Recruiters: Watch Out For These 5 Red Flags During The Interview

Avoid making a hire you’ll regret by keeping an eye out for these red flags during the interview.

Spotting the perfect candidate whose skills and experience seem like an ideal match to your job spec is only part of the hiring battle. Their personality, attitude and cultural fit are just as crucial. Some would say these requirements are even more important than a skills match.

Of course you’re looking for someone who can do the job. But you’re looking for more. You need someone who’s enthusiastic about the role and wants to grow with your company. How can you tell if a qualified candidate will be a bad fit for the role? Keep an eye out for these red flags. They’ll make you think twice about making a job offer.

1. Tardiness

Yes, there could certainly be an unforeseen reason why someone might be late to an interview. But if they’re serious about the role, they would call your office to explain why they’re running late (and there will be a good reason).

If they don’t acknowledge their tardiness or come up with a poor excuse (like their alarm didn’t go off), you have to wonder how committed they really are.

At my recruiting firm, we were recently let down by a candidate who did not even show up for their interview. When we finally managed to speak to her to find out what happened, she told us she had overslept by three hours! We will never again recommend that candidate forward for another job.

2. Lack of research

Whatever job you’re recruiting for will require at least some degree of preparation. The candidate should be able to demonstrate knowledge about what your company does. If they’re doing a presentation, have they shown they’ve given thought to the topic, content and appearance of their presentation?

Of course it’s worth taking into account the length of time a candidate has had to prepare. Someone who was notified a day before an interview will not have been able to research as much a candidate who has had two weeks’ notice.

When we work with new clients, they often tell us they’re disappointed when their candidates don’t seem to know anything about their company. We tell our candidates to do as much research as possible before going into an interview. If they don’t, they’re drastically reducing their chances of success.

3. Zero questions at the end

As part of their preparation, your candidate should have given some thought about the questions they would like to ask at the end. If they have nothing to ask or worse still, only ask about vacation and salary, it’s worth questioning what their motivations really are. Do they want to work for your company or do they just want any job?

One employer we met recently told us one of the reasons he passed on a candidate was because his only question was about the dress code.

4. Sub-par listening skills

Sometimes a candidate can be so focused on what they want to say, they’re not really listening to the questions you’re asking. Appearing not to listen can be a fairly common problem when a candidate is nervous. If you think this is the case with someone you’re interviewing, try and put them at ease and see if their interview technique starts to improve.

But watch out for candidates who interrupt you and give answers that aren’t relevant to the questions. Will these people be able to easily adapt to new environment if they’re not willing to listen even during the interview?

5. Sloppy appearance

You would always expect your candidate to arrive well groomed and dressed appropriately for the role they’re interviewing for. If they show up for an interview for an office job wearing old sneakers, a ratty t-shirt and with greasy hair, they’re clearly not making an effort to impress you.

One client told us about a candidate they did not hire purely because his shoes looked too much like gym shoes. If the candidate is not trying at interview stage, are they likely make the effort to go above and beyond in their work once you employ them?

You may have to pass on a candidate who seems “good enough.” That’s OK. Don’t settle until you find the right candidate. While it may take more time to find the right fit for your business and someone who truly wants to work there, it’s worth the wait. Otherwise you could find yourself recruiting for the same position again in six months.

(By Rosanna Stimson)