Hiring a staff of quality employees is a serious undertaking, and making the wrong decision can cost your business dearly. Not recognizing the red flags may thwart the success of a new hire and undermine your job and your business’ credibility. If any of these red flags come up during the interview process, you should pass and bring in the next dynamic candidate on your list.
First impressions count.
The power of a first impression is all you or your HR department can go on initially. Underestimating the significance can cost you a quality candidate. Obviously candidates arriving to an interview late spoil a first impression.
“Trust your gut when it comes to evaluating someone's weak eye contact, loose handshake or overall presentation,” says Ayana Pilgrim-Brown, a Career & Life Purpose Coach, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "If someone does not demonstrate care in how they present themselves, how much will they demonstrate care for what they do for you and your business?"
Have your BS radar on.
Flowery and vague responses do not tell you anything about the candidate other than that he or she is not prepared. When a candidate has offered no evidence of taking the time to do any fundamental research on the company – be it about the products, customers, or services –that’s a cue to show that person the door. Over-done confidence mixed with a lack of preparation is a clue that a candidate is likely full of it. Look out for liars, those with a poor attitude, and any insincerity. Those details negate any good on-paper attributes.
“There's a good chance it's because they don't have [the answers] or they lack the confidence in their previous results,” says Pilgrim-Brown. “If a result sounds too good to be true, probe."
Probe for context to explain great successes.
Candidates should be able to put their major accomplishments into context. Candidates who struggle to explain how they achieved those strong results are most likely overstating their performance.
Look for people who take responsibility for failures and mistakes.
Those who cannot own up to making a mistake are not team players. Candidates who heap the blame on coworkers, bosses, a lack of resources, or make other excuses may just be projecting their own issues. People who can admit their errors are better employees because, well, they’re human and humans make mistakes. It’s their approach to what went wrong and who is at fault that matters most.
Be watchful of how a candidate interacts with all staff.
The interview process begins the moment the candidate walks into the door. He or she should treat the receptionist, security guards, and the CEO, all with the same level of respect. A good tactic is to bring candidates in for several rounds of interviews and have various senior and junior staff members interview the candidate to allow for a variety of perspectives.
Look into what is provided on the resume and cover letter.
Do not just take the written claims as gospel. Check out the facts stated on the resume and cover letter. Ask detailed questions and expect detailed answers. When the response is vague and lacks information, something is fishy.
Don't downplay the significance of the Q&A portion of the interview.
There is a lot you can learn about a candidate's motivation and commitment level when the first questions from a candidate are about salary and promotion.
"This could be a sign they are not content with a position at this level and will not likely stay for very long," says Pilgrim-Brown.
Consider this: Hiring the right staff is like inviting a stranger into your home. You want to know all you can about this person who potentially will become a part of your everyday life for many years. A bad choice destroys workplace harmony and lessens the confidence other staff members and clients have in you and your company.
If done right, you should not have to repeat the hiring process anytime soon – unless you are itching to perfect your firing skills.