When you’re looking for a right-fit candidate, it’s normal to focus on specific must-have skills related to the job you’re filling. However, you also need to look deeper, ensuring there aren’t any red flags that could indicate a problem.

A bad attitude, unwillingness to learn or change, poor culture fit, undeveloped soft skills, and a slew of other issues can make a candidate that looks great on paper a terrible hire. By knowing the potential warning signs of a poor match, you can make sure you don’t accidentally move forward with the wrong candidate.

Here’s a look at five important tidbits to notice when looking for red flags in interviews.

1. A History of Contentious Exits

If a candidate seems hostile or defensive about their past jobs and indicates that they didn’t necessarily leave on the best of terms, that’s a warning sign. While any professional may have a rough exit in their broader history, several contentious ends could indicate that the candidate is the source of the problem.

Similarly, the inability to speak positively about any past managers or colleagues is the same kind of red flag. It suggests that the job seeker may be particularly combative or, at a minimum, lacks self-awareness about the role they play in those equations, neither of which is good.

2. Outdated or Inappropriate Email Addresses

The email address a candidate lists on their resume can be surprisingly revealing. If a candidate lists an outdated email address, it may indicate that they aren’t particularly tech-savvy. If their email address is based on the humor of a teenager, it could suggest that they struggle with professionalism or lack attention to detail.

Finally, listing an email address associated with their current workplace is potentially problematic. It may reflect a lack of appropriate boundaries, as well as shows that they’re engaging in job search activities while on the clock at another company. The only exception here is internal candidates, as using a workplace email or using work time to pursue the opportunity may be permitted by company policy.

3. Arriving to the Interview Late (or Barely on Time)

Tardiness to a job interview is a potential sign of poor time management and organization. In some cases, it could even be construed as disrespectful, especially if the candidate is cavalier about their lateness.

However, squeaking through the door right when the interview is supposed to begin is also a potential red flag. Being barely on time may also be a sign of potential time management challenges, especially since the normal convention is to arrive a bit early.

The only exception here is genuinely unprecedented events – such as a major, unavoidable traffic accident that ground everything to a halt – and calling in as soon as they were aware of a problem. If they reached out before the interview, showing they were on their way at an appropriate time, and it’s clear that a lack of planning isn’t what made them late, then this isn’t necessarily a red flag.

4. Asking Questions They Could Easily Answer with Research

While asking questions during the interview can be a sign of an engaged candidate, if they’re focused on information they could easily gather by heading to your company website or reviewing the job description, that’s a bad sign. It indicates that they didn’t take the time to try and find their own answers, which suggests a lack of basic preparation.

5. Bragging or Saying They Lack Flaws

While confident candidates are a good thing, outright bragging typically isn’t. It may indicate the employee is overly sure about their capabilities or isn’t a team player. Similarly, claiming they lack any weaknesses suggests they aren’t remarkably self-aware.

Ultimately, looking out for the five things above is wise during an interview. If you’d like to learn more about how you can find exceptional candidates, the team at TempStaff can help. Contact us today.



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