Hiring a new team member is a bit like getting engaged after the third date. You’re making a big decision with a limited amount of information. There are three methods of reducing new hire risk. Increase the amount of information you have about the candidate, draw new insights from the information that you already have, or work with an experienced recruiter who specializes in your field.
We’re going to focus on the second method and share the warning signs to watch for when hiring a new team member.
- This is pretty self-explanatory. In today’s job market, candidates must proofread and present pristine resumes. If they don’t spend the time to review a 1-2 page document what does that say about their professionalism, preparation, and attention to detail?
- Bad traffic, accidents, and car trouble happen every day. However, lateness suggests that the candidate didn’t proactively plan ahead and build buffer time into their schedule. While not the biggest red flag on our list, it is a mark against the candidate.
- Much like their resume, a candidate’s appearance should be professional and pristine. First impressions are critical to the job interview process. How serious can someone be about the opportunity if they don’t bother to dress the part?
Lack of Research
- In our opinion, this is the biggest job interview sin on the list. In the internet age, there’s simply no excuse for failing to brush up on the history, products, and key players within a firm. If you ask a candidate “Are you familiar with our firm?” and they are not, you can probably end the interview right there.
Explain Their Interest
- Ask your candidate “Why this position? Why our firm?”. There are a lot of correct responses, but just a few wrong ones. If he or she doesn’t have an answer, says something like “A job is a job”, or “My mortgage won’t pay itself” you aren’t dealing with someone who is legitimately interested in your firm.
- Anyone who runs down their former employer or co-workers won’t hesitate to speak ill about your firm in the future. Integrity could be an issue for this candidate.
Doesn’t Take Responsibility
- We all make mistakes and, hopefully, learn from them. A candidate who won’t admit to failing or making mistakes in the past are either delusional, egotistical, or lacking self-awareness. All three traits are to be avoided.
- Most hiring managers want to see passion and enthusiasm from job candidates. It’s often seen as an indicator of a candidate’s true interest in the firm and the opportunity. It’s definitely noticeable when a candidate is dull or just going through the motions and it’s a red flag that there’s no drive or passion for the opportunity to work for your firm.
Doesn’t Ask Questions
- There comes a point in most interviews when the hiring manager pauses and says “Now, what questions do you have for me?” Again, there are a lot of correct responses and just one incorrect one. If a candidate doesn’t have any questions after an hour-long conversation with you, he or she either wasn’t listening or isn’t invested.
No “Thank You”
- A post-interview “Thank You” note is to be expected. It won’t get a candidate any brownie points, but it’s absence is likely to be noticed. A “Thank You” note is a minor sign that a candidate is professional, polite, and at least a little bit organized. The absence of such a note is a red flag that your candidate may be inconsiderate of your time and lacking some professional polish.
We’ve looked at the 10 biggest and most visible red flags you’ll encounter during the hiring of a new team member. While they may seem insignificant, these cautionary signs provide valuable clues and insights into who your candidate really is and what they might be like to work with. Watching for these red flags will help you make the best decision possible throughout the hiring process.
What hiring red flags have you encountered?