On January 9, Reddit user u/pbourree asked fellow Redditors who are part of the r/AskReddit Community, “What are subtle red flags at a job interview that say “working here would suck?” In an instant, the Reddit thread went quickly viral and as of January 19, has over 22,400 responses.
Now, with all of that information being said, let’s take a look the following 15 Stories of People Sharing The Subtle Red Flags at a Job Interview that Say “Working Here Would Suck”:
1. Job Red Flags Story #1 – Will You Work For Free on the Weekends?:
“Once an interviewer straight up asked me if I had any trouble working for free on weekends… I told them my free time is more valuable than anything and that the only way that I would work a weekend is if they are paying me and if I felt like working a weekend. She got really mad at me and ended the interview right away.
Biggest red flag I’ve ever seen because they didn’t even try to hide it.”
2. Job Red Flags Story #2 – Toxic Work Environment At The Company:
“I have a great one here.
I was interviewing furiously for Senior Software Engineer position. I cracked 4 interviews and had 4 offers. Literally the least attractive company was an outsourcing firm that mostly just took fintech projects. They knew that I had other offers and yet, their great strategy of getting me to join them was… not kidding… condescension.
The recruiter (HR) constantly kept telling me AFTER he told me that I had cleared the interview that I was good but not THAT good and so they would only give me Engineer (not Senior even though I had the experience) and would give me less than what I was making then. (I didnt tell them how much I was making and he couldnt ask me by law, so he guesstimated and lowballed me on his guesstimate🤬) and if I joined them, their senior engineers would help me become better. 🙄
When I spoke to the engineers during the interview, they were avoiding talking about the company and the culture like the plague. The entire office looked scared and like a 1960s ad agency.
Obviously I told the recruiter I am taking another offer, to which he says.. do that after you talk to our CEO. I was like why? I am not joining and he is like no, you should still talk to the CEO. I was travelling and I had already said yes to another offer. So, they keep pestering me until I agree to schedule a call with the CEO who turned out to be a whole new character. This guy said “so my recruiter tells me you have another offer from <company1> and <mispronounced_company2> and you are taking <mispronounced_company2> but we know we are better than <mispronounced_company2> because like who has even heard of them? 😲 (A lot of people have heard of them, it was a famous mid-level startup)
Then he goes, “I look at your profile and you’ve only worked at big companies so like joining <mispronounced_company2> is a startup and so people would think you went there because you couldnt find any other job”. (Not kidding, he said this even though like nobody has heard of HIS company).
Then he goes, see I looked at interview notes and you’re a “great candidate for improvement” and we can make you a world class programmer and thats why you should join us (even though they were offering less than what I was making, let alone a bump).
I said no, thank you, as politely as I could. Then I called up the third party recruiter who had arranged my interview with these guys and I yelled at him for 30 mins. And he is like, I hear you, but like no other company would make you talk to their CEO so despite all the 10,000 red flags, you should consider joining them. I was like dude, are u like insane?
Anyways, none of them could take NO or maybe they had never heard NO from a woman? I don’t fully know what their deal was, but later on I went to their glassdoor reviews just out of curiosity after dodging about 10 more calls from their recruiter and lo and behold… the first review said the company was a nightmare to work at. The top-down culture is that every senior engineer thinks they are God’s gift to earth, they are a white-male-heavy company where racist and misogynist jokes abound and the person who wrote this review was a man who left in like 6 months of joining because they would tease him for not participating in racist jokes.
PS: I am a brown woman with a tier-1 engineering degree and only big companies on my resume so my best guess was that they were hounding me crazy because they wanted a diversity hire as a way to damage control their image.
So now, Pro Tip: Always read Glassdoor reviews for red flags at least before interviewing.”
3. Job Red Flags Story #3 – The Lack of A Written Job Offer:
“When they try to push you to accept a verbal offer without sending a written one. In college, I was always told to wait until you have the written offer to accept a job. If they don’t have a written offer, it could imply the company is not very organized or may not be very professional. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad company or you should decline the job, it’s just a red flag.”
4. Job Red Flags Story #4 – The Illegal Interview Questions Asked Before or After The Actual Job Interview:
“When they ask you illegal interview questions under the guise of polite chitchat before or after the formal interview.”
