What are redflags to catch during an interview?

Nov 14 451 Comments

From previous experiences or current interviews; what are red flags that had made you turned down a job offer?

TC: 48k
YOE: 2 years

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TOP 451 Comments
  • Square / Eng FitbitHype
    How the interviewers treated you.

    Were they paying attention or looking at phone/laptop?

    Did they guide you in any direction or did they stay silent and let you hang yourself while doing a leetcode hard?

    If they give you an exploding offer.
    Nov 14 33
    • Salesforce / Eng Boza
      I just love that everyone collectively decided to ignore the exploding offer question and focus on the transcribing. Glad I could be of use.
      Nov 14
    • Square / Eng WheresJack
      Way too many people focusing on the transcribing part.

      Are you writing key times with small amounts of notes? Fine. But be present for a conversation.

      Google is absolutely the worst with doing this because they literally typed everything I'm writing on the whiteboard and straining their neck to see around me as I'm writing. This forces them to be behind my thought process as I'm writing. In their on-sites often they aren't actively engaging the candidate and 20 minutes later they're surprised where the code ended up because they were half paying attention.

      It's an awful, awful experience. Trust me, you don't need to transcribe literally everything. Take notes on signal only and then actually be there with the candidate. It's a better experience for you both and you get better signal out of it.

      You typing for 45 minutes straight tells me that you only care about the end result and you have a pre-determined notion of where it should end up.
      Nov 15
    • BlackRock LTB
      >Did they guide you in any direction or did they stay silent and let you hang yourself while doing a leetcode hard?

      Is it good if they guide you rather than let you stumble? Personally when they start guiding me to an answer I feel like I already lost.
      Nov 20
    • Microsoft cjkcjk
      I would guide and pay very close attention to how they listen, take hints, and run with it. The fact that you know something is useful, the fact that you can learn something or think on your feet in a new area is far more valuable. I’ve often rated candidates highly who could come up with creative ideas in new technical areas with a little bit of assist.

      I’m not talking about leetcode puzzles obviously.
      Nov 20
    • Square / Eng WheresJack
      Technically, all interviews should have some guidance. If not then all the interview is testing is whether you've literally done that leetcode question before. Which makes it a horrible interview and your signal only: "they completed my problem".

      Guidance to an answer is realistically what should happen. The signal there is more of do you listen well, can you internalize what others are telling you + extrapolate on it, and how quickly can you pivot from one idea to another?

      Those signals are so, so much better than: "the candidate regurgitated this problem from leetcode".
      Nov 20
  • Uber hawhaw
    Company name is called Prudential
    Nov 14 23
    • Should have transferred to Sunnyvale
      Nov 15
    • Sony / Eng eHJB72
      What do you do for 48k a year?
      Nov 15
    • Pay rent... max out my 401k and eat ramen. Not much bc it wasn’t enough
      Nov 15
    • Travelport / Eng buttnpushr
      Wait those are perks now?
      Nov 15
    • US Navy / Eng fps_doug
      Travelport meant what do you do to earn 48k, not what you spend it on 😂😂
      Nov 15
  • An actual red flag in the interview room
    Nov 14 8
    • Google uzaname
      With a star and a sickle
      Nov 14
    • Zillow Group k5g8hf
      With five stars
      Nov 14
    • @google, that reminded me of the book in Civil war where Helmut Zemo controls Bucky
      Nov 14
    • Salesforce peaceguy
      Brutal
      Nov 14
    • Microsoft LowdayKBal
      That would be at Airbnb
      Nov 14
  • Amazon ddRi01
    If the hiring manager will mention something about working more than 8 hours, even in very polite way.
    Nov 14 11
    • Market Track pmnote
      Along the same lines :"fast-paced, thrive in chaos"
      "Work hard, play hard" also screams bro culture
      Nov 14
    • Amazon yacht 🛥
      Work hard. Have fun. Make history
      Nov 14
    • Amazon kLei01
      Wow so much negativity. Some teams are truly motivated and inspired and don't look at the clock.
      Nov 14
    • LinkedIn dsdsdsds
      So you're saying teams get overworked
      Nov 14
    • Oracle bNjw87
      I think this thread was amazing. One of my previous jobs had a manager which said "We work hard and play hard. I also ensure my employees have good wlb". Turned out it was a job which involved 24*7*365 oncall work and calling the product shitty would be an understatement of the century.
      There was a dead sea effect of "hey we don't want to make changes, but we would rather take oncall"

      My manager was really boastful and too lenient with making promises and not following up on them later on.
      He would have ridiculous demands in projects and when you would ask him, how would you do X. He would very slyly try to avoid the topic.

