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9/3/2014
08:07 AM
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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tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
10/10/2014 | 9:40:58 AM
Re: Other kinds of tip-offs
@vnewman2: Completely agree with you. You are very lucky the position found you. I think you made the absolute correct choice in going for the full time position. The job market is truly insane out there. Thankfully I have a job but i always keep irons in the fire because you never know. The job descriptions I see are just so out there you wonder who could possibly fill them. Then companies complain because they cannot find "qualified candidates". With 100 people applying for every opening? Really? I spoke with one headhunter who kept asking me about specific areas in my background for a position which i was clearly qualified-especially with 25 years experience. However the way she was going on made it seem these people were really looking for specific experience combinations that most people do not have. We have to be thankful we have jobs and be very careful about moving to a new one these days.
aawells2915
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aawells2915,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/19/2014 | 10:58:46 AM
Re: The company Kool Aid...
the5thHorseman,

 

The company Kool Aid is alive and well in the education institution I work for also.  I have also seen every phrase in the article.  The phrase that is NOT mentioned is the "intellectual property" of employees.  The employees that will not help or go out of their way to keep processes a secret or the reason a process is done in certain way or flat out give you wrong information, this allows them to protect their position while only working 4 to 5 hours a day.  (Information is power)  I have run into this more than once working for the institution I am at and state employment in the past.  This is BAD employees and BAD management.  Cross training is non existent!
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
9/18/2014 | 12:43:08 PM
Re: Other kinds of tip-offs
@tjgkg - I agree on the age discrimination statement - it's a subconscious bias as well, making it more rampant than people actually think. I have a young child now, but I am an "older mom" who was looking for a part-time job to keep me a little sane and relevant to the workforce. Well, I never found what I was looking for, rather I stumbled upon a full-time position in IT doing what I did in my former, pre-mommy life, which I was trying to avoid, but keeps finding me somehow :) But I digress - my point is, it came down to this: it would be really nice for me to stay home with my child right now, but in reality, if I waited to go back to work until he goes to school full-time, I'd be pushing 50 and....who's going to hire me then??? Seriously? So I figured I'd re-enter the workforce now before I pass my buy-sell date and maybe I'll reinvent myself in the process.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
9/15/2014 | 11:08:31 AM
Re: Hey Junior .......
"meaningless busywork to justify my being there for a full 8 hours."

These days you are lucky if you only have to work 8 hours. My job requires 9 hours and you have to punch in and out just like when you were a teenager working in the pizza joint.

Companies expect longer hours, some even expect you to check your emails at night and on the weekends-something i just refuse to do on principal.

HR is usually a joke. They have no idea about what type of work is done or how you would fit into a company. They will not answer questions that are important to the job seeker. And you can't count on them for an honest status.

Then companies wonder why there is no loyalty anymore.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
9/15/2014 | 11:00:51 AM
Re: Other kinds of tip-offs
Age discrimination is very real. It is one of the sad reasons why so many middle aged people are now working in retail and can't survive on those salaries. The line about "cultural fit" is very true. It is not only to work out the age discrimination, but also to see how much "occasional weekend work" they can get away giving you. The staff might be very well beaten down and they don't want to hire someone who will incite a revolution. The job situation is very bad out there today and corporations totally have the upper hand.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
9/15/2014 | 10:54:20 AM
Re: Travel!
@Susan: I must confess I love to travel But I had one job where i travelled over 200k miles/year and after about a year of that I was done. Granted I got the free flights on the Concorde and the penthouse suites in the Hilton, but I had to fly a lot of economy class flights to get that. I had so many frequent flyer miles that the benefits lasted about 3 years after I left that job. Not sure I could handle that now unless I had a Knee Defender!!
rkondrk
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rkondrk,
User Rank: Strategist
9/12/2014 | 2:14:48 PM
Re: The company Kool Aid...
I believe that it's gotten worse than even that during the past few years.  These days, there seems to be almost a tangible *contempt* for IT people in the workplace.  I think that part of the problem is that we're generally considered a "service" department that (at least in their opinion) creates no tangible profits for the company.  I think that the concept that they're failing to grasp is that the IT department protects the revenue and intellectual property of the company at the very least and, by doing so, we do have "value".
rkondrk
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rkondrk,
User Rank: Strategist
9/12/2014 | 2:07:51 PM
Re: Run Fast or Sign Up
One line that I noticed when I interviewed for my last job was "We need you to be a team player".  Only after I took the job did I realize that it actually meant, "We need someone to serve as a living football for the various, warring business groups in this company to kick around."  Sigh...I've heard almost every single line listed in this article during the 24 years that I've been in the IT field and, sadly, all of your interpretations are dead-on.
the5thHorseman
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the5thHorseman,
User Rank: Strategist
9/11/2014 | 1:59:51 PM
The company Kool Aid...
I have worked at an educational institution for 15 years now. What has astonished me more than anything else is the absolute lack of respect for the people who make your organization go. The culture of management here, and in business and corporate settings I have either worked in as an employee or private consultant, allows "managers" to make uninformed decisions about [insert subject here] without owning any responsibility for outcomes. I can write all day about software packages that have simply appeared, seemingly from a dimensional portal (or something) , imposed upon us by some one or thing that has absoulutely know idea what systems we operate or if this package can even run in our environment. But the completely disconnected, and clueless, person who bought this thing and just expects us to make it run, is not from some far away place, they are right down the hall in their managers office. And I am not speaking small projects either. We had a "member of management" simply decide one day that we would be providing streamed applications to faculty and students using Citrix XenApp. No one on our team had any experience with this service whatsoever. We received no training and there was a ridiculous deadline imposed that could not possibly be met. Yet he was not held responsible for missed deadlines and what they perceived as a delayed rollout. The team shouldered the brunt of the dissatisfaction of "management". Anyone who has ever had to rollout this system, from a Netscaler to storefront to XenApp farm knows that this is NOT one of those things you can just Google and do. But the "manager" who simply dumped it on us without any consultation ahead of time, owns no culpability... it has nothing to do with not providing training or not speaking to us beforehand to determine if we could even support this system, in their minds. To them, we simply failed to meet their deadlines. It is this method of clueless management through complete ignorance that makes it a workplace it is impossible to enjoy working in. And every one of your warning phrases applies in our workplace! Beware!!!!
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Moderator
9/10/2014 | 4:23:00 PM
Re: True
Thank you!
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