’re two weeks from losing your house, I’d say take the gig but if you’re doing OK and have other things in the pipeline, you probably can afford it.

    3. College Career Counselor

      I agree with what Laura said, “followed your gut, time to move on.” I’ve only had one interview situation where I felt that particular “what will it take to get you to accept now” pressure. The VP/Dean was having the wrap-up conversation with me (after the usual all-day interview gauntlet that higher ed prides itself on), and she asked me, “Based on what you’ve seen today, would you take the position?”

      That REALLY put me off because she was asking for a commitment without making an offer. I said something to the effect that I’d enjoyed learning more about the school, the department, the challenges, etc., but that I would certainly need a couple of days to consider an offer. (Note: I was unemployed at the time.) I didn’t get an offer, possibly in part because I was not sufficiently enthusiastic in that encounter. I will note that this particular institution didn’t hire ANYone for at least another year, and over half the staff has turned over since I interviewed there. That’s a little unusual in my experience, so I consider it something of a bullet dodged in terms of culture fit.

      TL;DR: During the interview, if you feel like you’d be talking yourself into taking the job if it’s offered, it probably means that you’re better off not accepting.

    4. Newish Reader

      Part of it is just experience. I’ve had a few situations where I didn’t listen to my gut (or the people around me giving good advice) and had terrible experiences. I also had an experience or two where I listened to my instincts about red flags and in hindsight felt I’d made the right decision. Until someone has had a few experiences to build confidence in their own instincts, it could be beneficial to consider “what would AAM do?”

    5. wet gremlin

      It was hard for me – I had my first real job offer in the year and half since I’d left the military, and I knew I’d be miserable doing it (business intelligence for a defense contractor, trying to help sell the company’s services to the government), but I felt like I was obligated to take it since I’d been just barely staying afloat and felt like I was mooching off my then-fiance.

      He caught me crying (I know, ridiculous) the next morning as I was trying to respond to the offer email, and when I told him what a horrible feeling I had about the job, he said I was nuts for intending to take the job regardless. Incidentally, he was also the one who convinced me that I was indeed entitled to go (and not a total loafing s-bag for going) back to school full-time as the GI Bill intended. So, that’s how I reconciled it – with support from him. I recommend not going through the process alone, at least emotionally – keep a supportive friend or family member in the loop, and ask for their input. Tell them the crazy thoughts that are plaguing you and listen to their reassurances.

  3. Bob

    At this point in my career, I’ve finally learned to pay attention to my gut during interviews. I would say the interview has been representative of what the job ended up being like most of the time. This is especially true when everything is done last minute and seems chaotic in general. Like when you’re already sitting in the room and only then does the hiring manager say “let me see if I can get a couple of people on that team in here to ask you some questions.” On the other hand, I love it as a candidate. Without time to prep, a person with little-to-no interview experience will usually just lob some softballs to you if they couldn’t even study your resume.

    1. Artemesia

      Early in my professional career I was offered a ‘fabulous job’ that would have meant moving my family and uprooting my husband’s career. It was my turn and we agreed he would do this for my difficult to locate profession. It was a great offer, but my spidey senses were just tingling and so I turned it down. A friend of mine was then offered it and he took it. I turned out the director of the organization had his hand in the till, they had not done all the things that were shown as complete on the giant pert chart for the project I would have been running, they had alienated the local community they needed to work with on this by offering several teachers full time jobs then not following through after some of them had given notice. A complete cluster fudge or Biblical proportions. It would have destroyed me; my friend could role with the punches since he wasn’t moving a family and just worked a year doing what he could while finding his next position.

      There was no one thing that told me this was ‘wrong’; everything looked fine. The pert chart was a thing of beauty and preciseness — occupying a huge wall in the conference room. It all looked good, but somehow my subconscious picked up the vibes. Listen to your gut.

      1. Trout 'Waver

        I tell my employees to trust that tingly spider sense in the back of their heads when dealing with safety issues. If they’re about to pour the glaze for a teapot, and the tingling sense goes off, I tell them to take a big step back and try to figure out why they’re uncomfortable. If they’re unsure, they should ask their coworkers, safety personnel, myself, or my boss. (Note: we do provide extensive safety training and don’t put employees in unsafe situations, but you can’t cover every possibility.)

