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10 Interview Red Flags
10 Interview Red Flags

Tips on red flags to look for during an interview

Mara Miller avatar
Written by Mara Miller
Updated over a week ago

Candidates are typically on their best behavior during an interview. However, they can give you plenty of clues on what type of employee they will be in the workplace. Pay close attention to their actions and the words coming out of their mouth.

1. Arriving late

Candidates that show up late to an interview are telling you they have no respect for you, your time, or the interview. It is important to tell the candidate that tardiness will not be accepted and see how they react. This behavior may continue if you hire them and spill over into other aspects of their job.

2. Disrespecting your staff

Make sure to observe how the candidate interacts with your staff. These are the people they will be working with on a daily basis. If they are disrespectful and rude toward your team, it will only get worse if you decide to hire them.

3. Unprofessional appearance

Although there are different interpretations of what office or business attire means, the candidate should not be showing up for their interview in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and sandals if that is not what fits your company culture. There are many websites dedicated to this very subject. If the candidate is still unsure, they should contact you on proper attire for your office.

4. Poor communication skills

If this position requires communication with clients, management, and co-workers, make sure they know how to carry on a conversation. Do not do all of the talking. Ask the candidate a question, then listen. If getting answers out of the candidate is like pulling teeth, or they mumble or use inappropriate language, they may lack the communication skills needed to perform their job properly and professionally.

5. Poor listening skills

If you ask a clear question and receive an answer that has nothing to do with the question asked, this may be an indication of poor listening skills. The candidate may be anticipating what you are going to say and they are preparing an answer without listening to the full question.

6. Victim mentality

During the interview, it is normal to ask questions about their work history and why they left their previous jobs. However, if the candidate blames everyone else for their failures at work, this may be a good indication they refuse to accept blame and may not accept any type of constructive criticism.

7. No weaknesses or failures

Candidates who feel they have no weaknesses or failures may indicate they will not accept constructive criticism or instruction easily. They may feel they already know it all. Giving examples of weaknesses and failures and explaining how the candidate overcame them shows an understanding of self and a willingness to improve.

8. Resume Deception

As we discussed in 10 Resume Red Flags, the resume is a candidate’s way of telling their story and advertising themselves. However, you need to be diligent in verifying the story they are telling you on their resume. One of the most common resume deceptions we have encountered is educational background. Many candidates’ resumes will reflect degrees they have not actually earned. It is important to question them. If the candidate is willing to be less than truthful about that, what else should you be on the lookout for?

9. Bragging

The interview is a way for the candidate to shine and make a good impression on a future employer. Showing they are proud of their work and accomplishments is acceptable. However, excessive bragging may indicate the candidate is too focused on themselves. Candidates should be able to talk about teamwork and their accomplishments equally while discussing how they went above and beyond for the client.

10. Too prepared

We like to have prepared and professional candidates that have done their homework. However, candidates that seem to answer questions quickly with canned responses, may be “experienced” interviewees. They may have been asked the same questions several times by other interviewers and already have prepared responses. If you suspect your candidate is too prepared, ask them interview questions from this list to find out how they measure up.

In conclusion

Interviewing candidates can be hard and time-consuming. However, if you pay attention to any potential interview red flags, interviewing just got a lot easier and could prevent you from making a wrong hire.

If you have any additional questions regarding this article please feel free to reach out, we are here to help.

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