Red Flags To Watch For in an Interview and How to Gracefully Turn Down a Job

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Interviewing for a job is sort of like going on a date. Both parties are trying to see if they’d mesh well with one another, there are plenty of questions getting volleyed back and forth, and, ultimately, you’ll either join forces or part ways for good. In other words, it can be a minefield to navigate and make sure you get right. Also like dating, it’s very much a decision that both parties need to be in agreement on. While it’s crucial that a potential hire is a good fit for the position, it’s equally as crucial that the job is a good fit for the hire. So, how do you know if a job is going to be a good fit and how do you decipher the red flags from the green? We’ve got you covered.

1Red Flag #1: They’re Being Flakey or Not Responding

There’s a famous Maya Angelou quote that says, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” That couldn’t be more true for a prospective boss conducting interviews with you. If they or the hiring manager are “showing up late, not apologizing, rescheduling your call constantly — and this is at a time when they need to impress you — what does that say about how this person is going to treat you when you show up and start working for them?” Gorick Ng, Harvard career adviser and author of The Unspoken Rules tells Grow

2Red Flag #2: Most of the Reviews About Working at the Company Are Negative

Abby Kohut, author of Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets: A Corporate Recruiter Hands You the Keys to Your Job Search Success advised LearnVest readers “to read press releases and news stories for reliable insight” and ask themselves if the company has “ever been the subject of controversy? Did the organization ever have to defend its actions?” Research and information can be your best resource here so don’t hesitate to do some digging on your own if something seems fishy.

3Red Flag #3: The Job Description Doesn’t Match What You Were Told in Interviews

While there are plenty of jobs that don’t adhere to a strict or rigid description to encompass all that they do, hearing inconsistent descriptions of what you’d be doing day to day and that your prospective boss “can’t clearly define the duties of your job” is a major no-no, says Fast Company. In fact, they say, if the future boss can’t define “the duties of the job so broadly that it sounds like two or three jobs in one” and/or “you feel that they’re a little vague on important details regarding the scope of the job as it relates to the rest of the company,” they suggest you run for the hills.

How to Gracefully Turn Down a Job Offer 

To gracefully turn down a job interview, the best advice is to keep it short, simple, and sweet. Thank whomever it is you’ve been speaking with for their time and patience before offering a quick line on why you’re not accepting the offer (ex. “I don’t think this would be the best fit for me at this time.”). There’s no need to go in-depth any further. Lastly, don’t wait to tell the company: If you know immediately that you won’t be accepting, send the email or make the call ASAP. 

Don’t be Afraid to Cut and Run

Knowing what red flags to look out for and turning down a job offer that isn’t right for you can save you so much trouble and headache in the long run. While it can feel sad to realize a job wasn’t right for you, just remember that simply going through an interview process is a win — and it’s good practice, too!  

Tags: Career, employment, Self Confidence

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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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