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Survey Reveals Job Interview Red Flags – Gere’s What a Recruiter Thinks

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A new survey has revealed the “red flags” that interviewees look out for when job hunting. The survey, which was conducted in January 2024, revealed that 37% of job seekers had experienced a negative job interview.

Considering the figures, Moneypenny spoke to Rik Mistry, managing partner and expert at Interval Group and Ronnie Morris, VP Of Data, Software and AI and recruitment consultant at GR4, to discuss how prevalent these red flags are in the UK job seeking market and some top tips for how to deal with them, should they arise.

The top 10 red flags

Reason

Those who consider it to be a red flag

Not disclosing salary

38%

Constantly rescheduling the interview

25%

Too many personal and/ or irrelevant questions

25%

Interviewer disrespecting co-workers

23%

The job role sounds different to what was initially advertised

18%

Not answering your questions correctly (brushing around the subject)

18%

Interviewer seems unprepared

17%

If the company has a high staff turnover

14%

Being told overtime is mandatory or at least, you’ll be expected to work overtime

12%

The biggest red flag, with 38% of respondents agreeing so, was the salary not being disclosed in an interview. Rik said that not disclosing a salary is only acceptable for executive positions or freelance roles, where candidates are often given the opportunity to define their salary expectations.

He went on to say, “Don’t be afraid to ask about the salary and reasons for the lack of disclosure. Do your research, consider your current or previous roles and calculate your own salary band from the minimum you’d be happy with to what you’d be ecstatic with. Communicate when you are ready to the employer.”

Ronnie added: “The key is to be upfront with what you are looking for; include a ballpark figure to highlight the salary you would need to consider a position. If you believe you are being underpaid, I recommend looking at recent salary reports or speaking to a recruitment consultant who will be able to provide some understanding on what the average salary is for a role.”

With a quarter of respondents saying that having their interview rescheduled multiple times was a red flag, Rik said job seekers should set a ‘three-strike limit’.

“Don’t be afraid to communicate politely to the employer that this will be their last opportunity to reschedule. Most often, this is down to genuine scheduling issues (for example, interviewer sickness), but the employer should take steps to make sure this isn’t repeated.”

The survey revealed that 25% of job seekers see too many personal or irrelevant questions as a red flag; however, Rik said we might not be as concerned in the UK due to a bigger appetite for building a rapport between employers and employees.

Despite this, Rik did share some top tips on how interviewees can redirect the conversation back to relevant topics.

“This can occur if the interviewer is distracted, inexperienced or is actually testing your ability to navigate this situation. In all cases, you should remain calm and professional.”

“Deal with the questions promptly and with charm. Then, ask a question of your own that is directly linked to the job or employer. Repeat the above as often as you feel comfortable, but don’t be afraid to end the interview and/or report the situation if the questions have surpassed the boundaries of appropriateness.”

When looking to navigate potential red flag situations, Ronnie advises that “the easiest way to handle these situations is usually through clear communication, if you are working with a recruitment agency, I would highlight any concerns and they will explain to the best of their knowledge the reason behind this.

“If you are going direct to a business, I would highlight this with the internal recruiter/HR from a perspective that you wanted to understand the reasons behind the concern.”

Overall, Rik said that there are many similarities in the UK job market when it comes to red flags; however, he was surprised that only 12% said that mandatory overtime is a red flag, suggesting that it could be a cultural difference.

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