Interviewing for a job is an overwhelmingly nerve-wracking experience for even the most confident people. You do your homework, pick out an outfit, and rehearse your strengths and weaknesses for hours on end only to meet total strangers in a position of power and be judged by a single conversation.

But out of fear of coming off as unfit for the desired company, we can forget a job interview is a two-way street. Just as employers deem whether candidates are a match for them, it's equally necessary for applicants to see whether the organization is in line with their goals and values. Sometimes, the interviewer may make an offensive comment or give out a downtrodden vibe of the office, and our intuition tells us to quickly run the other way.

"What are subtle red flags at a job interview that say, 'Working here would suck'?" asked one user over on Reddit and inspired thousands of people to chime in with their stories. From phrases like "fast-paced environment" to promises to be a part of their close family, people revealed warning signs to be on the lookout for. Below, you’ll find some of the most illuminating responses from the thread, so be sure to upvote the ones you agree with most. And if you know any additional indicators of hostile and toxic work environments, let us know all about them in the comments right below.

Psst! If you’re interested in even more job-interview madness, check out Bored Panda’s earlier piece right over here.

#1

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job 'we're a christian company'

if they say that... f*****g run. end the interview as fast and possible and f*****g run.

they're going to overwork you, underpay you, short you on benefits, and f**k you over at the first sign of trouble, but the owners will show up daily, driving their $150k cars that they paid cash for, so they can sit in their office and do f**k-all for a few hours and then leave so they can go yell at the contractors remodeling their houses for the fifth time in six years.

buttery_shame_cave , Pixabay Report

Dave
Community Member
2 months ago

Whenever somebody invokes god or their religion in order to give themselves credibility, I know I am talking to the vilest, obnoxious, backstabbing piece of s**t.

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#2

"Must be a self-starter" = We won't train you.

"Fast-paced environment" = We will overwork you.

"Must be able to multitask" = We fired three people and want you to do all their jobs.

captainmagictrousers Report

John Smith
Community Member
2 months ago

Right person could get quick promotion = Kiss the right a*s and we may give you a pay rise. Maybe.

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#3

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job When the mournful eyed Filipina janitor bumps into you as you walk towards the restroom, slipping into your pocket a hastily scrawled note that says "you leave, is no good for you here".

anon , Oliver Hale Report

Random Anon
Community Member
2 months ago

If that ain't a sign to hightail it outta there, I don't know what is.

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#4

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job I once interviewed for a company that said they'll be holding onto my passport and my university degrees as long as I work there.

While I had heard of such instances, I also knew it's against the law.

tiinn , Porapak Apichodilok Report

SheamusFan1987
Community Member
2 months ago

That's illegal. No one should hold on to your personal ID and qualification papers. Just NOPE and report them after you walk out.

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#5

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job While waiting in the lobby for my interviewer to come out, a man flung the work area door open as he was screaming and literally sobbing about the place being worse than hell. It was like a red flag factory exploded in my face.

lorinisapirate Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
2 months ago

Nope. Nope. Nope! Run far, run fast!

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#6

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job Not subtle at all - I went for an interview for a job that I was already doing with 5 years experience, with excellent reviews and even a recommendation from my current employer. It was a panel interview and as soon as I walked in one of the interviewers walked out to the parking lot. He comes back and goes "how do you plan to work this job with two kids still in car seats?" I told him he was asking an illegal question and was being straight up sexist and inappropriate. I knew right then that I wasn't taking the job.

anon , Ketut Subiyanto Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Kudos for pointing that out and letting him know that such attitudes are not okay!

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#7

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job One place my wife interviewed asked her if she had any kids or planned on getting pregnant soon.

Both questions are illegal to ask during an interview.

Redsox933 , Pixabay Report

Iifa A.
Community Member
2 months ago

I got told at 27 why am I applying for a job that requires to be on call and 50-60hrs hands on work. I should be thinking of kids and finding myself a good man. Oh I answered in very detailed description.of.multiple miscarriages I have had, with blood transfusion and how my partner and I made a choice not to take any risks to my life. Then I left and reported him, while walking out I loudly complained on the phone every detail. Pretty sure by the time I left premises everyone knew what an a*****e SHE was. She looked younger than me, why was she there.

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#8

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job I had an interview where the guy said "we - we work hard here. I'd like to say we play hard, too, but.. we work hard here".

Then, later on when I asked about what happened to the predecessor "he left. Unfortunately, he took on a little too much, became unhappy and left. He's taking some time off before he decides whether he wants to stay in IT or not."

So you overworked a guy to the point where he decided he needed a new career?

renegadecanuck , Lukas Report

Circa
Community Member
2 months ago

If an employer said they "play hard", I would be put off working there. Don't want a partying culture at work.

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#9

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job Had an interview with a store owner once when I was in high school. Guy threw a pad of paper across the table at me and told me to list out my values.

