In an interview, there are obvious warning signs that a candidate may not be a good fit (such as taking a call during the interview), and then there are less-obvious warning signs. As the interviewer, your role is to identify areas of concern and discover whether these red flags may be indicative of future poor performance.
Red Flag for Interviewers: Job Hopping
When assessing a serial job hopper, keep in mind that some candidates make rookie mistakes like including all their college internships on their resume. It’s also possible they worked in an industry heavily impacted by the global pandemic, which led to multiple jobs in a short span of time.
To assess whether their work history may be a red flag, ask the candidate these two questions:
- Why did you leave your last job?
- Why did you take the next one?
Red Flag for Interviewers: Grammatical Errors
Most recruiters would say bad grammar is an instant dealbreaker, but weeding out every misspelled resume may severely limit your options. Consider the position they’re applying for before giving them the axe; an auto mechanic should definitely get more slack than a blog writer.
Red Flag for Interviewers: Not Following Application Instructions
Nearly every position requires the ability to follow instructions, regardless of it being a highly independent job. If a candidate is unable to follow application instructions, we quote comedian Bill Engvall: “Here’s your sign.”
Red Flag for Interviewers: Vague Answers
“I don’t know” is one of the most cringe-worthy responses, although you’ve already learned from our body language tips to hold your reaction until after the interview. Before tossing out the applicant, consider rewording the question and asking again to rule out any confusion.
Red Flag for Interviewers: Complaining about Former Boss/Coworkers
Candidates that badmouth a former or current employer are typically a sign of a toxic person. Steer clear.
Red Flag for Interviewers: Failing to Research Your Company
In today’s digital world, researching a company is easier than ever. However, a candidate who doesn’t know much about your company should be a lesser concern on the requirement scale than others. It’s possible they’ve been applying for multiple jobs and flying from work to interviews, knowing their current company is going out of business in a month. On the other hand, candidates that have researched your company deserve to stand out from others.
Red Flag for Interviewers: Rehearsed Responses
While nobody loves a canned response, this should be more of an indicator that you’re asking a terrible question than a lack of the candidate’s creativity. For example, “What is your greatest weakness?” is an old-school question begging for a rehearsed response. Consider asking more thought-provoking questions.
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