I tell clients all the time, the purpose of the job interview is not to land the gig at all costs. The purpose of a job interview is to find out if you want to work for the company and the hiring manager. If you pay close enough attention, you can figure out immediately if the job is right for you just by trusting your gut feeling about it.

Years ago I went to a job interview with a media company where the interviewer had a clammy, weak, handshake. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it and I accepted the job. However, this person was not an effective leader during my tenure and I ended up moving on within six months to another department where I was much happier and better compensated. Thankfully I analyzed and learned from that initial interview as to why that job turned out to be a bad experience. I wasn’t paying attention to the subtle hints along the way.

Fast forward to 2016 when I got to use that wisdom. Another previous boss, who I liked very much, recommended that I speak to the new owner of a media company. He had already told this person about me and asked that I meet with him. My interest was piqued and I showed up for an afternoon luncheon where we talked for a few hours about our backgrounds. And while there were all sorts of promises being made on his part, I just wasn’t feeling a connection. Plus, I didn’t like the way he treated our server.

When I got home I checked him out on Linkedin. He only had three connections and his background was kind of sketchy. I also looked at Google, spokeo, intellius, LexusNexus and even Mugshots.com to make sure my potential boss wasn’t an escaped convict. What I found was quite interesting. Failed business dealings, and no experience whatsoever in media, along with several different name changes and short term teaching jobs. There was really no way for me to check to see if he really had served in the military or earned a college degree like he claimed. And after mulling it over, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk and politely turned him down for what should have been a really great opportunity.

Several months later, I learned that the crew who remained after the sale has since left, including my former boss who had been with the company for years. It turned out to be a hostile work environment.

I’m glad I learned to listen to that inner voice that told me to not to accept the job. If you pay close enough attention to the subtle things like handshakes and how people address restaurant servers, you can learn a lot about a person. Listen to your gut feeling. It won’t steer you wrong.