Learn Which Hiring Red Flags to Spot During the Job Interview Process
If you’re a hiring manager or a small business owner who has gone through the hiring and job interview process, you know how difficult it can be finding the right person. Mainly because you first have to sort through all the wrong people.
But how can you tell right from wrong?
While there’s no secret code or magic bullet to figure out the good from the bad, there are some general tricks and hints to point you in the right direction. And if you’re a grizzled veteran of conducting job interviews, you probably already know sometimes you can just sense something off about a candidate, even if he/she looks good on paper. But regardless of gut instincts, there are certain red flags and behaviors that could mean you’ve got someone you should probably think twice about hiring.
Ever have a person who seems to be a good candidate at first, but then you have a bunch of little things go wrong? He sends an email but the resume isn’t attached. You ask him to bring references to the interview but he forgets. You ask him to follow up on something after the interview, three days go by, and you have to send another prompt to him.
If someone is genuinely interested in a job and really wants to work there, he’ll make the best impression possible and do his utmost to cross every t and dot every i. If you start noticing he doesn’t pay much attention to detail and you constantly have to be on him even in the interview process, what do you think it’ll be like when he’s hired and working for your team on a full-time basis?
References aren’t everything, but they are important.
If you look down the list of a candidate’s references and notice irregularities, think about what that might mean. Are half of her references from her family’s business where she worked for a year out of college, and consist of her uncle and her mother? Are all the references from her coworkers instead of anyone in management? That’s pretty important because it could mean she wasn’t comfortable going to any of her former bosses for a recommendation. There’s probably a reason for that and it’s likely not good.
Confidence is good. Arrogance? Not so much.
This one is tough because where is the line drawn between confidence and arrogance? On one hand, you want someone who believes in himself and is confident in his abilities. But on the other hand, too much of anything is not usually good, and that includes too much confidence. If you cross the line to arrogance or condescending superiority, you’re going to have a problem. A confident candidate believes in himself but still sees the value of other perspectives and points of view. An arrogant candidate will talk about how wonderful he is, and then denigrate others in an attempt to build himself up. Or completely exclude team members because he believes he already has all the answers.
If you’re looking for someone who cuts through the bull, it’s important to listen carefully to how they answer questions in the interview.
The whole “ask a simple question, get a simple answer” motto is easier said than found. If you’re interested in straight talk but you’re getting meandering answers that barely address the question and are filled with jargon and industry speak, that’s going to be an issue going forward. It’s important to find someone who is going to give you what you’re looking for, and if she’s using evasive language and talking around everything in the interview, you have to wonder whether or not she actually has any real answers.
Even if you’re hiring someone for an entry-level position, you’ll want to see a track record of success.
Have you looked at the resume and been surprised you didn’t see any big wins? Wondered where the big projects and campaigns are? If you have a candidate who has been in the workforce for several years and has no milestones or accomplishments to speak of, that could be a very big problem. Where is the initiative? Did his bosses not trust him enough to put him in a leadership position at any point in time? Has he been in the same job for many years with no upward movement? These are all questions you’ll want to be answered before you think about moving forward.
If you’re interviewing someone and they don’t even have a handle on the job responsibilities which are clearly listed in the ad, then proceed at your own risk.
A candidate who is truly interested will have done some research and due diligence beforehand. She will have reviewed the specifics of the job in question, and also performed research on the company in general. That way she’ll still have good questions to ask during the interview, but they’ll be well beyond the basics which should already be known. So if the first question she asks is “So, what is this job all about?” there’s a good possibility you can move on to the next person in line.
All the accomplishments and professional successes don’t mean a thing if the person is a bad fit for the company culture.
This is especially true if the new hire needs to work in a team environment, because nothing destroys existing good morale more than a bad apple who spoils the bunch. And from a corporate perspective, if you’re a startup and this person has only worked for large, heavily-structured companies, then that could be a problem as well. In the end, a positive culture fit and personality match might be more essential than any other component.
Once you figure out who not to hire, you’ll eventually make someone of your choosing an offer. But how much for that employee? And how much for the position? Salary.com for Business has these answers and then some.