Red Flags to Look Out for During an Interview

Red flag
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Any good recruiter knows and understand the importance of the interview during the recruitment process. It is the moment when you get to have a real one-on-one with your candidates, and you can get a sense of who they really are—both as a person and a professional.

In the past, we have discussed and gone over what a bad hire is, the types you may encounter, and the dangers they pose to your company. But today we’d like to focus more on those red flags that will let you know right away when a person is not a good fit for you.

So, to help you avoid having to deal with toxic or negative candidates, here’s a list of the top 5 red flags you need to be on the lookout for:

1. Tardiness: Some people are punctual, some are not. When people are late it is common courtesy to provide a good excuse and an apology. But when it comes to chronic tardiness, you really need to be on your feet.

When your recruitment process includes several interviews, and one of your candidates is consistently late, that’s a red flag! Being late for a single interview is one thing, but not being punctual ever means that there’s a problem that will eventually transpire into their daily work life; and that is going to be a big problem for you.

2. Jumping from one career to the next: Say you come across a résumé of a candidate and you see that they have changed their career three times in the last two years or has several gaps between previous employments: you’ve got a red flag.

You may be inclined to think that you have come across a job hopper , which, as we said before, is not a necessarily bad thing. But there are ways to distinguish a job hopper and someone who can’t hold on to a job. When you have a candidate that has worked in completely unrelated jobs, or has been fired from their previous job instead of leaving on their own accord, you can be certain this is bad news.

3. Sloppiness: The way we carry and present ourselves to others matter. It’s about the image that we want to portray. So, when you come across someone who clearly doesn’t care about this: red flag!

When people don’t even put the minimum effort into the way they look, it’s often a sign of the quality of their work, and how invested they are in your company . This is especially true for positions that deal with customers face-to-face, as it would affect the image of your company directly.

4. A Bad Attitude: Some people are unable to hold on to a job because they simply don’t have the right attitude in life. A question that often comes up in a job interview is why the candidate is leaving their current job, when the answer is always someone else’s fault, that their previous boss was bad, or that their colleagues were all incompetent, you know you have a red flag.

Conflictive people tend to always blame others for their shortcomings. They are the kind of people that will bring an undeniably negative energy to your workplace should you let them in.

5. Too Good to Be True: The perfect candidate does not exist! We have talked about this in the past and we’ll keep bringing it up because it’s important that recruiters realize this. So, when you encounter a candidate that looks just too perfect, that’s a red flag!

Some candidates are not above lying on their résumé to make themselves seem more appealing to recruiters. When they look at the job ad that you posted they know exactly what to write to make themselves seem more attractive. So, when a candidate checks all the items on your list, we’d recommend that you take a closer look.

In order to avoid having to deal with these scam artists the best thing you can do is probe around with hard hitting questions, and thoroughly check their background and past experiences.

There you have it! Whenever you see any of these red flags, you have to pump the brakes, and deal with that situation right away. The consequences of overlooking these signals can be quite catastrophic in the long run, so you better watch out!

Edu Rojas
Content Marketing Editor at neuvoo