When you’re interviewing job candidates, your goal is to find the right person for the job. This means finding and weeding out the weakest applicants as you narrow down your list and ultimately make the right match.
Watch for these warning signs in candidates. Often, they are harbingers of bigger, long-term issues.
Unless there is a compelling and valid reason, showing up late for a job interview is an immediate red flag. Punctuality issues may indicate a problem with overall accountability.
- Being late shows a lack of attention to important details. It also indicates that a person does not value other’s time. Last but not least, it smacks of disrespect. A phone call to alert you of tardiness before the appointment may mitigate some of the damage, but only the first time.
Lack of Enthusiasm
If two candidates are equally or nearly equally qualified, consider hiring the one who shows more enthusiasm for the role. You want someone who demonstrates passion and is ready to jump in and get started.
- Enthusiastic candidates are more likely to grow with the job. People who are excited about their work also want to get better and better at it. They will invest time in learning and development, both on the job and on their own time.
Short on Details
A person’s strength around attention to detail runs much deeper than the words on their resume – but that’s a good place to start. Also, pay attention to how they answer questions during your meeting. You need a clear, straight thinker who can provide information in an accurate and concise way.
- Use behavioral based interview questions. Look for responses that include concrete details of specific experiences and accomplishments. If a candidate rambles on or doesn’t speak to what you have asked, you can expect the same behavior once they are hired.
A candidate should be able to offer a previous employer as a reference – regardless of how strong their other references may be. Candidates without legitimate references are too dangerous to risk hurting your business or damaging your own reputation.
- If an individual’s references do not include their previous manager, this usually indicates that their old boss will not speak positively of them. Keep in mind, however, that you are not limited to the list provided to you by the applicant. You can reach out on your own to anyone you like. Or, you can ask the candidate to put you in touch with specific people with whom you’d like to speak.
It comes back again to a person’s resume and cover letter. This is where they should be representing themselves in their very best light. If these documents are less than perfect, this may also represent how a candidate will approach their work.
- A sloppy first impression is never a good sign. If candidates are careless from the start, they may be even less conscientious once they’re on board. In addition to their resume and cover letter, take a close look at their LinkedIn profile – as well as any other documents or platforms they make available.
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