The values of an 18 year-old. Applying for a job as a cashier at a sporting goods store. Uhhh, what?

Jotted some stuff down and he then proceeded to tell me why all my values were wrong.

"Family is great, but God is greater. God should be top of your list."

"School is only good if you get to work in your field."

"Work ethic? I'm just going to assume you don't know what that is."

"You definitely don't know what love is, so don't list your girlfriend anywhere in your values."

He then told me that I'd be less than minimum wage as a Trainee for as long as he saw fit to call me that and how that was completely and totally legit.

Promptly Noped the f**k outta there.

Aramil03 , Tima Miroshnichenko Report

KJ
Community Member
2 months ago

That interviewer sounds like a total wanker.

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#10

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job If they say, "It's like a family here", they mean "the drama is unbelievable and yes, it gets very personal".

vengeance_pigeon , krakenimages Report

SkekVi
Community Member
2 months ago

'it's like a family here' translation: we are anti-union and culty about it.

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#11

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job Applied for a Guitar Tech job at guitar center. Went through three levels of interviews. Right during the last one, this f*****g dude, goes through all my paperwork and is like "you got the job, we're gonna start you off in sales." And I was like "I didn't apply for sales, I've interviewed the last three weeks for the Guitar Tech position." An he just said, "I know." And had this sh*tty stupid smile on his dumb face. And that's when I realized, they probably don't care for their employees there.

willislol , Méline Waxx Report

Guido Pisano
Community Member
2 months ago

I had an enterview for java developer, and when interview was almost over they told me that job position was for credit recovery. When I realized I stood up and went away...

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#12

I had an interview at a popularly known coffee shop that is orange, pink and brown.

I have a Engineering degree but couldn't find work in my area (it's a poor town and it's hard enough to find work without a degree).

The manger asked some of the following?

"Why don't you have an engineering job yet?" "Something must be wrong with you."

I explained the market and how a lot do my friend still didn't have jobs (which was true). I said I'd had a lot of interviews but nothing had resulted in an offer (which was also true).

"Well I think something is wrong with you and you are hiding it."

Well thanks...



She then proceeds to tell me if I have any form of anxiety I can't work there as I won't be able to complete my duties so to fess up. (I do have anxiety but 1.)I don't have to disclose that s**t and 2.)it's very very mild and I know it wouldn't impede me).

Lastly she tells me how she is going to be firing everyone that works there over the next month because they all suck.


She offered me the job, I accepted at the moment and was supposed to go in the next day to fill out my paperwork. I went home and stressed about how I knew I would be miserable there and what to do. I decided to decline it as my health and wellbeing were more important than this job. I sent a very nice email stating that it wasn't the right fit for me at the moment.

The next morning I received an offer from an Engineering company I interview at earlier in the week.


Apparently she still complains about how I decided to decline the job....

mcguik3 Report

SkekVi
Community Member
2 months ago

this place has the WORST interviewers i swear. Had a similarly horrific interview experience with them once....

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#13

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job If to move forward in the hiring process you have to pay them for anything

OkaySeriouslyBro , Karolina Grabowska Report

SheamusFan1987
Community Member
2 months ago

In that case: HELL NAH!!!

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#14

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job I've only had a couple bad job experiences when I was younger and they both had one thing in common: They made me wait for 15+ minutes to start after the scheduled interview time.

If they don't respect you and your time before you start, they definitely won't respect you when you're working there.

Now that I've been on the other side and interview people, I would never even think of doing that, no matter how busy I am. I also personally call every employee I don't hire, explain why they weren't the perfect fit, and try to give them some positive encouragement going forward.

BOTTOM LINE: Just because you are the one looking for a job, doesn't mean that the potential employer shouldn't be courteous and treat you just as well as they treat a client/customer.

EDIT: Call back only people I've interviewed, not anyone who has ever sent a resume in.

anon , Edmond Dantès Report

John Smith
Community Member
2 months ago

Once got screwed around by a company during an interview. I turned up 10 mins early for the interview. No-one knew why I was there. An hour later they found the guy that had invited me in. He had forgotten to put it in the diary, then gone to the dentist. When he turned up, about 2 hours after the interview was supposed to be. He handed me a handful of papers, saying "do this test and get it back to us". I let him have it both barrels, dropped the papers in the bin and walked out. Since then I have had recruiters constantly trying to send me to the same company as they are almost always recruiting due to not being able to hold onto staff.

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#15

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job Baker here, on my first day I was given a potted tree, I was told to plant it, if I was still baking when it got big enough to hang myself off, I should, because this is not the job you want for the rest of your life.

Jacob-Black , Vaibhav Jadhav Report

Chan Heng Li (Zhonghuass)
Community Member
2 months ago

That went dark fast.