      I left it about an year after I got a better offer(but that time was painful)
      I usually check if the manager seems arrogant in any subtle way and that's an instant no for me. I also reverse interview my manager by asking him little difficult culture questions(like what time do people come in, what time they leave). I check for their reactions, some people are honest and they would tell me the employees work very hard even during weekends(I obviously don't join their team later on)

      So my advice is to ask before joining the job. You sure run a risk of coming across as lazy but I would rather be misunderstood than miserable.
      Nov 16
  • Health Fidelity krubslaw
    I once asked if I could talk to a software engineer at the company I was interviewing at. After a long pause, the CTO said “ya we can get you on the phone with India.” I was going to be their first eng hire in the US, with 0 years of experience. I was out 3 months later when they decided outsourcing was much cheaper than hiring in the US.
    Nov 14 5
    • Microsoft cjkcjk
      It’s interesting that you still took the job, what was your thinking there?
      Nov 14
    • Autodesk fomo!
      ^ 0yrs?
      Nov 14
    • A10 Networks
      Lurker_Bee

      A10 Networks

      BIO
      I yam who I yam - Popeye
      Lurker_Beemore
      M$ - he had bills to pay... that’s what he was thinking
      Nov 14
    • Microsoft cjkcjk
      I mean market is steaming red hot for software including for freshers but yes its not always the case that immediate options are available on hand.
      Nov 14
    • It's good that there aren't 'that' many talented engineers in India or else all high-paying technical jobs would have been already shifted.
      Nov 15
  • Flagged by the community.

    • UBS / Finance nMQg64
      This actually sorts out itself. They won't hire you, the interview was for the show.
      Nov 14
    • Microsoft gYVH75
      What’s wrong with this?
      Nov 15
    • Chewy midman
      Lack of cultural diversity. >50% of any one culture is a red flag
      Nov 15
  • Apple TIRM28
    When they have ping pong, kegs and cool “start up” perks they advertise, but their bathrooms make you pay 25 cents for tampons. Seriously, that’s a nope from me.
    Nov 14 7
    • Microsoft kvy
      +10000000
      Nov 14
    • Citibank ShittiBank
      👀
      Nov 14
    • Apple rCJc14
      @spotify we have free tampons tyvm and they’re the nice ones!!!
      Nov 14
    • Spotify dogfoodr
      Good! Spotify office has nice ones too.
      Nov 14
    • Flagged by the community.

  • SAP / Field Ops dULd42
    All these red flags are for people with limited experience. The rules are obviously different if you're near the top of your field or an executive.

    1. NEVER take a position that's just been created. They usually don't know what they want from you (but they always say they do know) and you'll waste a lot of time trying to figure it out. If you do figure it out, you will most likely get fired for a made up reason. But they actually did it because you told them what needed to be done and they realized they didn't want to invest that much time and money.
    2. You need to work for a manager who is highly competent functionally. He/she should be able to do your job with their eyes closed, and hire you because they don't have the time. This is important because they'll be able to teach you when you're stuck, and also because they rose up the ladder for legitimate reasons and not some corporate bullshit. In the interview, ask pointed questions that they can only answer if they're very knowledgeable. If they give non-answers, stay away.
    3. Unless it's a public company or mature startup with demonstrated success, choose salary over equity. Getting a job like 3rd engineer at Facebook or 10th engineer at Google are just as likely as winning the lottery. No amount of due diligence will be enough because even the top VC firms get it wrong most of the time. If you're ok with that, buy some lottery tickets instead of looking for a job.
    4. If it's a big company, your experience can be heaven or hell depending on your manager and team. Try to have long conversations with all team members if possible, and make sure they're all competent (they usually are if the manager is). This will minimize politics and maximize work.
    5. If they're giving a lot of important responsibilities that you don't have the requisite experience for, it's usually a bullshit job and they're hard-selling you.
    6. If they're over-paying by a huge margin for your profile, it's probably not going to last.
    Nov 14 7
    • Intuit true===
      #2 and #5 ffs
      Nov 14
    • SAP / Field Ops dULd42
      @BallGravy: I was thinking about a Dilbertesque manager that I used to work for, and it happened to be a man.
      I've edited the gender pronouns.
      Nov 14
    • Oracle ataris
      Disagree on #1 - new roles are great if they have a vague idea what they need and you can do that and more. It's an excellent opportunity to make yourself indispensable AND do things you really enjoy
      Nov 15
    • Credit Karma / Other Hmj8378
      This post is good.
      Nov 15
    • New TebG83
      OMG! I second every item that is mentioned. Especially #1. My current role is a newly created position and the CEO said these words during my interview "It is a new role that we've created, and honestly we don't know what to do with you". I was a dumbfuck to not realize this was a scam, and basically did everything that they said. Fast forward three months, I'm sitting in a meeting room with the CEO and the COO (who happens to be my manager), and they go "we will have to decrease your salary from a 100k to a 90k, because we're not confident on you".
      Nov 20
  • DocuSign / Eng LandCnC
    When they randomly start talking about diversity just because they see that I'm a black man. For goodness sake, I'm trying to work as a "regular" software engineer. I don't want to be your diversity token. And I've been in such jobs in the past where they don't take my input seriously but like to keep me around because it creates an inclusive image which makes the hiring idiot manager look good. Never again.

