10 IT Job Interview Phrases To Make You Run - InformationWeek

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9/3/2014
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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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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/10/2014 | 3:15:35 PM
Re: Hey Junior .......
 Ignorance is...?


...costly to an enterprise. :)

I'd say one of the few things companies know EXACTLY is how much a job is going for an the open market. They never want to overpay. That makes it all the worse when they try to low ball you.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/10/2014 | 3:13:56 PM
Re: Hey Junior .......
@vnewman2- You raise a great point about how the writers of job descriptions are seldom actually aware of the real work conditions. when that happens, it is usually just wishcasting on the culture they wish they had at the company.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/10/2014 | 3:12:10 PM
Re: True
@hho927- I'm sorry to hear that. I sympathize. I really do. One of the problems we have as works is there is no way to work together to solve the problem. I'm not necessarily suggesting an IT union, but if tech workers had a union or similar body, they could negotiate together for change. As it is, we all are on our own with little or no power.

I don't know what the solution is other than to work together in some way to better our culture.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/10/2014 | 12:28:30 AM
Re: Adding an eleventh
@anon- Ha! That's great. I have asked a manager about a copany's bad reputation and gotten a similar answer, but I've never seen anyone volunteer it. :)
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 1:55:26 PM
Re: Other kinds of tip-offs
@Reilly Kerr- thanks for your frank and wonderful comment. Yes, managers and HR often cover up discrimination in code. And you hit a major one right there. Another similar one is when they start talking about being energetic. 

The sad part is that as people learn the code, they simply swap it out for new language. Instead of learning not to discriminate, they learn how to do it better.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 1:52:40 PM
Re: Job Seekers: Golden Words of Wisdom
@technocrti- Thanks for the kind words. If you can't get the words dipped in gold, I'll just settle for some gold nuggets. I can melt them down myself. :)

Seriously though, I think the finincial crisis and slow recovery has left so many people in situations where they feel like they can't pay attention to this advice. I get it. I really sympathize having lost a job in the crisis as well. But i interviewed for a bunch of stinkers before finding one I liked. So glad I didn't end up with one of the stinkers.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/8/2014 | 1:49:51 PM
Re: Hey Junior .......
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."


@technocrati- Ha! True. I've also heard managers say something like this in an interview, "our pay is competitive." That is almost always code for "we're underpaying by 25% and we hope you won't notice."
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. :)
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.
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