10 Reasons Why This Job Isn’t For You

You have been looking online for that perfect job and now you think you finally found it. You have the education and skills required. It looks like there is enough meat to the job to make it interesting, and there’s room to learn new skills. What’s not to like? You may just find that out if you are invited into the company for an interview. Here are 10 signs telling you when to pass on a job:

1. When the interviewer is late for the interview. Sometimes it just can’t be helped. However, the demeanor of the interviewer can tell you a lot. Does he apologize profusely or act like lateness is par for the course? If you as the candidate are not allowed to be late, then neither is the interviewer.

2. Your potential supervisor is not at the interview or you are only allowed a short time with her. Another red flag is an interview on your itinerary with only the supervisor and then showing up to the interview to find the supervisor’s supervisor is there as well. Are they afraid she will say something wrong?

3. Try for an interview in the supervisor’s office. One time I interviewed with a supervisor whose desk was piled an impressive foot high with papers and books (it was – I measured it while waiting for him). The mess might have been impressive, but the hairy chest the guy sported because he had left his shirt buttons undone from his collar to his belt was not. There’s creative messy and then there’s I’m-blaming-you-when-I-can’t-find-your-report messy. And the hairy chest thing was just icky.

4. Group interviews where members interrupt each other and cannot agree on priorities are always a fun bet. If they cannot agree on goals and objectives in an interview, you can bet they cannot agree in department meetings either. You are not going to be able to do this so-called perfect job if all members cannot arrive at group consensus.

5. The interviewer complains about companies or experiences on your resume. I have had these interesting interview experiences: higher education interviewers complain about industry recruiting experience because recruiters are too “mercenary” and don’t have the students’ best interest at heart. Recruiters complain about higher education experience because it is “too ivory tower,” not real world enough, and the work pace in higher ed is too slow. If this happens, you can elaborate how these experiences will help you do the new job. However, it is bad form for the interviewer to complain instead of inquiring how these experiences relate to the job at hand.

6. Keep a close eye on your interviewer’s behavior. Does he go from calm to red-faced rage in .2 seconds? Do employees avoid eye contact with him and quake in his presence? If the interviewer is comfortable showing this behavior in front of you in an interview, you may be his next emotional punching bag. Definitely take a pass on this one.

7. Group interviews where the group acts very bored, tired or disinterested are a sign that these people do not work well as a team. Granted, group interviews can be time consuming and boring, but they should not only be interviewing you, but conveying that this is a great place in which to work.

8. The interviewer purposely asks an illegal question and carefully watches you as you respond. As novice interviewer, I occasionally asked the wrong question. However, questions about protected status such as religion, veteran status or parent status are illegal, and an interviewer should not be asking these questions. If you get asked an illegal question, you do have the right to refuse to answer it.

9. Group interviews can be difficult to schedule, as everyone is busy and time to do them is in short supply. However, if the organizer repeatedly asks you, the candidate, to hold open dates because he cannot get the group together, take a pass. I’ve seen groups refuse to agree on meeting dates when they either do not support the organizer or do not have buy-in on the candidates. This type of passive-aggressive protest behavior is not something you want to get involved in.

10. Most interviewers will ask you if you have questions, and yes, you should have some as this shows your interest in the job and knowledge of the field. However, there are some interviewers who will evade answering your more pointed questions or have already decided you are not the right candidate and will barely answer your questions at all. If you ask questions about the company or local area, and the response is a brochure thrown across the desk, the interviewer isn’t doing either her company or you a service. You can find better.

The Confidentiality Fudge Factor

The confidentiality policy fudge factor? Guess what – there is none. Lazlo Bock, CEO of Google states that breaking confidentiality policies is one of the biggest mistakes he sees on resumes. If your supervisor is worth the big dollars he/she gets paid, you will be “educated” on your company’s confidentiality policy, and you will have no excuse for listing clients and other confidential information on your resume.

And once you get to the interview? Nope. You still cannot discuss clients or other confidential information even if the interviewer asks you. And they WILL ask you. Your potential employer wants to know how serious you are about protecting your company’s client lists, trade secrets, etc. You may lose the opportunity for a new job by trying to impress your next potential employer. However, you may ACTUALLY impress the employer by apologizing when they ask for confidential information and referring to your current company’s confidentiality policy.

Once you land that great new job, can you blab confidential information then? Nope. Make sure you read and understand any confidentiality policies for ANY company for which you work. You can be sued for disclosing protected information at any of the above stages: on the resume, at the interview and while working at the new job. It will also ruin your professional reputation. That said, there are still some unscrupulous companies out there who will press you for the information.

How will your employer find out? Please. This is the era of the online career profile and resume. You may think you are safe posting information on-line, but you will trip yourself up. One little mistake on a career profile or resume can get you fired and sued. For example, trying to hide Kodak as “an internationally known imaging company based in Western New York” on your resume and thinking you are safe is irresponsible. Any potential employer is going to know you are referring to Kodak, so don’t do it.

Want to know about other common resume mistakes? See Lazlo Bock’s article here.

The Active and Passive Candidate Mix

I saw an ad the other day for a recruiting position which stated “We want recruiters to find us passive candidates, no applicants from job boards.”  Granted, I get it. I put an ad out for a local attending physician recently, and I got a medical driver applying for it. However, now is the time to be looking for a mix of candidates. Active candidates are not always unemployed. The recent recession has seen companies getting by with fewer workers who do more. And workers are getting sick of it. They are impatient with being overworked and underpaid and are ready to move on. These candidates are motivated to find a better position and are more likely to go through the paces of recruitment and placement than a passive candidate. Managers in the medical field are getting the message: if you want passive candidates, you need to pony up on the $$$ and benefits – sign on and incentive bonuses are now reaching $150K to give  candidates a reason to move to a new position – that is in addition to salaries of $200K-$300K.

The key to recruiting and hiring active candidates is to ensure that their skills are fresh. A note for active candidates: realistically, you are a much more viable candidate if you can show a continuity of work on your resume, even if it is contracting. As a contractor, you know what it means to hit the ground running and produce results, skills for which budget conscious managers are looking.

Employers have to be realistic too. Gone are the days of admonishing recruiters to find candidates who have a 1000% above and beyond the job requirements. Candidates are now getting multiple job offers, indicating that the job market is starting to swing back in their favor. We will need a mix of active and passive candidates to fill the jobs that will be opening up even as the economy improves.