5 Red Flags You Shouldn’t Ignore During Your Onsite Interview
While onsite interviews can certainly be nerve-wracking, it’s important to keep in mind that the onsite is just as much a chance for you to interview your potential new employer as it is about them grilling you. As it may be the longest amount of time you’ll spend with the team before getting to the offer stage, observing your interviewer and the company dynamics while you’re in the office should be a key priority when you head for your onsite. As you make these observations, keep in mind these 5 red flags that might alert you to something being off—with the role, the team, or even the larger company.
1. They can’t answer questions about growth opportunities
Nearly every company will claim that people are their biggest asset—but that goes far beyond simply paying wages each month. Rather, you should push every company you interview with for more details on how they help employees grow—from stipends for training programs to upward potential within the team you’re interviewing with or lateral moves to other business units. If your interviewer can’t answer, this could be indicative of deeper issues, so it’s worth probing further to ascertain whether your strengths will be appreciated and rewarded accordingly after joining.
2. You aren’t invited to meet the rest of the team
Sure, it’s probably not a good move to demand to meet a team of 40 before starting—but you should expect to at least meet the key people you’ll be working with during the interview process. It’s understandable that teams (and particularly managers) are always busy, but making the right hires should be a top priority for any backlogged team, and arrangements should be make appropriately.
3. They get uncomfortable talking about money
If you have questions about compensation (either before or during the onsite), you interviewer should at least be open to having a conversation about it. While they might not know the exact answer(s), the appropriate response would generally be to offer to refer you to the right person. If they get cagey, however, this might indicate that they’re knowingly offering a lower-than-market salary for the role, or even that the company culture is unconducive to transparent conversations around compensation.
4. The expectations and responsibilities or the role change during the interview process (or aren’t clear to begin with)
While it can be easy to chalk up uncertainty during the interview process to rapid scaling (and thus pace of change), it’s still more than fair for you to expect a clear outline of the responsibilities of your potential role, as well as an idea of what “great” looks like and how it will be measured. Don’t confuse lack of clarity with an opportunity to wear many hats: While the former indicates that the team doesn’t actually know what they need, the latter is a true opportunity with known measures to indicate whether you’re succeeding in the role.
5. They’re rude or dismissive during the interview
Lastly, blatant rudeness is one of the most obvious causes for concern during an interview. Regardless of how competitive the role, interviewers should show respect to every candidate, as one of them will, in theory, eventually be on their team. Even if they’ve made up their mind that they won’t hire you, word-of-mouth is a powerful recruiting tactic which can backfire from a single negative interview experience—so interviewers would be foolish to abuse their power just because you’re an interviewee. Whether an interviewer is being rude because that’s his/her personality or they’re simply trying to intimidate you, such behavior can be indicative of deeper cultural issues that have gone unaddressed—so don’t let it go unnoticed.