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9/3/2014
08:07 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
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10 IT Job Interview Phrases To Make You Run

Wondering if the IT job you're interviewing for is a good fit? These 10 phrases suggest you should bolt as fast as you can.
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(Source: Nyttend)
(Source: Nyttend)

We get it. Times are tough. Many of you are still unemployed after the financial crisis, and more of you are underemployed. When someone offers you a job, you want to jump on it. But sometimes it really isn't worth it. The stress and pain of a bad job can take years off your life. That's why we put together this list of deal breakers, red flags, and head scratchers you need to look out for in the interview.

We all know that a job interview is sort of like a game of poker. The hiring manager is probing you for weaknesses, trying to figure out when you are bluffing, and hoping you will show all your "tells." A lot of us get so flustered that we forget that managers have some weaknesses they're hiding about the job, too -- low pay, high-stress environments, high turnover, an unhappy team. There's a lot you need to know before you take a job.

If you hate your job, it can literally kill you. A bad boss may actually increase your chance of a heart attack. Research shows that hating your job can lead to chronic stress, exhaustion, and emotional distress. Chronic stress can lead to obesity. It can cause high blood pressure, digestive problems, and fertility issues. And it can speed the aging process. Not surprisingly, all this adds up to an early grave.

That's not all. A bad working environment can actually affect your whole family. A Baylor study showed that a bad boss made an employee more likely to report stress in a marriage and more family conflict.

We can't prevent you from hating your job or keep you from ending up with a bad boss. But some folks get so caught up during the interview process that they forget to pay attention to a manager's own tells. They end up taking a job that was never right for them in the first place.

So we've compiled a list of a manager's biggest tipoffs that suggest you may want to run away as fast as possible. We've translated the manager-speak into plain English, so you can make a clear-headed decision. For all we know, you might like working 90-hour weeks or having weekly meetings in Siberia, so we're not going to tell you what to do. We just want you to make the best decision possible.

Read the list. Check out our translations, and tell us where we're spot on and where we're off. Tell us if you've ever missed these signs and been stuck in a bad job. And then add your own nightmare tipoffs to our list in the comments section.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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Reilly Kerr
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Reilly Kerr,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 1:31:53 PM
Other kinds of tip-offs
As an experienced (trans: older) job-seeker I've heard almost all of the lines you cite. I'm a B2B tech marcom guy, not an engineer or programmer, so some IT tip-offs don't necessarily apply, but you've come up with a great list. The tip-offs don't end with HR, though. 

For me and my deep resume, a HUGE red-flag statement is really a misdirection: "We need to know you'll be a good cultural fit with the department." This is often a ploy to cover up age discrimination (which, BTW is also rampant in IT hiring as well). It is assumed that an older worker won't be as productive or creative, can't or won't work well with a younger staff, and that said older worker will cost more -- all total bu115#!t. That's why fewer than one in 11 professional over the age of 45 who lost their jobs in the last decade have found positions in their previous fields. Forget about re-entering at the same level!

But there's another element you won't learn unless you actually get past the HR crapwall to an interview with the hiring manager. In a job market that thrives on cannibalism, no department manager will hire somebody they think could take their job -- even if what you do best (in my case, wordsmithing) will never get you promoted to management. They'd rather settle for mediocrity sufficient to the immediate goal(s) than trust someone who can deliver excellence. 

This dovetails with discussions about lying on one's resume. No, it isn't a good idea, but when will HR learn it applies to the job descriptions they write and post, too?

RK

 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/6/2014 | 10:23:53 PM
Job Seekers: Golden Words of Wisdom

When someone offers you a job, you want to jump on it. But sometimes it really isn't worth it. The stress and pain of a bad job can take years off your life.

 

Your words of wisdom David should be dipped in Gold.  It took me years to learn this, thank goodness I was able to hold up to the resulting stress. 

But as I get older, I can see it ( a bad fit ) coming from 10 miles away and rather than take a job just to have one - I have learned to hold out.  With patience and persistence you will find something you really like or at least can stomach for the next five years or so.

 

Probably the best lesson I have learned regarding finding one's way in this world of entry-level, non-paying job listings.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/6/2014 | 10:14:54 PM
Hey Junior .......

I really enjoyed this piece David, and when thinking of  tip offs for terrible jobs - this is my personal favorite.  

Jr. Anything ...Translation:   " We are too cheap to offer this as the position it is - you will be doing your bosses job at half the cost."

 

Got to love those Jr. listings !

David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/5/2014 | 5:16:44 PM
Re: Great collection
@Pedro- Good luck with the search. I hope you find a job that pays you in the animals you like and has regular hours. :)
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
9/5/2014 | 4:50:15 PM
Re: Great collection
thank so much for the tips david. I'm job hunting at this time and this will help me to sort out the bad job from the good ones.  Personally, I don't like to get paid in kittens, I don't like cats in the first place.  A while ago saw some job description which indicated that you have to be available on call which means you have no life.  You are right, finding the job with the best match with your personality is no easy matter. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/3/2014 | 10:10:51 PM
Re: Great collection
@Susan- I suppose the fact that you are still here means you left before the worked you to death. But I bet the rest of your team were a bunch of stiffs. :)
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/3/2014 | 7:30:17 PM
Travel!
These are all spot on, the one about travel particularly hits home. In most of the job interviews I've had, travel has rarely come up. But after taking ONE particular job I have learned to ask how much travel is expected. On this particular job, they did make a point of telling me to expect travel. Which amounted to approximately two weeklong overseas trips per month. The frequent flier status and the chance to see the world were nice perks, but  the fact that this travel schedule happened to coincide with the first year of my marriage definitely was not.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
9/3/2014 | 7:27:03 PM
Re: Great collection
@Chris: Did we work at the same job? LOL. I've had exactly that experience being the "energetic self-starter" who ultimately ended up convinced that my employer would expect me to keep working from beyond the grave. It was truly 24/7 365. If i had read this slideshow first, I would have definitely run the other way, but ah, live and learn I suppose.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/3/2014 | 4:24:43 PM
Re: Great collection
@chis- I like the "and then some." It sounds like they're going to use my body at work in a kind of Weekend at Bernies scenario.
chis
IW Pick
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chis,
User Rank: Strategist
9/3/2014 | 4:21:32 PM
Great collection
A variation: We're looking for an "energetic" fill-in-the-blank. Translation: We're going to work you to death and then some!
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