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.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
9/10/2014 | 3:11:35 PM
Re: Hey Junior .......
@David - I wouldn't mind being paid in kittens but my husband would hate it if I were :)

The article made me laugh, especially the pictures, but it also made me realize that every job I ever had used several or all of these phrases (at the same time) to describe the environment or culture.

And I have to ask myself - why exactly is a fast-paced environment?  Are people running in my office with relay batons?  I see it in nearly every job desciption and that makes it utterly meaningless.  As an aside, most people writing the job descriptions don't even know what kind of environment the position will have - HR usually takes care of that and they are isolated from the workerbees in IT, Accounting, Sales, etc.

The worst interview phrase I ever came across was "There's always something to do."

OK.  So my job is never done then?  That is the absolute worst thing you can tell a perfectionist.  You can also imagine that means I am going to be given meaningless busywork to justify my being there for a full 8 hours.  No thanks!
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Ninja
9/10/2014 | 2:30:00 PM
Re: Hey Junior .......
@David I have always wondered if statements like this actually mean the company's pay is competitive. Maybe they underpay because they haven't checked pay rates in 10 years! Ignorance is...?
hho927
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hho927,
User Rank: Ninja
9/10/2014 | 2:28:50 PM
True
But I took it because I was desperate. So It's bad but sometimes, we have no choice anyway.

I think company cultures create the hostile environment. It's a constant war. The guy before me left no documentation. I get no training whatsoever. I've learned everything myself. Management keeps pushing more and more work. They act like they don't know how long it takes to do a certain task. The more I take the more they give, so I just refuse new projects. The lession I learned is that if I don't stand up, I will get pushed.
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. :)
ANON1254946778562
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ANON1254946778562,
User Rank: Strategist
9/9/2014 | 9:37:55 AM
Adding an eleventh
My friend came up with this one

Forget anything you've ever heard about us because we're a totally different company now!
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
9/8/2014 | 5:57:21 PM
Re: Job Seekers: Golden Words of Wisdom

Golden Nuggets it is !   : ) 

Very true David, most cannot afford to be picky - even with the improving economy we have now.  It is a real trade off, do you take the position and be under paid for the next three years ( if you are lucky ) ?

I did.   I did it then but I am in a stronger position ( I hope ) now to hold out if necessary, because the emotional toll is something a person needs to factor in as well.   Swallow your pride ?   Sure Everyone does it all the time.

I totally understand the "some is better than none"  mentality and you might have to go back to adhering  to that kind of thinking.  But early on in the process - don't settle for less than you would be happy with.   Circumstance might change and then you have to change with them - but enjoy your small window of autonomy.  It close so quickly.

But given the choice, I think I will be saying,  Have you really looked at my Resume ?   Just before I leave.

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.
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