• howtohire

7 Interview 'Red Flags' To Watch Out For

Updated: Apr 15

When it comes to sitting down with a job applicant for an in person interview, it’s ok to ask the tough questions.

In fact, if you’re in the business of running a successful business, you may want to map out your interview questions based on the applicant’s resume and cover letter. There are eyebrow raising red flags you should be on the lookout for. What top recruiters know is you will learn more from a candidate’s body language, attitude and what they’re not saying, than you ever will from the actual responses. Here are the red flags to be alert to when it comes to choosing candidates and the interview phases:

1. Just can’t quite commit The job hopper. The candidate who wants to spend a few months doing a little bit of everything to figure out what career really fits their personality. You’re likely not in a test phase when it comes to hiring managers for your restaurant or hotel, so don’t bet on someone who changes with the wind. If the interviewee comes through your doors a serial career tester, they’re likely not going to change for you.

2. No one can vouch for them Check out the references provided by your candidate. Anything missing? If an applicant can’t provide a previous supervisor as a reference, you may be entering red flag territory. Simply put, if your candidate doesn’t want you speaking with their former manager, there’s probably a reason.

3. Mr. or Ms. Attitude Just as you should never hire someone simply because you like them, same goes for qualified applicants with a bad attitude. While experience and skills are certainly important when it comes to finding your next manager, you need to find someone who will fit into your work culture. Change can be tough enough on your team, but bringing in someone who doesn’t even put forth the effort of being considerate and polite will have your other employees running for the exit sign.

4. Dismissed the details Proofreading a resume and cover letter is a must. Misspellings and grammatical errors can suggest a lack of attention to detail. Think about it. While a misplaced comma may not seem earthshattering, the difference in “150” and “1500” on your inventory records is only a “0,” right? Attention to detail should be required when it comes to leading your company.

5. Email or voicemail makes you blush Professionalism is extremely important, even when it comes to the “small” things. If a candidate’s email address takes you back to junior year at State, it may be time to move on. Same goes for the greeting on a candidate’s phone. If the message explains the person can’t answer the phone because they’re [fill in the blank with any unacceptable or illegal action], move on.

6. The candidate is late Your time is valuable, and a well prepared candidate knows that. An applicant who strolls in 10 minutes late for an interview has no perspective on how their work, or lack thereof, affects others in the workplace. In fact, The Creative Group reports seven in 10 hiring managers said they would immediately discount interviewees who don’t at least acknowledge their late arrival. If a candidate is late for the interview, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be late to work.

7. Nothing to learn from the last job One of the top questions recruiters often ask job candidates is “explain a bad day on the job in a previous position and how you handled the situation.” If an applicant can’t clearly define what they learned from a difficult situation, you may be in the red territory. You need a leader who can not only handle tough situations when they arise, but someone who will also learn from the experience and know how to avoid that challenge in the future.

It’s not always easy spotting the professional interviewee, but if you keep these red flag warnings in mind, it may make your next managerial hire a bit smoother.


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