Updated: Jun 27
Red flags. Oh, how I wish I learned how to spot them early in my career during the hiring process, and, even more importantly, had the courage to run away from them! But as with most things, learning comes from experience and this takes years of trial and error.
In today’s workforce, depending on the industry, it is often said there is a war for talent. This war has forced many forward-thinking companies to change their recruiting efforts to be more candidate-centric and competitive. I find this change refreshing as a recruiter because it forces me to challenge myself in new ways, and as a candidate for the way it empowers while I seek out new opportunities.
Liz Ryan, the CEO of the Human Workplace (please follow her on @humanworkplace), said it best regarding the outdated relationships between job seekers and candidates: “A huge part of the problem with recruiting in general and interviewing in particular is the mindset. We have all been taught the same lie: that job candidates are supposed to grovel and beg for a job while employers pick and choose among them.”
Ryan’s words are so painfully true. During my early days of recruiting, I fell prey to this ideology, only to realize that how employers treat job seekers is, for the most part, complete BS and totally unfair.
Luckily, I’ve evolved, and my approach has become candidate-centric as it should have always been.
It’s crucial for job seekers to know they are in complete control during the interview process and they aren’t beholden to outdated beliefs.
Below are several red flags that job seekers should be aware of and perhaps even walk away from.
Watch out for:
1. Recruiters who contact you but don’t seem to know anything of substance either about the company or position they represent. This shallow pursuit is just an effort by many staffing recruiters to meet their contact metrics by leading candidates into believing there is an actual job opening.
2. Recruiters who ask for your salary history and become defensive when you don’t provide it. To be honest, I’ve been pushing this for a while; it's no one’s business and has absolutely NOTHING to do with your ability to successfully do a job.
3. Recruiters who don’t disclose the salary for the position. Honestly, if you don’t see a salary range on the job description itself, it might be cause for concern. Why? ALL jobs have a salary range due to budgeting purposes and YES hiring managers do have a preferred salary range they keep in mind when recruiting candidates. Ask for the salary range up front and don’t be shy about it!
4. During the interview, hiring managers who ask questions that attempt to make you regurgitate your resume. If a hiring manager or a recruiter for that matter can’t take the time to read your resume (thoroughly, I might add) then why should you be expected to take the time out of your day to talk to them?
5. Hiring managers who treat interviews more than interrogation sessions than thoughtful conversations to learn more about you. An interview is a two-way street for the purpose of both candidates and employers to TALK to determine if the role/company is a good fit.
And Last but Not Least:
Hiring managers and recruiters who expect you to be overly grateful for the opportunity to talk with them. Many employers still put on airs when it comes to candidates and treat them like they’re disposable. They might dismiss your concerns or ghost you at any point in the interviewing process.
In short, trust your instincts throughout the hiring process. If you see red flags, don’t explain them away or pray they will somehow vanish. No, they are flashing in your face for a reason! When it comes to interviewing, mutual respect is the name of the game.
So, if you aren’t being respected, either address it, if you can, or walk away if nothing changes.
Remember, you deserve more!