5. Job Red Flags Story #5 – The Questions About My Romantic Life:
“Interviewed for a racing stable as a groom when I was about 20. The owner interrupted the interview to ask me if I was single because he wanted me to travel with the horses and presumably him. I wanted that job so badly, but when they called and offered it to me, they reiterated that I was only able to keep the job until I got engaged or married. My parents were like “oh hell no”. So, I missed out on a potentially amazing job, but in retrospect, it was damn creepy.”
6. Job Red Flags Story #6 – How Soon This Reddit User Was Offered The Job After The Interview:
“I was offered a position 20 minutes after the interview. No background check, no nothing. We negotiated my pay over the phone. The reviews on Glassdoor were miserable. Massive red flags but I was fresh out of law school and desperate at the time. I was laid off due to covid and am much happier now.”
7. Job Red Flags Story #7 – Asking About The Company’s Horrible Glassdoor Reviews:
“I brought up a company’s awful Glassdoor reviews and they got so mad they ended the interview. Well. Guess I dodged that bullet.”
8. Job Red Flags Story #8 – Having To Complete Multiple Online Assessments are Major Red Flags:
“Online skill assessments prior to interviews are a big clue. Online personality assessments prior to interviews are another one. If they’re using those to do the initial screening then I want no part of that place.”
9. Job Red Flags Story #9 – One of The Questions That The Interviewer Asked:
“”Do you have a strong personality?” meant everyone else who worked there were raging c***s who I literally got into massive shouting matches with and quit over within 6 months of having started. The money was good but no ty.
10. Job Red Flags Story #10 – The One About How To Identify The Red Flags During a Job Interview:
“They dodge questions on pay, meaning they don’t pay enough for what they expect of you.
The word “Family” in reference to the employees. Means they want you to work lots of unpaid overtime.
EDIT: Also forgot, but if they keep talking about the “experience” you’ll gain, that’s also code for “We know we’re going to be underpaying you.””
11. Job Red Flags Story #11 – The Manager Wanted To See How Much She Could Get Away With Violating Child Labor Laws:
“I went to interview for a job at a grocery store when I was 14. During the interview, the lady casually remarked that she could put me in the meat department. I asked her if that meant I would be cutting the meat. She said that I would be primarily packaging and labeling but that cutting meat was considered part of the job description for that department and that I might be asked to fill in on that duty from time to time. To this day, I swear that was a test to see how much I knew about child labor laws and how much she could get away with because when I reminded her that I was under 18 and therefore prohibited from “any activity involving slaughtering, butchering, and meat cutting,” she immediately ended the interview. I didn’t get the job.”
12. Job Red Flags Story #12 – What “We Work Hard and We Play Hard” Really Means:
“”We work hard and we play hard.”
Translation: “You will work 60+ hours a week. You will be expected to work late nights and early mornings. People will treat this job like their whole life. We’ll also underpay you. It may look like a decent salary but when you back it out to hourly it’s not even remotely competitive with industry standard. But we have kegs and a ping pong table.”
Also, if everyone that interviews you has been there less than two years, it’s a sign that they can’t retain good employees.”
13. Job Red Flags Story #13 – “You’ll Be Wearing Many Hats”:
“I didn’t know it at the time, but “you’ll be wearing many hats” was a sign that they were going to give me the work of four positions and the wage of one. I didn’t last a year there before I left and now I won’t even finish reading job ads that include that line.”
14. Job Red Flags Story #14 – Two Stories in One Post About Job Red Flags:
“My interview was IN THE BATHROOM. I sat on a step stool in a dress and the employer sat on the toilet with the lid closed. They used it as a closet (and bathroom) and prepared their food next to the doorway with it open. At another job during my training I kept being asked if I was going to quit (on the first day) I was asked like 30 times, I should’ve realized it was because everyone quits because of her, but I stayed 6 months.🤦🏻♀️”
15. Job Red Flags Story #15 – The Answer To One of The Questions That This Reddit User Asked The Interviewer During The Job Interview:
“[One of the many red flags regarding job interviews] actually happened to me:
Interviewer: Do you have any questions for us?
Me: What is a challenge this department has recently faced?
Interviewer: Job security.”
Have you ever seen any of the Red Flags mentioned above while interviewing for a job? Let us know which Red Flags down below in the comments section!
Featured Image Source: https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/recruiters-job-candidate-red-flags-interview
I am currently a senior at The University of Miami. I will graduate in December 2021 with a major in Journalism and minor in Sports Administration.