Attention Women: Red Flags to Look for During a Job Interview
Job hunting can be tedious and stressful at times, and finding one will give you a great sense of accomplishment. However, don’t wait until you’ve already accepted the position and started working to figure out that the company has a toxic culture. There are several signs you can look for during the interview process to avoid employment with the wrong company.
Watch for Inappropriate Questions
During an interview, questions come with the territory, but watch for questions that are both irrelevant as well as potentially illegal, such as inquiries about your marital status, plans for having children, or childcare arrangements. Interviews like this unfortunately happen quite frequently. According to a survey of 200 senior-level women in tech, including women holding positions at large companies such as Google and Apple, 75 percent said they have been asked questions about their marital status and family life during a job interview. In addition, 40 percent said they felt the need to speak as little as possible about their family to be taken more seriously.
If you experience an interviewer that asks you questions that aren’t relevant to your skills and capabilities, it reveals evident biases against women. For example, a hiring manager that asks if you have children or plan on having them could possibly buy into the stereotype that mothers aren’t devoted work. In this case, you may find that women are given fewer opportunities for advancement or promotions due to the toxic work culture. Questions like this in an interview may not stop there, with the survey reporting that 52 percent of women took a shorter maternity leave for fear it would have a negative impact on their career.
So, what should you do if you find yourself sitting in an interview and a question like this is asked? Start by asking why the question is relevant to the position and job role and whether this is a standard procedure, adding that you want to join a company that believes in equality. Bring it back to the positives by turning the question on its head and using it to showcase your strengths, such as strong communication skills, the ability to handle pressure, or the ability to multitask. Ultimately, you have to think about whether the questions you are being asked could be a true sign of the ethics of the employer and company, and decide if the culture is appropriate for you. What you don’t want is to feel that you’re constantly being discriminated against; not only is discrimination illegal in the workplace, but the stress of being treated disrespectfully can impact you emotionally and physically on and off the clock.
Qualities of the Interviewer
Don’t let the nervous jitters of a job interview distract you from taking notes about the hiring manager or person conducting the interview, as this could give you insight into the company culture. To start, pay attention to whether your interviewer is on time, as not respecting someone’s time is a poor business practice. If they don’t acknowledge it, consider this a red flag. As the interview progresses, keep in mind that it is common for the interviewer to talk about current roles in the department, as well as how it’s structured. However, it is never OK for them to badmouth someone who just left the company, such as the person you may be replacing, or the boss he or she works for. Speaking poorly of someone shows poor character and judgment, speaks poorly of the organization, and could be a subtle warning sign that they aren’t happy there and you won’t be either.
Another red flag to look out for could be the length of the interview itself. An interview
shouldn’t last for hours, but you don’t want to be rushed out the door after 15 minutes, either. If the interviewer seems rushed or eager to just brush you off and get on to the next interview, this could point to how the company as a whole feels about both their employees and their hiring decisions. Sitting in the hot seat during an interview isn’t the best feeling in the world, but is important that your potential employer is taking their time to identify the best fit for their company since they will be investing in you. Consider the possibility that if a company is dismissive when you are a candidate, you may not be treated well once you are hired, either.
A job interview isn’t just about showcasing your skills. It is a great time for you scope out the company and look for signs of a toxic work culture. Pay attention during your interview, and make a mental note of any red flags to determine if this will be healthy place to work.