        The same applies to social situations. You have danger sense for a reason. Oftentimes it’s triggered by someone or something that doesn’t conform to reasonable social cues and norms. And oftentimes, you only recognize it with reflection and not while it’s happening.

    2. L R

      Trusting your gut is so important. I had a series of interviews once for an employer. One of the higher ups that they wanted me to speak with kept me waiting 30 minutes past the time I was supposed to see him because he was in the middle of a “crisis.” Little did I know that “crisis” was the norm around there. My gut told me to run, but I sat there because I needed the job and I still took it. My gut was right and one of the happiest days of my career was when I turned in my notice. I was younger then, but there is no way I would put up with it now.

  4. Former Invoice Girl

    At the one job I was miserable at, I’d had a terrible, nagging feeling that I wouldn’t be good at it. I knew I would never be able to sell thing to people via phone, and I still applied and accepted the job because I was desperate for one. It was terrible and I quit within my trial period. *sigh*

  5. Trout 'Waver

    Here’s one to add to the list: If the hiring manager tries to punish you in any way for attempting to negotiate, run. For entry level positions, be ready to take a polite, “Take it or leave it.” But for higher-up positions, it’s accepted that candidates will negotiate. A hiring manager that tries to punish people for negotiating has shown the type of person they are.

    1. Laura

      Or, if you have to negotiate it with HR, it’s good to know that the company handles things like that in a much more structured way. The impression I’ve gotten from my employer is that there really is NO room for negotiation. They advertise a salary range and negotiations aren’t really welcome or allowed. It’s a shame, but not surprising in my particular industry.

    2. Kyrielle

      Agreed. They may well tell you there’s no room for negotiation, but if they act like it was terrible of you to ask (vs it was fine but you aren’t going to get any changes), then run.

  6. Bag of Jedi Mind Tricks

    This is the reason I loooove this site. I am learning so much. I’ll be better prepared for my next Interview

  7. Laura

    My current job is great. I’m very happy and I know this is the industry I want to be in, and this employer is definitely a good one. HOWEVER my manager is not very good at managing. When she hired me, she initially called to offer me the job. She pressured me to accept on the spot but I politely demurred and asked for a formal offer letter and a few days to think about it. I’m so glad I did that, because it gave me time to mentally prepare and feel comfortable with starting the job.

    I also learned right off the bat that although my manager is a lovely woman, she isn’t very experienced at managing people! This has been confirmed during my time here, but fortunately it’s nothing serious.

  8. Student

    I really wish I’d heeded this one before I took my current job: “The interviewer doesn’t interview you.”

    I got interviewed thoroughly over a day by everyone except my actual direct boss. Direct boss asked me essentially nothing and showed no interest in my work. Direct boss attended breakfast with me, but skipped out on our substantive interview slot. Everyone else involved (some ~10 other people) took it seriously. Then I got a job offer. I figured that everyone except direct boss had seemed on the ball, and I knew that direct boss didn’t have much management experience (from other interviewers), so I ignored the warning sign and figured he’d learn about hiring and managing as we went along.

    Thus began a job where my direct boss essentially ignored and abandoned me for the next couple of years, just like the interview. It was perfectly indicative of his approach to managing, which was to hide and not answer my communication attempts.

  9. BRR

    I had some of these things happen so bad during my job search last year. I received a very pleasant email from the hiring manager inviting me in for an interview. When I got there she wasn’t just cold but hostile. She also started off with “what questions do you have.” Uhh a lot at this point. I asked one very general question which received a super negative answer. Two other people were part of the interview and basically looked horrified as the massacre that was happening before them. The hiring manager asked me three questions and with my questions the interview lasted 10 minutes.

    Other story. I took an offer from the job I have now which had none of these or other red flags. Kind of pissed because I’m not happy with it.

  10. Anon Accountant

    Yes please please please trust your gut! Please pay attention to “little things” also. Many “little things” may be red flags adding up to alert you the job is a bad fit.

  11. Kate

    Juat curious, what is a reasonable timeframe for a prospective employer to require you to respond to an employment offer? Obviously, on the spot is too little, but the next day, two days, a week?

  12. KEM

    Woof. I just turned down a job several weeks ago….literally experienced every one of these things throughout the entire interview process. I kept telling my friends and family something was OFF.

