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Companies take a risk every time they hire new employees, which is why looking out for red flags during interviews has become critical. A few meetings and calls won’t tell you everything you need to know about a candidate’s skills, competencies, attitude, and personality.
Usually, a candidate will put their best face forward during the interview. They will try to tell interviewers what they want to hear in order to get the job. Being able to recognize red flags can prevent the high future costs of a poor employment decision. Here are some telltale signs to watch for when you meet with a potential employee.
Background Screening Problems
Discovering small issues with an applicant’s background check, such as inconsistencies in their employment history or a poor driving record, raises questions regarding the extent to which they’re willing to take responsibility. It’s important to judge whether the inconsistencies can be overlooked.
No Indication of Researching the Company
Applicants today are expected to do at least some basic research on the company they claim they want to work for. It’s not a good sign if they have no idea what your products or services are or who your clients are. Even before applying for a job, qualified candidates will do research or at least visit the company website because they know being familiar with your needs and challenges will give them a competitive advantage.
They will demonstrate an interest in the company by displaying this familiarity and by customizing their application documents. All of this will give you important insight into their work habits and abilities.
Sometimes a candidate not only doesn’t know anything about the company, but they are also rude. For example, you ask, “What do you know about our company?” and they say, “I was expecting you to tell me more.” An inexperienced interviewer will proceed to talk about the company. An experienced one will see the red flag.
Multiple Career Path Changes
An inconsistent career path on the resume may indicate the person gets bored with new things quickly and won’t be willing to commit to the routine associated with the job.
Unsubstantiated Cover Letter and Resume Claims
It is concerning if the candidate can’t give an example in response to a behavioral or technical interview question. It shows they might not have the job experience they claim to. While you can’t expect them to provide an example for each one of your questions, they should be able to come up with an acceptable response based on their experience.
Experienced interviewers always look for evidence substantiating claims on a cover letter or resume. They probe for details about job successes, failures, and performance in general. Few things are as telling as someone who can’t recount a work event when asked about details. A candidate who claims he managed a few employees should be able to name steps they took to handle someone’s poor work behavior, for example. If they can’t, it’s easy to see they had no management functions.
Patchy Employment History
Quitting jobs over disagreements, job-hopping, and employment gaps all indicate the person may be unreliable as an employee. People who have quit jobs because they didn’t agree with their supervisors or company policy are likely to behave the same way going forward.
Changing jobs or relocating for new ones often makes it impossible for people to settle down in one place or one job long enough to carry out big projects or establish seniority.
Finally, inexplicable employment gaps imply the person has problems getting or holding down a job due to personality or performance problems.
Missing Personal Details
Missing mailing addresses, invalid phone numbers, and outdated email addresses are also red flags. If an applicant does not give you an email address or a phone number on their resume or provides an email on a domain like aol.com, it might mean they lack the electronic communication skills or technological knowledge that some jobs require. Someone who didn’t include a mailing address on their application documents might not be living in the area currently. They omit this information so they won’t get rejected right off the bat. If you hire them, they’ll start late. They wouldn’t have started planning their relocation before getting the offer.
While you can’t expect a candidate to love their ex-boss or coworkers, they should maintain a professional tone during the interview. This means no gossiping, complaining, and mudslinging.
There are things beyond these red flags that you need to be alert to as an employer. Sometimes there won’t be anything specific. There’s just something “off” about the candidate. Observe answers to questions keenly when recruiting, selecting, and hiring. You’ll save the company problems down the line.
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