10 Mar, 2022

5 Warning Signals When Interviewing Job Candidates

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New Hires
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Written by
Amit Volinits
Interviewing potential hires is an intricate process that requires strategy, critical thinking, and great insight into human behavior. All these skills come in handy when you need to narrow down your selection and ensure that you get the best person for the role. 

“Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture.” – Howard Schulz

Some behaviors and characteristics can help you discern whether or not a candidate will be a good fit for your company. For example, the following 5 red flags that you can look out for during interviews:

Arriving late to the interview

Tardiness anywhere is a terrible habit but to an interview? It's practically unforgivable. If a candidate arrives later than the scheduled time for their interview, they’ll likely be late to work if they get the job. 

While sometimes there might be extenuating circumstances that lead to the candidate's lateness, being late is often an indicator of poor planning on their part and may point to them not taking the position seriously. It’s also indicative of poor time management skills, which means they’ll likely struggle with completing work and projects on time, and that bad hire will cost your company a lot. 

Lacking specific work examples

Most interviews will call for the candidate to provide examples from their previous jobs where they tackled a certain problem or worked through a situation they might face in your company. Failure to provide these examples, especially where technical answers about the role are required, often highlights inexperience.

These examples are the best, quickest way to determine whether the candidate will be able to fulfill certain demands of the role. For example, you can ask them to give an example of a conflict they had with a former co-worker and how they resolved it to determine if they handle workplace conflict effectively. 

Saying bad things about former employers

During an interview, candidates are likely to reference previous jobs and former employers. What they say about these is very telling of their character. For example, if the candidate speaks badly of their previous job or employer, there’s a high chance they’ll speak ill of you as well in the future. 

That behavior points to a poor work ethic and indicates that the candidate may contribute to the creation of a toxic workplace culture if you hire them, where they’ll gossip about employers and other employees, sowing the seeds of conflict.   

Answering many questions incorrectly

A candidate getting a few questions wrong is nothing out of the ordinary, but if most of their answers are incorrect and not even relevant to the question, this shows they have inadequate listening skills. 

Bad listeners often have trouble comprehending instructions, which is disastrous for any workplace. In addition, poor listening skills contribute to conflict among the employees involved, which affects productivity at work. 

Unprepared for the interview

A candidate’s behavior during an interview is the first impression they present to you as a potential employer. Therefore, any indication of unpreparedness says a lot about them and whether you should hire them or not.

Things to look out for in this case include the candidate not having all required documents for the interview, failing to answer general interview questions, or basic ones about your company, which highlights lacking initiative.

“Hiring the wrong people is the fastest way to undermine a sustainable business.” – Kevin J. Donaldson

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