May 31, 2022

8 Red Flags You Should Avoid In An Interview: How To NOT Blow Your Chances!

Congratulations, you've received that coveted interview call! Now, if you aren’t scared of blowing your chance, do you even want that job? It’s natural to feel nervous, scared, tensed, and all kinds of jittery before attending an interview, especially for a job you really, REALLY want. And it doesn't matter if you're an experienced professional or fresh graduate, interview sickness is as real as Covid-19!

If you aren’t new to interviews, rewind to the time when you were preparing for your very first interview. Probably the only things that you'll be reminded of are the panic, rush of adrenaline, and nervousness that you felt. If you're a fresh grad, you may possibly be feeling it now while fielding your first interview calls.

But in the haste of securing a job, interviewees disregard the main criteria that an interviewer looks out for, resulting in rejection. If you think that these only include your skills, knowledge, education, and work experience, think again. What you say, how you say it, and also the kind of body language that you exhibit is equally important, if not more.

Read more: Top 12 Most Common Reasons Recruiters Are Rejecting Your Job Applications

For instance, if you're someone who's always extra careful about everything, your drawback may be being too self-conscious and reserved, and can be one of the main reasons why you don't/didn't land that job you so wanted.

Remember this when sitting for your interview: The interviewer has loads of experience with people like you. Thus, even if you try your utmost to not display any signs of discomfort or nervousness, the interviewer may pick up on the little details (like incessantly bouncing your leg), and tick off your name from the list of potential candidates.

Don’t be disheartened, we're here to your rescue! Be prepared with the interview questions, know what the interviewer is looking for, and most importantly, know your own strengths and weaknesses.

We're listing eight possible candidate red flags in this article so that you know about them, and do your best to steer clear of them during your interviews to get the offer you've been dreaming of.

8 Red Flags To Avoid When You Are Attending An Interview

If you cram your mind with too many do's and don'ts, you're bound to get confused and mess up many of them. But practice makes perfect, and practising for an interview by keeping the following red flags in mind will definitely ensure you ace the interview, and secure the job you've been aiming for.

1) Not adhering to the allotted time

The quote “first impression is the last impression” is all too true when it comes to creating a good impression on your interviewers. The first and foremost thing to keep in mind is to arrive on time. 

Not being punctual is hugely looked down upon, and can be one of the primary reasons why you fail to move beyond the very first interview round. Arrive earlier if you can, so that you get time to calm your nerves and maybe fix your appearance. 

Thus, in order to avoid messing up your chances at an interview, it's advisable to leave for the destination with an hour or two to spare so that even if a traffic jam decides to "surprise" you, you have ample time on hand to not be late for your interview. 

2) Inadequately dressed for the interview

A job is not given to you based solely on the answers you give during an interview. Your entire presentation plays a huge role in determining if you're successful or not. With that being said, paying attention to your wardrobe is highly recommended. A candidate dressed appropriately stands a better chance at the interview, than one who looks like they're shopping at the local grocery mart.

Moreover, giving off an air of someone who's put-together (you've got everything under control!) is extremely important. Even if you're nervous, your interviewer doesn't need to know about it. Choose to wear something casual formal or a "power outfit", and constantly maintain a confident attitude. Show your interviewers that you're eager to make a good impression, and the first impression they'll have of you is from the way you've presented yourself. 

3) Fumbling while answering questions

It's not unbecoming if you take some time before answering a question posed by an interviewer. Rather, it's better to articulate an answer in your head before choosing to speak, than fumbling while trying to look for the right words. This may signal poor confidence and can only be resolved if you keep your cool while trying to formulate a proper answer, instead of stammering through one.

You also have the option of owning up to your lack of knowledge regarding a certain topic. Interviewers don't expect you to know everything, but they do expect honesty and responsibility. So, politely letting them know that you don't know a certain thing but are eager to learn, will actually earn you brownie points!

4) Criticising previous jobs

No workplace promotes bad mouthing and criticism, and should be strictly avoided if your aim is to succeed at the interview. But if you have to, you can try to use positive words to explain your situation. Suppose you were hired in a place that completely blocked any progress. You can frame the situation better by saying how the new job role will have more room for your growth, and you're looking forward to progressing with the new team.

5) Emphasising money as your topmost priority (they don’t need to know, even if it is!)

