This is How You Can Spot a Bad Hire During an Interview

One of the most critical things you can do for your company is to learn how to spot a bad hire. As reported in Harvard Business Review, 80 percent of employee turnover is attributed to bad hiring decisions. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) places the cost of a bad hire at five times the individual’s annual salary.

Look for these candidate red flags to avoid becoming part of these alarming statistics:

Lack of Preparation

A candidate should have at least a basic knowledge of your company and its mission, as well as your product and industry. They should also be able to provide a succinct summary of their qualifications. All this should be part of their strong case for why you should hire them.

  • You can spot unpreparedness at any point during an interview, but a good indicator may come towards the end. When you ask them what questions they have, they should come through with well thought out queries that show they are engaged and enthused and have done their homework.


Of course, candidates are going to talk about themselves during a job interview. But, look for those who also include others in their answers.

  • Listen for a “we mentality” versus a “me mentality.” When you ask about projects an applicant has been a part of, they should acknowledge team success, not just their own achievements.
  • Ask about a situation where one of their coworkers did something impressive. You can learn a lot by how the response is formed.
  • Candidates should display a willingness to take ownership. This includes instances where mistakes were made. Do they place all the blame on others yet, when discussing successes, make it all about themselves? This should lead you to question some key qualities you desire in your team members, including teamwork, honesty, and integrity.

Lack of Enthusiasm

If a candidate seems genuinely excited about your company and the position, this enthusiasm will likely spill over onto the job. Likewise, if they appear bored or “checked out” during an interview, this is a good sign you should take a pass on them. Look for passion, curiosity, and a willingness to hit the ground running.

Lack of Professionalism

From the moment a candidate arrives, you can begin gauging their professionalism and whether or not you’d want them to be a representative of your organization.

  • It starts with being on time. Poor punctuality could indicate a problem with overall accountability. Unless there’s a rock-solid excuse for a person’s tardiness, it also shows a lack of respect.
  • Also, pay attention to a candidate’s appearance. What are they wearing? For most interviews, a sharp, appropriate suit or outfit is standard. A fashion faux pas may signal immaturity, arrogance, or disinterest.
  • Monitor their demeanor: Did they greet each of their interviewers with confidence, courtesy, and a firm handshake? Do they practice good posture or slouch in their seats? Keep an eye on this throughout your conversation.

To make better hires, start with a better hiring blueprint. The PrideStaff Modesto team can help you target the best talent, conduct effective interviews, reduce time to hire – and avoid those dreaded mistakes. Contact us today to learn more.

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