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I’ve written many times that interviewing is very much like dating. You go through the same phases: attraction, flirtation, getting-to-know-you meetings, and finally, a proposal and moving in together. And as in dating, the early days of the hiring process are when recruiters and applicants are on their best behavior. That’s why red flags during the recruiting process should send you running in the opposite direction.
Building a connection and trust with the candidate should be a primary goal of any recruiter, so if you find communication is spotty or frustrating during the hiring process, it should give you pause. Ghosting applicants is more than rude; it’s a sign that the company views people as commodities. You should not have to wonder if you’re still in the game after you’ve met with an interviewer; you deserve to hear back from the company promptly unless they’ve given you a clear schedule of how the interviewing process will go. Not returning your calls is a way to make sure you know who has the power in the relationship. And it’s not you.
One way to judge a prospective beau is by seeing what his exes have to say about him. Glassdoor reviews can reveal problems and let you know about the how long the hiring process will take. You can also reach out through LinkedIn to former employees who might provide insight on the company culture. Asking the right questions will help people open up. What did you like most about working there? If you could go back for an attractive position, would you work there again? What advice would you give me before I accept an offer?
Trust your instincts when you visit the company and meet with staff. How do the workers interact with each other? Are they smiling? Does the interviewer come out on time or make sure to send someone to apologize that they’re running late from a previous meeting? Are you greeted warmly? Does he appear prepared for the interview and genuinely interested in what you have to say? Does she answer your questions openly and in sufficient detail? If you get a bad feeling during this early phase, when the company is presumably on its best behavior, you’re probably not going to feel valued when you’re part of the workforce they take for granted.
If you’re getting mixed signals about key issues like salary, start date, or job duties, it’s a clear signal that you shouldn’t give up your current position without a detailed written job offer in hand. I’ve met many candidates who thought they had accepted a great job, only to find out the interviewer had been less than honest about the realities of the position. Promised reviews for raises never materialized, job duties changed, training and support resources were not sufficient to ensure success. Workers can be stuck for months in a miserable job while they look for something else and regret leaving the job they had.
Especially if you’ve been looking for a job for a while, it can be easy to talk over the tiny voice in your gut that tells you to move on. We rationalize decisions and ignore the subconscious signals that this is not the right move right now. There will always be another opportunity somewhere in a company that will treat you right. “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” ~Maya Angelou