Calling Workers ‘Family’ a Red Flag, Job Candidates Say

When HR professionals refer to colleagues as “family,” it worries potential employees that there aren’t boundaries between work and home, a People Managing People survey found.

Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) job candidates say it’s a red flag if an interviewer refers to the company as a “family” during an interview, a study by People Managing People, a human resources content provider, found. The study scraped more than 5,000 comments on a Reddit thread about interview red flags.

Other red flags include a desperation to hire or extreme staff turnover; expectations of overtime; inappropriate questions; low salaries; and unrealistic expectations, the survey found.

People Managing People offered hiring managers some tips to avoid red flags during interviews: create a clear and jargon-free job description, be transparent about financial compensation and why the role is open, follow up promptly and give constructive feedback, and share learning and development opportunities.

During the hiring process, job seekers are interviewing potential employers as much as hiring managers are interviewing them. A survey released in September by hiring software company Greenhouse showed that 45% of employees surveyed said they’ve turned down a job because of a bad experience during the interview.

“This study should hopefully encourage potential interview candidates to be attuned to possible red flags in the interview process,” Finn Bartram, editor at People Managing People, said in a news release. “It’s not to say they should go into the interview process overly skeptical, but rather to be aware as these ‘red flags’ can indicate larger issues with their potential boss, team or the organization as a whole.”

A separate Greenhouse report found that some candidates lose interest before even making it to an interview. If an application takes more than 15 minutes to finish, 70% of job seekers won’t bother, the survey said.

As pay transparency gains traction, applicants increasingly expect to see salary information in job listings. One-third of respondents to a September survey by job search engine Adzuna said they won’t go to an interview without first knowing salary information. Potential candidates said omitting salaries from job postings makes a company seem untrustworthy, likely to underpay and biased in how they allocate pay.

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