Red Flags When Considering a Candidate for Hire

Jul 23 2015

Finding great people to hire is hard work. Once you find a resume you like, it can be tempting to overlook certain things if you’re having a hard time finding suitable candidates. When you’re screening potential employees, attention to detail is so important. The following list contains some red flags to watch out for when you’re in the middle of the hiring process. 

1. A poorly formatted resume.
A resume will usually be the first impression you have of your candidate. If it’s not formatted consistently, spell-checked, and laid out in an organized manner, this is a big red flag. It shows the person is not detail oriented and that they didn’t put a lot of thought into it.

2. Job hopping, illogical employment dates, or unexplained gaps in work history.
Your candidate’s work history should make sense. If you see large gaps in between positions you need ask about them. Similarly, if your candidate averages one job a year that’s also a bad sign. It can mean they lose interest easily or that they have a hard time managing when projects become stressful. If you see dates of employment that don’t make sense—or if your candidate has not listed dates of employment, this is also a red flag.

3. Unprofessional communication leading up to the interview.
By the time you’re bringing a candidate in for a face-to-face interview, you’ve probably already spoken with them on the phone and via email. Remember, these methods of communication are another way to screen potential employees. An unprofessional voicemail greeting or emails full of typos and grammatical errors are another red flag.

4. Arriving late for the interview.
This is pretty self explanatory. Arriving a few minutes early is a cardinal rule for job seekers. Some employers will refuse to see people who don’t arrive on time, while others are more flexible—assuming they got a courtesy call alerting them that the person was going to be late.

5. Coming across unpolished or unprepared during the interview.
Your candidate should arrive dressed professionally and should be completely focused on the interview. If you detect they are not engaged or prepared, this is a bad sign.

6. Speaking negatively about previous roles and colleagues.
If your candidate speaks poorly about a previous job or employer, this can mean they’re not prone to taking responsibility and like to play the blame game. Speaking negatively about your colleagues is just a poor choice all around and it shows a lack of judgment.

7. Not having any questions to ask.
This is another cardinal rule for job seekers: always have a couple of questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Regardless of whether you’re interviewing an Administrative Assistant or an Account Director, your candidate should have at least a couple of questions to ask you. It shows they took the time to research your company and put some thought into preparing.

8. Not being able to articulate why they want to work for you.
Your candidates should be able to explain why they want to work specifically for you. This is an important question to ask during the interview process. You want to hire people who have already thought about why they would be an asset to your company and who know how their skills are going to add value. Be wary of a vague answer to this question. It shows a lack of intention and preparation.

Hiring is an expensive and time consuming process full of formalities. Making sure you “hire smart” is going to save you a lot of money down the road. Now that you’re armed with some ideas of what to look out for during an interview, you’ll be less likely to hire someone who might quickly prove to be a poor investment.




Show Results for



Loading Icon