8 Red Flags to Watch for During an Interview


As a recruiter, being able to quickly and accurately assess a candidate’s suitability for the job you’re trying to fill is critical. In addition to knowing what skills and attributes to look for it can also be helpful to know what warning signs might indicate a bad fit. This can help you to efficiently narrow your selection and focus only on those applicants who are most likely to fit the bill. That being said, here are eight red flags to watch for during the interview process.

Late – The inability to arrive to an interview on time can be a red flag for a number of reasons. First, it demonstrates unprofessional behavior and a lack of respect for the recruiter’s time. It can also be a sign that the candidate struggles with time management skills. Of course, there could also be a legitimate explanation, so listen to their reasoning before passing judgment.
Unprofessional Appearance -They say first impressions are important, and perhaps in no other scenario is this truer than during a job interview. Candidates don’t necessarily have to show up in an expensive three-piece suit, but their attire should at least present a professional appearance. Lack of effort in this area could be an indicator of the candidate’s poor attention to detail and job performance.

Lack of Eye Contact – Sure, people get nervous during interviews, but if the person you are sitting down with can’t seem to make or maintain adequate eye contact throughout the time you spend together, it could be a sign that he or she isn’t being honest about something.

Inability to Back Up Claims – An impressive resume is one thing, but if the person you’re interviewing shies away from questions that dig deeper into certain details about their background or experience, it may be due to false claims or over-exaggeration.

Erratic or Inconsistent Career Path – Given the state of the economy over the past decade or so, it’s not unheard of for a highly qualified candidate to have a few bumps along their career path, but a job history that has a lot of gaps or an unusual number of changes in industry or location may indicate a candidate has trouble fitting in or making a commitment. At the very least, it should warrant a request for clarification.

Negativity – There’s obviously a reason why the person you’re interviewing is looking to change careers or employers, but if he or she spends the entire meeting complaining or bad-mouthing their present or previous employer, it’s probably a good idea to move on.

Overconfidence – There’s a fine line between being confident and being arrogant. Obviously you want a candidate who knows what he or she is doing, but you also want someone who is capable of working well with others, being a team player and fitting into the employer’s culture. Be wary of those who spend too much time bragging and not enough time listening and learning.

No Questions– An interview shouldn’t be only about the recruiter asking questions of the candidate, but rather a two-way exchange for each to learn more about the other and determine if the job is a good fit for both. As such, a good applicant should have questions of his or her own. No questions doesn’t necessarily mean you should rule someone out, but keep in mind that it could indicate that they either didn’t prepare well, they lack ambition or communication skills or they’re simply not interested.

Of course, each of these potential red flags should be taken with a grain of salt and weighed on a case by case basis, but knowing what to watch for can help you weed out those candidates that are probably not worth pursuing any further so you can focus your time and efforts elsewhere.

Ashley Morgan

Author: Ashley Morgan

Ashley is the Director of Marketing at HiringThing, an award-winner online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.