    Fast forward and I received an offer not for the mid-level position I applied for, but an entry level one that was 15k less than I asked for. When I turned them down I was told that I should be “grateful.” Lo and behold, they then re-post the job posting on LinkedIn…with some of the job requirements listed coming VERBATIM from my resume (in terms of projects and such I am working on at current job). Not good enough for the mid level position, but you like my ideas?

    Bullet. Dodged.

  13. Audiophile

    Who hasn’t missed read flags?
    I had an interviewer outright tell me “I’m looking for a creative person,” as she looked over my answers for a “test” she gave me. Thankfully that was enough of a wake up call for me to decide right then and there that I wouldn’t accept the job if I was offered it. I didn’t withdraw my application but I also didn’t worry about the job from that point on.

  14. Wendy Darling

    A corollary to the “they can’t tell you exactly what you’ll be doing” thing:

    A lot of my problem at my job is that they decided to hire someone in my position because they’d heard it could fix a bunch of problems they have, but they basically didn’t bother to look into it beyond that. As a result they have *completely* unrealistic expectations for my position. Their budget for the position is low even for an entry-level-ish person, which I am, but they’re expecting me to do the work of an entire team of people and then getting upset when I cannot magically and immediately fix their problems.

    As a result of my failure to be a magic bullet, I’m having a really hard time getting buy-in from my colleagues — they don’t want to spend time helping me get to a place where I can do my job because they were promised magic when I was hired and I am not producing magic so they don’t see it as worthwhile.

    It stinks and I’m looking to move on ASAP.

    1. So Very Anonymous

      I’m working in an organization where there’s a LOT of desire to hire magic bullets, and a lot of our searches have been failing lately for reasons related to this, I think. If I were the candidates for these positions, I’d be running — and they do seem to be doing just that.

  15. Karon

    I so often see people saying to “trust your gut” and “follow your instincts”, and I really appreciate from the examples that people give that this is truly the best way to go, but does anyone have any suggestions of how to follow these instincts when you struggle with anxiety? In those cases, a big transition like accepting a job offer can trigger anxious feelings, so how do you know if you’re just reacting to this scary change in your life or to a feeling that you’re walking into something you’ll regret?

    1. College Career Counselor

      That’s a tough one. For me, I think I have to tell myself at the end of the interview, “if I get an offer, will I be excited (but still nervous about change/new challenges/whatever), or will I be unhappy/filled with dread?”

      Some time ago, I applied for a job, and when I didn’t get an offer, I was RELIEVED. In retrospect, it turns out, I didn’t get a great feeling from the staff I’d be working with, I didn’t like the geographic area. But if you’d asked me during the interview, I wouldn’t have been able to put my finger on it (because I’m in “interview mode”). Only after some reflection did it make sense to me.

      If you’re seeing a professional about your anxiety, perhaps that person could be helpful in helping you identify anxiety-about-transitions vs. anxiety-about-bad-fit?

    2. Liane

      As the mom of someone with anxiety–and I may have a few tendencies myself–I suggest running it by someone whose judgment you trust, preferably in your field, and ask them if this seems “off” or “red flag/s.” I will provide this perspective for my daughter when she asks and I have several people who will happily give me their opinion. Not just on how red flag-filled it is/isn’t but what they think of my take. You still have to make the final call, but it does provide a reality check and gets one’s own judgment focused better.

    3. Anonymous Educator

      Is there a trusted friend whose second opinion you can employ? Describe how the interview(s) went, see what her reaction is? She can give you an outside perspective.

    4. Bif

      I have terrible anxiety at times, and this is a great question. I do the same thing College Career Counselor rerecords, but I also check in with my friends and ask them if my ‘take’ on something seems to make sense. This is often all it takes.

      However, recently I’ve done something different: I write out my concerns and reread them later. I had horrible, just horrible anxiety over a job a few months back and I wrote this for myself. I read it again just recently and it helped me with gauging my anxiety as unfounded or not:

      “[The hiring company] seems to have some serious underlying issues that have got to be resolved before they can grow the way they said they wanted to. Both of the women I talked to were stunningly competent types that I think I would have really enjoyed having as my coworkers, but the caliber of the male employees is clearly several steps down from the female counterparts. I’m not really sure why that is, but seeing as the department I’d be going into is primarily male, I do think that reality was one I’d come to really resent, especially as it doesn’t seem that very many women occupy more senior roles that are involved in decision making. So it seems that I’d be perpetually working for someone who knew significantly less about appropriate teapots than I do.