    So, an unnecessary mention of diversity tells me how they look at me. Big red flag for me.
    Nov 14 0
  • Amazon jdhdvrbd
    When they only offer you 48k.....
    Nov 14 10
    • PACCAR / Eng stumper
      I was making $54k in 2001 as an aero/mech engineer (defense contractor). So not even tech.
      Nov 14
    • New / Eng RudeCow
      I was making 120k in Michigan no degree 2 .5 years. You need to find a better paying job your getting ripped off and bringing salaries of other devs down
      Nov 14
    • Twilio lLEv16
      No degree, but what about self learnt experience and evidence of skills/potential? I would imagine it would highly depend on that.
      Nov 14
    • Tableau / Eng tab69
      I started at 200k with a bachelor. Multiple offers in this range.
      Nov 14
    • I started out with multiple sub $300k offers from financial firms out of college.
      /s
      Nov 15
  • Microsoft BallGravy
    If it smells like fart
    Nov 14 8
    • Microsoft cjkcjk
      She definitely passed something. And lucky for our interviewer they didn’t pass out.
      Nov 14
    • 😂
      Nov 14
    • Microsoft / R&D wuywtetiq
      Here at Microsoft we like to work hard, but we also like to fart hard
      Nov 14
    • Sad that I didn’t get an offer from Microsoft 💨
      Nov 14
    • Uber / Eng unter
      Red flag - bro culture where interviewer can’t imagine an applicant might have IBS or some related, and can’t just step out of the interview room randomly. Hahahahaha though.
      Nov 14
  • Microsoft RTFe30
    When all the interviewers talk about is the CEO and how awesome he/she is.. that feels cultish to me
    Nov 14 11
    • Microsoft / Eng AxdK36
      I agree with all that.

      It's just, you know, it gets tiring sometimes. Like, look, we get it. You're trying to follow in Holy Satya's footsteps. Or you learnt something at the feet of Satya. We get it.

      I think it's really just the way his name is invoked nowadays, particularly by people trying to push something
      Nov 14
    • WeWork Jlsu146
      I'm reading all this, and I'm like, you don't even know what a cult looks like. That's the one thing we had. Sigh.
      Nov 14
    • Amazon wFOC46
      Now you just have to drink the Kool aid and you'll be partying on the dark side of the Moon in no time!
      Nov 14
    • Tesla be like 😮
      Nov 14
    • Palo Alto Networks fas12345
      That’s nothing! I interviewed with a startup that had a stone statue of the founder in the LOBBY!!!! (I’m thinking of you, Lawrence Roberts aka the father of the internet)
      Nov 16
  • Expedia Group / Eng ok_hand
    When it's too easy.

    Easy interview = low bar = unreliable teammates = high turnover.
    Nov 14 13
    • Amazon Tgcfvcf
      Yeah. There's one guy who emailled round a python script to be reviewed (because there's no code review system. 200 lines of utter crap. None of it made sense, variables had names that made no sense, no error checking at all. And this was something to kill off processes older than 2 hours.

      I rewrote it into 1 line of bash.
      Nov 15
    • Spotify dogfoodr
      if [[ "$(uname)" = "Linux" ]];then killall --older-than 1h someprocessname;fi
      Nov 16
    • Spotify dogfoodr
      if your new company a startup? 200 lines to just do that is crazy in a well know company
      Nov 16
    • Amazon Tgcfvcf
      It's a full on corporate place. Financial. The script was just plain bad too. There was a function called "parse_data" which did parse some data but then it did a kill -9 on a load of processes.