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#16

I told this tale, just the other day in response to a different question so, enjoy your duplicate post.

A company emailed me that they found my resume on Monster and were very interested in meeting to discuss an opportunity in their office and would I be available this Thursday at 10 am to meet with Scott?

Absolutely!

So, I show up at 10am. A girl rides up the elevator with me and gets off at the same floor. We both walked into the same door. The receptionist greeted us and the girl said, "I'm here to meet with Scott."

I thought, "Well, that's a little weird but, maybe she's super early."

The receptionist looks at me and, I said, "I'm also hear to meet with Scott. I have a 10am."

She escorted us to this conference room where I see 30 other people. Now my alarms are starting to go off. She tells us to find seats and watch the presentation. Scott will be in shortly.

So, sitting there in silence for 15 minutes before I finally lean over to the girl and ask, "What job are you interviewing for?"

She answered, "I'm... I'm not entirely certain."

I asked, "Well, what's on your resume? What job did you think you were being offered?"

She answered, "I'm a mechanical engineer. You?"

"I'm a software developer."

So, another 5 minutes goes by when Scott walks into the room. He's super excited to see us and this presentation will take about an hour. He's asking people their names and making an effort to use their names whenever possible as he's handing out copies of the power point slides. Tells us that we can take notes.

I start flipping through the slide deck and notice right away that all the slides are either blank or otherwise devoid of content. They might have a title on them but, the title is just words. No explanation whatsoever. Things like, 'Company History' and 'Compensation' but otherwise empty.

He tells us that there will be time after the presentation to ask questions but, in order to get done before lunch, he requests that all questions are held to the end of the presentation.

"Scott," I said, "I do have a quick question before we get started."

"There will be plenty of time after the presentation for all questions."

"Scott, I promise that this question will be quick and very relevant. Are all the positions available commissioned insurance sales?"

"Well, we are an insurance company."

"That's not what I asked, Scott. Are all the positions available commissioned insurance sales?"

"Well, yes."

I stood up and gathered up my resume and folder and said, "Thanks for wasting my time, Scott." And, I walked toward the door.

Scott rushed to beat me to the door and opened the side closest to me causing me to pause briefly. As I did, I heard a great deal of grumbling and paper shuffling behind me. I turned to look and literally everybody in the room except for 4 dudes in three-piece suits at the front of the room had stood up at their tables and were putting their s**t in their briefcases and notebooks.

I exited quickly enough that I got the elevator to myself but, looking back on it, I should have waited because I definitely want to know what their elevator conversation was.

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SkekVi
Community Member
2 months ago

THIS EXACT THING HAPPENED TO ME OMG!!!! was is the duck. it was the duck wasn't it.

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#17

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job They wanted me to explain my tardiness stats from high school.

I'm in my thirties.

Blinkskij , Marius Mann Report

Kate Jones
Community Member
2 months ago

How did they even get them? And why the hell would they care?

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#18

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job One that I've experienced- they asked me to start immediately.

"When can you start"?

"Tomorrow!"

"How about right now, we're way behind." *Thanks for joining the crew of the Titanic! Watch your step, she's listing about twenty degrees to starboard, but a finer luxury liner has never sailed the seas.*

GreenStrong , Mimi Thian Report

DennyS (denzoren)
Community Member
2 months ago

Oh yeah, I've had this one. Lol. The agency sent me over for the interview, interviewed at 9am, was asked to start at 10am, opted to start the next day. It was my first real job so I was excited. It was a bit hellish but I met some good people (still really good friends) who were also on the sinking ship lol

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#19

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job When they mention the high turnover rate several times during the interview.

anon , Van Tay Media Report

Random Anon
Community Member
2 months ago (edited)

Gun, meet foot.

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#20

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job Been through man job interviews, a few I've seen

* A "hostile" interview in which the interviewer deliberately acts difficult and challenging to see how you behave under pressure. If they're willing to treat you like s**t during the interview, they're willing to treat you like s**t at work.
* Never interviewing with your future boss. It's okay for early interviews to be screenings with HR, but at some point you should talk to people you're going to working with; a failure here indicates that they aren't investing much in you, and don't expect you to stick around very long.
* Vagueness in describing the job. If they can't tell you what your day-to-day is like, you probably won't like it.

The interview process with my current job, which I love, went like this:

1. Got a call from HR to set up a phone interview
2. Phone interview was with one of the two managers who run the department I would be working in (though not the manager I would be working for)
3. In person interviews with:

* The manger I would be working for
* His boss
* Managers of two different departments that I would be working closely with
* HR manager
* Going out to lunch with the team I would be joining

So, if you have an employer that does that...it's a good sign.

Notmiefault , Yan Krukov Report

badger
Community Member
2 months ago

that would be a red flag for me - too many interviews, terrible decision-making processes.