      They also had some pretty weird ideas about how much work one person can realistically do – there was definitely an undercurrent that someone with 8 years of experience could do 8X more work than someone with one year of experience in the same time frame. …Pairing that with the anticipated 10-14 hour days until they’d built-out their automated teapot checker, I think that they’d have burned me out in about 3 months.

      [The hiring manger] spent all of the time I had to talk about their process/programs/needs/my capabilities/what I wanted to bring to the company, trying to figure out where they would put my desk in the building. I walked away from my interview with NONE of my technical questions answered, and NO idea of what skillset they were looking for. (I asked if they could schedule more time later in the week to review those details.) I knew, however, everything but the make and model of the desks they’d chosen for their team. If they are hiring people on the basis of how well they fit the current equipment, then it seems unlikely that I’ll be working with a smart team of folks that understand teapots well enough to actually make good use of a decade of experience.”

      At the time I wrote this down, I was very anxious and thought I was overthinking it horribly, and shying at shadows. But this helped clear my head and illustrate very clearly that I had founded concerns about the business.

  16. Den

    There are all good points made in the article and though for the second point, it feels like a tricky thing for me in particular. I feel I’m lacking in many skills, and even at 29, still don’t know what I’m even good at, or what I would like to do or can tolerate enough. Having very low self-esteem and confidence, depression and no particular aspirations makes this way more of an uphill battle. Been at one job for several years, and on and off been trying to apply to other jobs or an additional one for part time. (mostly the latter since I’m not a big risk taker). I’ve been slowly learning things I’m alright at or terrible and curious to try things because you never know what discoveries or interests or fields may emerge, or so I feel.

    That said, there’s still some fields I’d strongly never do such as a salesman because I personally have a very strong like to push people or demand stuff, strongly wanting people to make to make their own choices or wants, pressure free. Heck, even with friends, I even have difficulty and reluctance making recommendations if a friend ask whats good in ____ (or maybe I don’t have an understand an understanding at all of salesperson).

    There’s definitely a long road ahead for finding my place in the workforce. Reading the site and the comments definitely helps me in gaining a lot of little insights and perspectives.

  17. bopper

    “You have a terrible gut feeling. ” Everyone shoudl read the “Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker to understand why you should listen to your gut and how we talk ourselves out of it.

  18. Your Friendly Customer Service Rep

    I turned down a job offer that had red flags all over it too even though I would have more pay with the job. I applied for a customer service position at Teapot Health Insurance and I experienced the following: 8p call from recruiter followed by an immediate next-day job interview that was then canceled the next day only to be reinstated last minute and so I had to book it to the interview site. The interview was short. I get a call from someone pushy recruiter wanting to offer me the job starting the new year (it was in October) and that I had to sign the paperwork immediately.. like that day. I turned the job down. I don’t regret it one bit.

  19. SystemsLady

    ~Half really good ~half really bad can also be a red flag.

    Especially when the really bad reviews tell stories that all sound similar and come from different locations and departments, and three/four star reviews also mention witnessing similar things.

    One of our most toxic to work for clients (somebody there somebody with clout didn’t like gets fired at least every 6 months for no other reason and often with terrible timing) has a Glassdoor page that looks like this.

    Hey, at least their legal department apparently prepares a huge severance package for everybody fired in that manner.

  20. Trickylastname

    Thanks for mentioning gut feeling. The first time it saved me was when I interviewed at a startup that was a Health and Safety catastrophe about to happen: loose cables everywhere, drain leakages, plugs in bad condition, patched up laptop chargers – I politely rejected their offer, even tough the money and the positions were both good. The second time was with a HR person who asked me to send her a scan of my University diploma (not a transcript) before the first interview; I told her I didn’t had it yet, and she dropped all contact. I think to this day that I dodged two bullets there.

  21. ModernHypatia

    Biggest red flags reliably from my last job hunt: Look at the work space.

    Librarian, so there are lots of places trying to make non-ideal buildings and tiny budgets work. But the job where I asked to see the work space for a technology-related position (that would include webpage editing, design for online images for programming, etc.) and saw a tiny desk (just big enough for a computer and monitor) with my back to the three other desks in the room (kudos for them for keeping as much space for patrons as possible, but your staff need space to function too) and a 12″ monitor and a 5+year old computer, and I was at … “No.” (Desk and chair were also ergonomic nightmares, and I’ve worked hard to avoid RSI so far, and I’d like to keep it that way.)

