In some ways, an interview is like espionage. You have to read the person you are interviewing to determine whether they are friend or foe. Of course they will put their best foot forward for you in the interview room, so you must find out whether that foot is genuine or whether it is deceptive.
Properly detecting the “real” person you are hiring is essential. Hiring someone who turns out to be a poor worker has repercussions on many different levels within the company. So how can bad hires be avoided? Avoid hiring mistakes by keeping an eye out for these red flags:
Your organization has values, a vision, and a mission that every member of the team needs to strive toward. If a particular interviewee doesn’t show much conviction over the principles the company stands for, then it is best to send them on their way. A strong company is one where all members of the team share a vision. Any disunity or disinterest weighs the ship down and makes it drift off course. It’s critical to understand how to spot lack of interest. So do things that signal interest. Ask them questions as they relate to your company culture, and really gauge their interest to see if they’re a great fit for your team.
Lacking a proper understanding of the job description.
If a potential employee does not seem to know what job they are getting themselves into, this may be a red flag. Perhaps the job posting was vague or poorly communicated the activities involved in this position, or the interviewee did not pay any attention to the carefully crafted job description when they applied for the opening.
If the latter is true, you may just want to let this person walk. Not having a concrete idea of the work and still applying for the vacancy can communicate that this person is ill-prepared and views this opportunity merely as a paycheck. Getting them to capture the vision and mission of the company is unlikely.
In some countries, someone is not considered late until a half hour past the agreed upon meeting time. That isn’t how our culture works. Punctuality shows responsibility and respect to whom you are meeting. If an interviewee is late for a meeting or phone call, they are probably revealing natural habits they possess. So if punctuality is important to you and your clientele, sending the late person home early might be a good idea.
Nobody’s perfect. And it’s a real problem if someone thinks they are. Beware of those who, during an interview, cannot think of any weaknesses they possess. This shows a great lack of self-awareness and delusion on their part. This makes it hard to trust their judgment. Not only that, but this abrasive characteristic may wreak havoc on their potential teammates in the workplace. Let the person who thinks they’re perfect believe that the reason you didn’t hire them is that they are overqualified. No one needs “perfection” like that.
Did they seriously just check their phone in the middle of the interview? Tell them to use the GPS on their phone and take a hike. The inability to remain focused and present in such a setting as an interview screams volumes about how they will work with their coworkers and clients. Just to be clear, there are some circumstances that allow for a glance at the phone. Perhaps their wife is pregnant or a relative is sick. In situations such as these, it would be responsible for the interviewee to inform you as to what is going on. Simple communication speaks wonders about their work habits.
If no references are listed on their application or the app is filled with carefully selected friends rather than former managers, then this may be a red flag. Perhaps this signals a poor working relationship with authority. Maybe this means they never leave a job on a good note. Ask about their previous position. Feel free to contact a previous manager they had by looking through their work history and giving the place of business a call. Get to the bottom of things. You want an employee that is a pleasure, not a pain.
Letting the little things slide.
Pay attention to those who say that they will email you a particular link or send you a certain document and then never follow through. Small things like that reveal much about their work habits. Will they dot their I’s and cross their T’s? Or will there be a whole lot of loose ends and empty promises lying around? Keep things clean. Make sure to hire people who follow through on what they say they will do. Your coworkers and clients will thank you.
You think about settling for them.
Beware of the thought process that says you may as well hire them even though you’re not convinced they are the best person for the job. You have a void that needs filling and up to this point they are the most qualified. Yet, there is something that doesn’t sit right. Don’t cave in. Even though it may require some creative and a few headaches to cover for an empty position, in the long run it will save you and your coworkers the migraines that come due to an ill-equipped employee. Stay the course. Keep looking. In the end, finding the right person is best.
With that knowledge, we’ve vetted our talent to ensure these red flags are minimized. With us, you know you’re hiring quality. You’re hiring someone who is the perfect fit for your job.
Ronny Cheng is one of the Co-Founder’s of Digital Astronauts and has helped drive lead generation in the software industry for organizations of all sizes — from start-ups to Fortune 500’s. He helped build one of the first online software review websites, specializing in CRM, ERP, and HR software. He’s a nationally published author with extensive experience working with the HR/Recruiting industries largest brands. In his spare time, you can catch him on Instagram doing his best food blogger impersonation.