So you’ve networked your way into an interview that seems to check all of your boxes. The job is in the industry you want, the job description appears to be something you’d like, and the company you’d be working for looks like a great employer.

Even though this seems like a perfect situation at first glance, things may not be as great as they seem. So while you are perfecting your elevator speech and rehearsing interview questions, keep in mind that interviewing is a two-way street. Yes, you need to make a great impression on your prospective employer and prove to them that you deserve the job you’re going for, but they also need to prove they are a worthy employer.

Job candidates are notorious for downplaying flaws and red flags they uncover during the interview process.

By looking out for the following five red flags, you can determine if the job you’re interviewing is your dream job or a job that could derail your entire career.

Red Flag #1: No one can give you a job description

It would be unrealistic to ask a hiring manager to explain every single thing that an employee would do in a particular role. However, if you ask your prospective boss what you’d be doing if you were hired and they have to think for too long before answering, that’s a red flag.

The person you are reporting to should have a firm grasp of how you fit into the team, what your responsibilities will be, and how you’ll help the team achieve its goals. If a hiring manager can’t confidently tell you what your basic role is on a team, they likely don’t know what the team’s goals are or don’t know how they plan on utilizing you. This uncertainty can lead to your role changing or the team’s projects and overall direction changing into something that you don’t want to be doing.

Before taking a role, ensure that you know what a job will primarily entail and have a good idea as to what is expected of you. You’ll be glad you spent the time to ensure the job you land, is the job you were hoping for.

Red Flag #2: Your interviewer is disorganized, unprepared, and rude

No one’s perfect, not even interviewers. So it’s ok to give your prospective employer a break if the hiring manager hasn’t completely memorized your resume. What job seekers can’t do, however, is dismiss bad behavior that a company would hold against them if the situation were reversed. You must hold your interviewer to the same standards that they hold you.

As a job seeker, you should expect that the company will spend an appropriate amount of time evaluating you throughout the interview process. You should also expect your interviewers to be on time, attentive, and at least attempting to be personable.

If you find yourself waiting 15 minutes for an interviewer that regularly checks his or her phone while you answer questions, you might want to look into another employer.

Red Flag #3: The team badmouths current or former employees

Bad mouthing a previous or current employee is a huge red flag because it speaks directly to the company culture. No hiring manager should ever speak badly about the person you’re replacing, former employees, or current employees during an interview.


This is a clear sign that the hiring manager interviewing you has questionable character and judgment. You also don’t know how this person would talk about you if and when you decide to leave this company.

While this could just be a single rogue employee that is bad mouthing other employees to job candidates, their behavior is a reflection on the entire company. If you end up in this situation, proceed with caution.

Red Flag #4: The position doesn’t align with your career objectives

After every job interview, you must ask yourself a few questions. One of them, and perhaps the most important is if this job will help you move closer to your overall career objectives.

As a job seeker, you should go into each interview knowing what you want out of your next job and what your idea of success at the company will be.

Do you want to learn or refine a skill that will be crucial to you down the road? Or maybe you want to land a job that gets you the name recognition that your MBA resume has been missing? Whatever your goal is, ensure that you walk out of your interviews feeling like this company can get you to where you need to go. If you don’t feel like that, maybe this job isn’t a good fit.

Wrapping up

When you are in the interview process, don’t be blinded by your desire to land a job and don’t overlook clear concerns. Keep your eyes open for the red flags listed above and don’t be afraid to walk away from a potential job offer if a job isn’t a good fit for you.

Have you had any bad interview experiences that completely turned you off to a job? Tell us about them in the comments below!