Separating the Wheat From the Chaff: 8 Red Flags to Be Wary of When Interviewing a Candidate

Interviews provide employers with the chance to get to know potential hires but it’s impossible to make an accurate judgment call about someone’s work style, personality, and drive based on just a few short meetings. That’s why it’s essential for interviewing managers to pay attention to their intuition. Read on to find out about eight red flags to look out for during interviews that may indicate it’s best to go with someone else.

Bragging About Other Job Offers

Candidates might assume their arrogance makes them look confident but interviewers should know better. Arrogance isn’t a great trait when it comes to professional networking and if the candidate is really on the fence about which job to take it speaks volumes as to how long he or she might stick around. There’s a fine line between transparency and arrogance, so those who aren’t sure how to interpret a candidate’s comments should get help over at

Lack of Passion

Interviewing managers should be on the lookout for a job candidate who is passionate about the company’s products or services. Good candidates do some research, learn about the companies they are applying to, and get to know not just the position but also the company’s values. Studies show that motivation directly impacts employee productivity and potential, so if an employee doesn’t even know what the company sells, that’s a huge red flag.

Suspicious Work History

Interviewers should have candidates walk through their work histories and give a detailed explanation of why they left each position. Keep an eye out for victim mentalities like blaming past failures on colleagues or managers. It’s a good sign that the candidate will not be able to learn from his or her mistakes.

Inconsistent Career Path

Even if the candidate is able to offer a suitable explanation for why he or she left each job if each of those jobs was in a completely different field that’s usually a red flag. It means the candidate gets bored quickly. Chances are, the same thing will happen again.

Unexplained Gaps in Employment

There are some legitimate reasons to take time off from pursuing a career such as going back to school, starting a family, or dealing with health problems. If a candidate has many employment gaps in his or her resume, ask for an explanation. Those who can’t provide good reasons have usually had trouble finding work due to performance or personality problems and should be avoided.

Arriving Late

Interviews are important and job candidates should treat them that way. If they’re late for interviews, just think about what that likely means for their job performance if they get hired.

Poor Listening Skills

Candidates should listen carefully to questions and give direct answers. If they seem to get lost in the conversation or offer responses that seem out of left field, it may mean they have communication problems.

Not Asking Questions

Ambitious candidates won’t just answer questions clearly and directly. They’ll also ask some of their own. Candidates who don’t have any questions to ask about a new position may be trying to hide a lack of understanding or they may just lack ambition.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right candidate for a job is important at all levels but it’s particularly essential when hiring managers or executives. Those who aren’t sure they can accurately read job candidates shouldn’t be afraid to enlist some outside help.


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