Red flags in the interview process

By chantelharris, 20 July, 2015

When starting out a new romantic relationship, there are certain warning signs that will tell you to back away, like being over 30 with no inclination to move out from the parent’s basement, or having an unhealthy obsession with taxidermy.

In much the same way, there are certain red flags that will help you know that an employee is not going to be a right fit for your company. You want to be on the lookout for these early on, before any contracts have been signed.

Failure to follow easy instructions

When asking for applicants, it can be helpful to include simple instructions like including a cover letter or using a specific email subject line. HR personnel are often amazed at how difficult it seems to be to follow these small guidelines, but it helps weed out the applicants who haven’t bothered to read the job application properly and are likely just mass submitting applications.

No knowledge of the hiring company

It is good practice for applicants to do a bit of research about their potential new employee before the interview. If they display no knowledge about the company, it is a sign that any job will do for them. An ideal candidate would do some preparation before the interview.

Speaking negatively about past employers

It is not unusual for a candidate to have had a negative experience with a former employee. However, it is a red flag if they are very vocal about it in the interview. This could indicate that the candidate tends to foster bad relationships with employees, which is obviously not something you would want. Even if the negativity is warranted, however, it is still unprofessional to badmouth a former employer in an interview.

Being vague and evasive

It is not a good sign if a candidate is vague and evasive in their interview when asking them about their qualifications or experiences. This could be a sign of misrepresentation on their resume, or an omission about something important that could affect your decision.

Not knowing what they want

What is your candidate’s reason for leaving their old job or wanting to apply for yours? Do they have a well-thought out reason? If not, it’s a red flag. You do not want to employ someone that is flaky and doesn’t know what they want.

As an HR practitioner will have most likely learnt what you need to know about hiring processes in human resource management courses, but some knowledge comes from experience. This includes learning what red flags to look out for during the interview process. Look out for these warning signs early on to avoid a bad match.



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