Tuesday 26th July, 2022

Red flag, green flag – what to look for when searching for a new role

The Great Resignation is in full swing with the number of people moving jobs hitting a record high in 2022. During the pandemic priorities shifted and people left their jobs in droves in search of a better work life balance and better opportunities, but with so many companies on the lookout for talent how do you spot the good ones? Well there are definitely red flags to be cautious of, but have hope – there are some green ones too! If you’re on the search for a new role we’ve compiled a list of the red flags and green flags you should have on your radar.


Do your values align?

When starting your job search, map out what is most important to you. This could include diversity and inclusion, teamwork, or a culture that values learning.

Some companies share their values on their website, at Equilibrium, ours are integrity, excellence, simplicity, and growth.

So, what determines if a company sharing its values raises a red or green flag? …If there is proof that they are putting these to practice!

For example, it would be easy for us to say that we value excellence and speak no further on the subject. However, we demonstrate this by being the #1 financial services company to work for in the UK

Another company may claim to have a strong set of values but then have negative reviews on sites like Glassdoor (we are rated 5 stars) this would be a red flag. They have defined what good looks like, yet they have not taken action.

Not every value a company holds could be listed, if there is an area that is important to you but hasn't been mentioned, shape the questions you ask during your interview to find out their approach. If you are looking for somewhere that values actions like teamwork, listen to how your interviewer describes past situations or how they would like to see the person selected work with the wider team.


How do those interviewing you interact with each other?

...And any other employees you may meet when at your interview. If you feel tension when any challenges are discussed this may not be a place that promotes open, constructive conversations and is a likely red flag.

The most genuine glimpse into everyday life can be gained by paying close attention to conversations taking place around you while you wait to enter your interview. If you hear someone talking to another employee in a kind and positive manner about a topic related to their work, it's usually a sign that someone is content and confident in their position.


How does the interviewer(s) interact with you? 

A place that sets out a clear interview process is a green flag. Showing you upfront what is involved allows you to prepare accordingly. You can see Equilibrium’s interview process here.

An interview often starts with the interviewer providing an overview of the company, department and what they want the selected candidate to achieve in their role. As you are listening to what they are saying (especially if they are someone you could be working with) also focus on how they are saying it. If they are describing this with passion and excitement, that is a green flag!

If when being asked questions, you are thinking, "why are they asking me this?" or "this question feels inappropriate" it sounds like the interviewer may lack training or that it could be a workplace that tolerates disrespectful behaviour.

A task relating to the role may be set as part of the process; this is the ideal chance to demonstrate your true abilities! However, this should be reasonable and can rapidly become a red flag if they assign a huge project that isn't considerate of your time. An activity that feels more like a dummy question is a green flag, as this is intended to gauge your comprehension of the position and working style. Depending on the level of the role you’ve applied for, being tasked to create say an in-depth 12-month strategy for the department is likely expecting way too much.


By being aware of the small signs at an early stage you can take as much as possible from the time you have with your potential future employer. After an interview while they are deciding if you are good match for them, you can also take the time to decide if they are a good match for you.

Find out more on how we value culture at Equilibrium here or take a look at our latest job vacancies here.

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Equilibrium is a trading style of Equilibrium Financial Planning LLP and Equilibrium Investment Management LLP (Limited Liability Partnerships). Equilibrium Financial Planning LLP (OC316532) and Equilibrium Investment Management LLP (OC390700) are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and are entered on the financial services register under references 452261 and 776977 respectively. Registered Office: Ascot House, Epsom Avenue, Handforth, Wilmslow SK9 3DF. Both companies are registered in England and Wales.

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