April 12, 2019

Nine Recruiting Red Flags

Vicki Cline

Vicki Cline
Owner/Sales Co-Sourcing

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Have you ever interviewed someone who was perfect on paper, sailed through the hiring process, and shortly it becomes apparent the new employee is just not working out? 

The cost of a bad hire is more than dollar and cents.  From a recent survey conducted by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) interviewing over 2,100 CFOs, ninety-five percent of respondents said a poor hiring decision at least somewhat impacts the morale of the team, with more than one-third (35 percent) saying morale is greatly affected.  A bad hire effects productivity, employee morale, and client relationships.

There are many signs when deciding if a candidate is a good or bad hire for your company.   Here are a few red flags to watch for and avoid:


Red Flag #1 A suspicious work history


Job hopping from one company to another, gaps in employment, and misleading job descriptions are a few areas of caution.


Red Flag #2  Showing up late


Unless communicated to the interviewer an unavoidable situation has occurred, not arriving on time indicates negligent performance which will likely continue as an employee.  


Red Flag 3  Lack of interest


Interviewees who have not done research on the company, come without prepared questions, and do not show an interest the organization’s goals and plans signifies a lackadaisical approach their performance and how they will contribute to the mission of the company.


Red Flag 4 “I” candidates


Only hearing “I” stories with little to no reference about others contributing to reach a goal generally indicates the candidate will experience problems in a team environment.


Red Flag #5 “We” candidates


Vice-versa, the overuse of “we” can be a red flag.  The candidate may be incapable of expressing their particular contributions they have made and previous successes.


Red Flag #6 Ramblers


Candidates who talk or write a lot without actually saying anything. Look for hard examples of past employment performance. 

Red Flag #7 Lengthy career transition justifications


Professionals generally have simple response why they have changed positions.  Any lengthy response is typically a not so well-rehearsed justification.


Red Flag # 8 No Weakness


If a prospective candidate is unable to express an example of a personal weakness it should be considered as a red flag.   Individuals who are not aware of their own flaws typically are not accountable for their own actions. 


Red Flag # 9 Phone Usage


Texting, surfing, taking notes, answering a call or switching to silent after the interview has begun shows the candidate’s lack of preparation and respect.

Of course, each of these potential red flags should be 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.

Comments? You can contact me directly via my AdvisoryCloud profile.

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