5 Clues on How to Spot a Toxic Interview Process

How much do you really know about the interview process? There seems to be a lot of movement in the job force lately.  I’m receiving tons of emails from recruiters looking for talent.  I’m also getting lots of individual questions on how do I know if I should make a jump to a new workplace.  Many factors, personal, financial and emotional are in play when making a job decision.  Can you spot a toxic interviewing process? Here’s some information to think about during the interview process to assist in figuring out your next step.

1. Who and How Many are in the Interview Process

Have you met so many people that you feel this is hire by committee?  Just figuring out how many thank you notes to write feels like an uphill battle (yes, you still need to write notes).  Have you met so few people that you are not sure how many people actually work in this unit or position.  Is your only connection the person interviewing you.  This is a key indicator of how “team” operates in this environment.  Look carefully for clues about group process.

2.  Drama Around Setting Up the Interview

How exciting, you got a call that your resume impressed and they want to take next steps!  And then the lack of process or way too much process sets in.  First an email about scheduling a call.  Then a call about the process.  Then they have to check everyone’s calendars (don’t they know about calendaring apps) to arrange a phone interview.  And finally there is confusion if you should call them, how many people will be on the phone and how big is the funnel they are actually filling to get to a short candidate slateMaybe on-boarding will be a better process.  Maybe not. 

3.  They Talk at You

Throughout the entire interview they are “over-explaining” relationships and work products.  Thrown in are comments disparaging others in the company and why this position is needed.  You are 20 minutes in and still have not been asked one question.  Get the picture of the management style.   Run away quickly.

4.  Over Eager to Have You Start

Your availability is a bigger topic of conversation than your skill set.  It seems that hiring is the metric, not propensity for success and culture fit.  They don’t seem interested in leaving your current employ in good stead, they want you to start now.  In the big picture, a few weeks here and a month there, depending on the position will have minimal impact.  Why is your start date, not the resources, on-boarding and timing of what works for you as well as the company at the heart of the discussion?

5. Job Description and Reporting Line is Murky

After several conversations, the details of what you will be doing and who you be working for are still unclear.  You have done your best to understand the organizational chart, team structure and culture.  You realize there are a lot of statements about working out the details, people who need to be informed and figuring out exactly where you will be stationed.  While in start-up mode, this may be acceptable, be honest with yourself about the questions that are not directly answered.

What’s Next:

Remember, the interview process is like dating.  It’s a chance to see how you fit together and if you believe you will be better together or separate.  Note: What can be acceptable process during start-up phase, should not be confused with on-going process.  While every situation will not be black and white, make sure to take a deep look at the gray and see if it is a color you can live with on a day to day basis.  

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