    I want a job that understands that a modest investment in technology and a functional workspace makes doing the job well so much easier, and with many fewer issues caused by ergonomic problems, or just ‘insufficent screen space means I’m swapping windows all the time’.

    My current job, on the other hand, has been fantastic when I’ve asked for things that make it easier to do my work well.

    1. Chaordic One

      This is underrated, but important. A couple of times I’ve had jobs where they didn’t give you the tools to do the work, and they wouldn’t buy them for you. We had to only purchase things from a specific discount office supply company that had a very limited range of products. I ended up breaking down and buying things myself.

      OTOH, I’ve also worked where they gave you a credit card and said to go to whatever office supply or general merchandise store and buy what you needed.
      Of course, I wasn’t going to buy anything frivolous or for my personal use. I only bought things that I needed to do my work.

    2. the_scientist

      A big YES to this one. I learned this lesson the hard way in my first post graduate school job. It doesn’t matter how much you enjoy the work or how personally invested you are in the mission or the project……not having the tools to do the work will wear you down, and faster than you think.

  22. Nobody

    How about getting a job offer without meeting anyone in person or physically going to the work site? That’s how I got my current job. I assumed the phone interview was just an initial screening, but the next call I got was a job offer. I was concerned that they didn’t want to meet me in person or show me around, but I thought about it and decided that seeing the facility in person was unlikely to affect my decision. I had to travel on my own dime one weekend just to see the area before I committed to moving here.

    I still don’t think seeing the site or meeting the boss in person would have affected my decision, but I think the fact that they didn’t want me to (or didn’t care enough about giving me a chance to) probably should have been a red flag.

  23. Panda Bandit

    I was at work once (retail so anyone could wander in) when someone tried to convince me to go work for them. They couldn’t describe the job at all, only told me that it could be very profitable. I declined because I had absolutely no information to go on and the whole situation felt weird. I’m glad I did that.

  24. stevenz

    Ignoring red flags – brilliant scarlet red with flames kind of red – led to a disastrous marriage, so it just work stuff that your gut talks to you about.

  25. JustTeaForMeThanks

    I recently had a case of “the interviewer doesn’t interview you” in combination with a rather chaotic start of the interview. I was kept waiting for 10-15 minutes (okay, that can happen), they had to find a location to interview me last minute, one of the three people who were to interview me were nowhere to be found. On top of that the interviewer who was to be my manager should I be hired/accept the job could not find my resume, when he eventually did he read it (partly out lout) as he obviously had never seen it before and asked me for what position I had applied (!) He then ended the interview about ten minutes in because “he knew enough” and had “another meeting”, at that point the coworked who was MIA showed up. I ended up finishing the interview with the two people left, but was unimpressed with their answers to my questions. After the interview I e-mail the HR department to let them know I didn’t think it was a match and was no longer inerested. About a week later HR e-mailed me with a new vacancy, which they thought would be a better fit (it really wasn’t). I replied to them telling them that for me the lack of fit had not been about the job, but the company itself and listed the reasons above as to why. /end of novel :)

  26. Milton Waddams

    The sadder part of the story is those who do accept them — toxic jobs often only lead to other toxic jobs because of the effect they have on one’s resume and references.

  27. pennycase

    These are all such good points! The flip side is also interesting to me–are there any things that might initially seem like red flags (or at least yellow flags), but turned out not to be a big issue? I realize a lot of this is really specific to a person, and to a work place, but one of the things that sticks out to me is the lack of an HR department. I started my career at a few big employers with a set hiring and onboarding procedure, and after one frustrating experience at a very small nonprofit (which was not all their fault! It was also a personality mismatch.), I started to think that not having an HR department/person was a serious concern. For a variety of reasons, I ended up overlooking that in my current position, and while there are CERTAINLY some weird quirks about it (e.g. I got kind of scolded for not following a bunch of rules I had no way of knowing about when I was entering my hours, I didn’t get my new hire paperwork to fill out until I realized I hadn’t, several days later, and asked about it), it’s still been a net benefit, since my immediate boss is nice and I have learned a lot.

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