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6 Reasons to Run From a Job Interview

6 Reasons to Run From a Job Interview

Liz Ryan | Business Week

Job seekers have issues to keep them up at night. They worry that the beautifully crafted cover letters they’re sending off won’t be read and that plum jobs will go to less deserving candidates. They worry that their résumés don’t showcase their shining accomplishments well enough to command the six-figure offers they’re hoping for. If they’re job hunting while working, they worry that a stray comment by a hiring manager or human resources screener to the wrong person will make its way back to their own boss.

These are all reasonable worries. Personally, I worry about something else—on behalf of job-seekers everywhere. I worry that they’ll tumble into The Vortex and accept a job they should have scorned.

What’s The Vortex? It’s the set of forces that overtakes a job seeker when he or she is deep into the selection process, somewhere between the first and third interviews, when the employer begins to send signals that he’s interested. The Vortex is deadly, because in the face of all that approval and positive feedback (way more, in many cases, than we get on our jobs most of the time), it’s easy to lose one’s head. It’s easy to overlook slights and red flags that should warn us away from dangerous waters. It’s easy to get sucked into The Vortex and let our brains override what our instincts are telling us: that no matter how much wining and dining and affirmation is involved, some companies don’t deserve our talents.

If we end up taking a job because of Vortex effects, we’ll regret it, and we know it. That’s why we’ve created this list of Six Reasons to Run from a job opportunity, no matter how pleasant and charming the company representatives are, and no matter how much latte, red wine, and discussion of end-of-year bonuses is involved.

(You’ll see that our list makes liberal use of the notion of Strong Mutual Interest. Each of us must determine on our own when SMI has been established, but it usually happens between the first and second interviews.)

Here’s our list of Six Reasons to Run:

1) Your employment references are requested before a strong mutual interest is established.

Any employer who values a job candidate also values his or her time and relationships. When a headhunter or company recruiter tells you “We’ll need to call your references” too early in the game, they’re sending a signal that the valuable time of your reference-givers is not nearly as valuable as the time that the company would waste in interviewing you before checking up on you. Your cue to bail.

2) The employer asks for your Social Security number or your approval for a credit or background check before strong mutual interest is established.

When a company says, “We need to check on you before we can spare the time to talk with you,” it’s time to get out of Dodge. A talent-focused employer will call you for a phone interview (at a minimum) before bothering you for personal information that they won’t require if they don’t make you a job offer. This type of batch processing shouts, “Get in line to genuflect.” Keep looking.

  • Greceaaaa2_max50


    over 2 years ago


    Nice meeting you here, how are you today i will want us to be friends contact me here with my e-mail address ( ) because i have a special reason why have contacted you so that i can send you my photos and also tell you more about myself here is my e-mail address( ) you can also drop me your email mail address i am waiting to get a reply from you remember that co-lour, language or age and distance does not matter but understand matters
    Yours New Friend
    Miss Grace

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    I think this brings up a lot of good points. I had to take a test for a hospital administrative job and they kept having me come back for more interviews, but then they always needed one more thing so I finally said I was no longer interested.

  • Chicos_julieta_01_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Wow!!! It doesn't take much to recognize these "vortex". Unfortunately the job market is scarce and slow, it is so easy to ignore these signs and plunge anyway with a prayer that things will change in your favor. Unfortunately, it does not work like that. Although the HR person was all over me during the initial interview process, it did not feel right when I finally interviewed with the hiring manager. I recognized several ominous signs right away, e.g. the lack of chemistry, the person's lack of experience, etc. and yet when the nice offer was made, I accepted thinking I can surely help and influence this person and take care of the obstacles along the way. Big mistake!!! I found out soon enough that this hiring manager did not even want me (e.g. I'm too smart, too expensive, etc.), in fact, I found out later that this manager's superior gave HR the go ahead to hire me in spite of this person's objections. Needless to say, I had to swim upstream from day one and although I managed to complete my first year of employment by sheer determination, by partnering with other close peers, and by managing my job by sticking to job objectives, these efforts were not good enough to survive my situation. Needless to say, it was a living hell and I ended quitting anyway before it affected my health. Here's my personal advise: Follow your intincts, money is not everything, be aware of the "vortex" as clearly spelled out in this article, and above all, keep your integrity intact and check all the exit doors if and when it is necessary to do so. Thank you for this article. I will surely share this with my friends.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 6 years ago


    These are very helpful tips that I wish I had known long ago. The other obstacle for me is that I have been intimidated into accepting whatever the limited information I was given. Now I am wiser, but still looking for employment in this difficult market in Ohio. I am searching for a position in the accounting field before my company moves to Virginia in 6 months.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 6 years ago


    I wish I had known these red flags before I accepted my current position. I had four of the six red flags, yet now while on the job I realize them. I am now in the process 8 months down the road seeking employment elsewhere. The agency lied to me about several things which now has me in a dead end job. I am doing less work now than where I came from. I have a Masters degree in HR and they have me basically ensuring that documents that someone has basically cut and pasted into a document is spelled corrected, placing letterhead on the document and dating and printing the document. They hired several other people with different background degrees and placed them into HR. How dumb is that. What's worse they consider themselves the best government agency to work for. NOT SO. THEY DECIEVE MANY PEOPLE AND MANY ARE NOW FINDING OTHER JOBS.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    over 6 years ago

    Good hints. DH has experienced a few of these. The latest was a temp job. The hourly wage was set, and he finds out today that it lower by $2/hour. He quit at the end of the day. It cost him more in gas than he would make.

  • Jane_max50


    over 6 years ago


    I was recently in "the Vortex" and could have used these pointers, although, in the end, I did not accept the offered position.

  • Pict0936_max50


    over 6 years ago


    excellent pointers!

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