      The guy said that he'd not really done python before, but most of the issues were with maintainability, logic, and just general program structure. His code is probably crap no matter what the language.
      Nov 16
    • Spotify dogfoodr
      Agree, that mistake is not from lack of python knowledge
      Nov 16
  • Google / Creative qwertyforu
    “We’re looking for a unicorn 🦄 “ ... one should run from this.
    Nov 14 4
    • Amazon GQdW43
      OMG, a FB recruiter literally says she hires unicorns on her LinkedIn page.
      Nov 14
    • “I fuck unicorns for breakfast. Sounds like we’re meant for each other.”
      Nov 14
    • Fannie Mae HsaindTH
      Bronies
      Nov 15
    • Cisco nextfloor
      I got a recruiter saying they were looking for a unicorn...for a temp job. The optics on this, so bad.
      Nov 24
  • Microsoft kvy
    When I don't meet any teammates or any key partners

    When I ask for feedback and the hiring manager gives some canned automatic response instead of actually giving feedback

    When every email from the hiring manager is time-stamped 10pm

    When there isn't a single woman or person of color in an 8-round interview loop
    Nov 14 3
    • Lyft bhak
      Considering how tech is full of Asians and Indians, that is a real red flag.
      Nov 14
    • Aren't Indians also Asian? India is in Asia
      Nov 14
    • New oeeL53
      So true regarding the 10pm emails!
      Nov 15
  • If you hear “work hard, play hard” gtfo.
    Nov 14 2
    • Goldman Sachs J Dimon
      Y tho
      Nov 15
    • Oracle / IT
      l00tb0x

      Oracle IT

      PRE
      Ericsson, National Instruments
      l00tb0xmore
      If you work hard, you hardly play.
      Nov 15
  • SAP offer-
    The place looks like ghost town :)
    Nov 14 7
    • Oracle pzd
      It was just a day before a long weekend so apparently everyone (other than my interviewers) decided to wfh. Not a red flag in itself, imo. I literally saw a total of 5 people in the office.
      Nov 14
    • Amazon NoRhhuhb
      That sounds normal though, or even like a plus
      Nov 14
    • Expedia Group myfcr74
      How much sign on karma bonus do they give?
      Nov 14
    • Workday / Product tdf
      Ghost town ? Like SAP ?
      Nov 14
    • DraftKings vKGx50
      Had this happen to me. Interview rooms were in part of the building no one sat in yet
      Nov 14
  • Microsoft / Eng
    MgIr74

    Microsoft Eng

    PRE
    Amazon
    MgIr74more
    Politely ask how many people have quit the team that trying to hire you in the last year. If it’s more than 1-2, there’s probably a good reason. Run away!
    Nov 14 2
    • Amazon hG673hsb
      Sadly I feel like some managers would lie about this
      Nov 14
    • Microsoft cjkcjk
      Yeah too much expectation of honesty here. Same goes for “talking to an engineer on the team”, they will say mostly vaguely positive things (although absence of enthusiasm could I suppose in itself be a pinkish flag).
      Nov 14
  • New xhSp45
    Ask if you can see their laptop, if it isn't Windows 10, run.
    Nov 14 8
    • Microsoft redflagged
      I saw a company in 2012 that still had 21” CRTs on desks, running XP. Fuck off you cheap bastards.
      Nov 15
    • We had 21” running windows 8 on a virtual machine
      Nov 15
    • Apple Azrael3
      What a troll
      Nov 15
    • Who?
      Nov 15
    • New / Sales $elling
      Or if it has Chinese characters in the windows logo but you're not working in China.
      Nov 15
  • Google polks
    - hiring manager tells you that coworkers are "pretty passive-aggressive" when you ask about the company culture
    - they make you pay for coffee in their version of a microkitchen
    - very limited bathroom breaks during all-day onsite interview followed by 1 hour campus tour
    - no prep from recruiter on whether a PM interview will have technical component
    - no follow-up from the recruiter after onsite
    - hiring manager not available for questions about the role for a week
    - after offer, being told you need to start and relocate to new city after only being able to give 2 weeks notice to current employer and must also WFH over the holidays
    Nov 14 8
    • Flagged by the community.

    • eBay eBayVet
      ^ this
      Cussing at potential interviewers!
      @polks looks like you got yourself an A+ candidate over here ;)
      Nov 15
    • Google uuu4
      You simply stated where... you're interviewing? Cool story bro
      Nov 15
    • Intuit Snide_Wolf
      Northrop Grumman makes money killing brown people, did you guys expect civility from class traitors?
      Nov 15
    • Twitter mgmtsucks
      Intuit lobbies for complicated tax laws. Let’s all get off our high horses here.
      Nov 15

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