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#21

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job If you can you assess the coffee situation while moving through the office for interview.. Powdered creamer? Run. Liquid creamer in numerous flavors? Work there till death or retirement.

2ftUSBcable , Fallon Michael Report

Garry Cowan
Community Member
2 months ago

Aye judging a job by the refreshments sounds like a great idea...NOT

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#22

If they say that over time is expected. That just means they are under staffed and you will be putting a lot many hours you are not getting paid for.

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Jill Bussey
Community Member
2 months ago

I took a company to court over unpaid weekend work. I won.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#23

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job Hostile interviewers. I had an interview years ago, where they had a good cop, bad cop routine going. The good cop asked me about my hobbies, and seemed interested. The bad cop, scuffed and rolled his eyes.

anon , Anna Shvets Report

pink_panda
Community Member
2 months ago

Ugh. I'm not a game player. This just sounds manipulative.

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#24

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job Anything that implies that you'll be doing sales/cold calling. I once applied for a "Marketing Strategist" position that required a degree and slowly figured out that I would be cold calling people to sell them stuff they probably didn't want. Sorry but unless you're basically a sociopath, sales/cold-calling is an absolutely awful, soul crushing and highly stressful line of work that very few people can be successful in.

Be wary of vague job titles involving Marketing. Marketing offices are usually in nicer buildings as well, and not strip malls in an industrial park.

Protodeus , Scott Graham Report

SkekVi
Community Member
2 months ago

cold-calling even if you AREN'T selling things is soul-destroying. Never work in a job where you're the 'Bad Guy', you'll regret it or you'll lose your humanity.

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#25

When the person interviewing you is the person whose job you'll be taking, and they're quitting because the job sucks.

This comment is oddly specific, but I'm currently interviewing candidates to take over my job. It's a real ethical dilemma, encouraging someone to take the job I'm leaving due to dissatisfaction, but I tell myself that they may enjoy it better than I have.

anon Report

Circa
Community Member
2 months ago

Not necessarily. Might be retiring, getting a promotion, moving to a different city, etc

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#26

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job Group interviews. Seriously what a dumb idea. I think Walmart and a few others do this

Tassimo1 , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Nancy Collins
Community Member
2 months ago

For a split second I thought they were talking about panel interviews and was like, "Oh, but that's quite normal!" In case anyone else had that moment of confusion: Group interview: Multiple people being interviewed at once; for sure a red flag. Panel interview: Multiple people taking turns asking questions; intimidating, but not a red flag

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#27

When they ask you to stand up and do a slow turn for them, then tell you you're only allowed to wear short shorts. (Was not for a strip club).

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DennyS (denzoren)
Community Member
2 months ago

What in the actual f......

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#28

If interviewing with a large corp and you notice the office flooring/cubes/desks all look old and worn.

If it is a large corporation they normally can afford to update the carpet once in awhile. The fact they do not bother shows that management is too cheap to care about the environment they provide to their employees.

If your management does not care about the how the carpet/cube/desk in your work environment they sure as hell are not going to value you.

anon Report

Mtownmick
Community Member
2 months ago

Small business consultant here. If I walk into a company and all of the furniture is forty years old, so was the success of the company.

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#29

They mention their employees must wear "many hats".

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M. William Bell
Community Member
2 months ago

I think one is highly dependent on the role. Many of us actively seek out roles where one can wear many hats. I often find myself working in startups and other small businesses that require someone to be adept in many different areas. In time, we will hire for all the roles, but in the early days, you simply can’t have that many bodies on payroll. Taking these rolls allows me to continue to grow my skill set, shape the direction of a fledgling business and, in some cases, either become and early investor in businesses that I see potential in, or I can negotiate a stock grants or options in exchange for other considerations on my end. For context, I’m not a business guru or an MBA. I’m a 40 year old high school dropout with a strong work ethic and a desire to learn (and no, the irony of that last sentence is not lost on me).

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#30

30 People Share Subtle Red Flags During A Job Interview That Indicate You Shouldn’t Take The Job I once interviewed with a company and they had a paper that showed the breakdown of how all the shifts reported. It was basically a flowchart with names... And start dates for their employment. Only one name had been there longer than a year.

Edit:

Also, this job was for a company (in the DC area) that makes RAM. I was interviewing to be an electronics technician responsible for the robots that handle the semiconductor material while it is in the clean room.
Edit 2: The name that had seniority there had a start date in 1998, and my interview was 2011.

Clickum245 , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Novel Idesa
Community Member
2 months ago

This is why I always ask an interviewer what the turnover rate for the position is. You can tell a lot by their response to that question. Sometimes they're straightforward about a high turnover, which is a red flag, but even worse is when they're cagey about it. If it throws them off, or they get defensive or stumble trying to come up with a lie, get out of there.

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