Money can definitely buy you happiness, but prioritising it over your contribution to a company can lead to creating a poor impression with your interviewers. Instead, you must state having a clear objective of being a valuable asset to the company, as well as contributing to its progress and growth. If an interviewer doesn't observe any sign of interest apart from the salary and the benefits offered, they're bound to put you aside from the list of eligible candidates.

6) Unacceptable and/or overcompensating behaviour

If any hint of rudeness or inappropriate behaviour is detected, you can consider it a given that you stand no chance of seizing that job opportunity. An interviewer will also see through a candidate who is appearing to be overly enthusiastic. Such behaviour will definitely not be constant throughout their tenure with the company, and will definitely be considered overcompensating. Don’t be too eager to please, but don't try to act too much of a smarty-pants either. Just be polite and professional, and everything will fall into place. 

7) Not having any questions

As extensive as your research was, it's impossible for you to emerge from an interview with zero questions. An employer will be looking forward to any enquiries that you have, and when you fail to ask any, the immediate impression that follows is that it may be an indication of your inability to grasp the purpose of the interview, or even a lack of interest in the job.

Make a list of questions when preparing for the interview that's related to your role or the company. But don't go asking the entire list of questions! Ask ones that've not been answered during the course of the interview already. Also, make sure the question(s) shows your eagerness for the job. One example of a good question is, “How do you see my role contributing to the growth of the company?”, whereas one example of a bad question is, “Is the salary negotiable?”

8) Easily distracted

If you're easily distracted by anything happening around you (please don't keep checking your phone!) or fidget constantly, the interviewer may arrive at the conclusion that your attention span is extremely low. Instead, try to focus on the conversation, and concentrate on framing your answers in the right way. Sit straight and look at the interviewer when they're speaking and also while answering. Smile, you're not at the gallows (although it might feel like that!) to show your confidence and that it's a pleasure to be in their company. 

4 Red Flags That Candidates Must Look Out For

Sitting on the opposite side of the table doesn't make anybody perfect. As a potential candidate for a company, you must be aware of a few red flags that your interviewer may exhibit, which, if ignored, can prove to be a tenure in hell because bad jobs can suck the life out of you, and negatively impact your mental health!

1) Inadequate information regarding the job role

If you've applied for a position at a company, you deserve to know the details about the role for which you will take up the responsibility. If the interviewer keeps on beating around the bush and avoids any specific details regarding the particular job, you must give it a second (or even third) thought, in order to decide whether such uncertainty is worth it.

2) Conversation bordering on gossip

Sitting for an interview is an extremely formal setting. While you're not allowed to speak ill about your former job, it's very unbecoming of the interviewer if they happen to do the same. If they bad mouth any employee or the company itself, it's a major red flag indicating an extremely toxic atmosphere.

3) Asking highly inappropriate questions

Just because you've chosen to be a part of the professional space of a company, they have absolutely no right to probe deep into your personal life. If any question seems a little too personal (for e.g.: "Do you have kids/planning on having kids?"), you must protest at once. An interview should clearly be in line with the requirements of the company and the job you've applied for. Our suggestion? If an interviewer tries to get too up close and personal, run and don’t look back!

4) Failing to review your application

It's quite strange if an interviewer doesn't even glance at your application in order to know your name at least. But, don't let this ruffle your confidence. Use their ignorance to your advantage, and discuss things that'll highlight your skills for the job role. However, if they still seem reluctant to discuss your achievements or background and don't bother to get to know you at all, there's definitely something fishy. Maybe they already have someone in mind for the post, and the interview is just a formality? You never know! Just don't get your hopes too high if you face something like this at an interview.

Ace That Interview!

Getting your dream job isn’t all that difficult. Because, as we said, it’s not always about just skills, knowledge, education, and experience. You can beat the competition and ace the interview with flying colours by steering clear of the eight red flags mentioned in this article.

Read more: 29 Most Common Interview Questions for Your Next Interview

Also, ensure that you seize only the best opportunities and not get sucked into a toxic workplace, by keeping in mind the four red flags to watch out for while you're seated opposite the interviewers/hiring manager.

So, what are you waiting for? Apply for that dream job of yours and impress your interviewers. It’s only a matter of time till that offer letter will have your name printed on it, good luck!

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