5 interview red flags

Interviewers are sometimes less than honest, so watch out for these common danger signs

We haven’t fixed the salary yet

This means one of two things. First, it’s a downright lie. No one starts recruiting without thinking about what they’re going to pay. No organisation approves a hire without talking about the budget. This interviewer is hoping candidates will be so keen that they’ll underbid themselves. Don’t sell yourself short and consider if you actually want to work for someone who’s just looking for a bargain basement employee.

The second possible meaning is that the employer has asked the recruiter to find a range of candidates, without fixing the salary, to see what people are expecting. If you are that recruiter, you should push back. You can do the research to help your client fix the pay level, that’s part of your expertise, so don’t let them persuade you to round up candidates without a salary range. It’s not just bad for the candidates, it’s bad for your brand and it’s letting the employer push you around.

We’re going to hire someone to help you

Really? Has that been approved and budgeted for? Or is it just what the interviewer hopes might happen, sometime, maybe? If they’ve created a new position for you, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to create another anytime soon. Try to find out if this is a concrete plan. If not, what targets need to be achieved to make it happen?

The salary is at the low-end of the scale, but we offer fantastic benefits

Great working conditions are, well, great, but they’re not so good if the company is cutting back on pay to provide them! Of course, it may be worth the low salary – flexible hours and family friendly policies are vital for many people. If you’re not one of those people, you may be paying a big price for something you don’t need.

We’ll let you know within the week

Now, this isn’t a red flag when your interviewer says it, but it is if you’re still waiting to hear well past the date they suggested. Why do so many employers fail to get back to candidates on time? Of course, the unexpected can happen, but why not email or phone to explain? It’s not a great start to a working relationship, if you’re left wondering if you were the second or third choice.

We’ve had to rethink this job spec, so you’ll be coming in at a lower level, and a lower salary

Maybe they’re lying, maybe they’re just incompetent. Either way, you don’t want to work for them.

Remember, at interview, you’re not the only one trying to show your best side. Your potential employer wants you to want this job, so they’re painting it and themselves in the rosiest possible light. Even if everything sounds perfect, take the time to consider it with a healthy touch of scepticism – you won’t regret it.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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