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Three red flags to avoid in a job interview
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Every interviewer looks for different things when they interview a candidate. Here are some red flags an interviewer may be looking for when they interview you.

This is a popular question on Quora and my answer got picked up by The Independent online, so I thought I would share it here as well.

The question

What are some of the biggest red flags in an interviewee?

My answer

There are three that red flags that come to mind immediately:

1. Unprepared

It’s a huge red flag if the candidate can’t bother to prepare for the interview. They should be putting their best foot forward and their level of preparation for the interview is a good indicator of how engaged they’ll be if they get the job.

What I mean by “prepared” is they have their resume handy, they’re on time, they know about the company and job they’re interviewing for, they are able to discuss the role in a meaningful way, and they have good questions and answers ready to go.

2. Not listening

If they’re not listening carefully and giving thoughtful answers, that makes me worried. This is especially true for client-facing roles. Most client escalations can be avoided by listening carefully and demonstrating empathy. If they don’t listen in the interview, that could mean a lot of unnecessary escalations in the future.

I know a lot of people dislike interview curveballs, but this is a good reason to use them occasionally. The purpose of the curveball isn’t to stump the candidate, but to see if they’re listening. When I ask a curveball question, I don’t usually care about the answer as much as I want to see how well the candidate is listening and how they react in the moment.

3. Not interested in this specific job

If a candidate outright says or even implies that they just need some job and they don’t care what it is, that is reason for concern. They may not be engaged with the work, and they’re a high attrition risk on day one.

In my book, Fearless Salary Negotiation, I break the interview process down into four phases: Preparation, Pre-interview, Interview, Post-Interview. The preparation phase is probably the most important because it can help the candidate avoid all of these red flags with just a little effort.