Red Flags in a Job Interview


Any competent job seeker will go into a job interview polished, prepared, and professional. In everything they do, they will strive to put their best face forward. But as the hiring manager, it is your responsibility to honestly evaluate a candidate’s credentials and fit, and when everyone is trying so hard to impress you, that can be a real challenge. Get a more accurate impression by looking out for these common red flags:

  • Basic Mistakes – No matter how qualified a candidate may be, if they show up late, dress inappropriately, or act erratically it should make you suspicious. Failure to live up to the basic standards of a job interview is basically inexcusable.
  • Two-Faced Character – When a candidate treats you, the interviewer, one way – and the rest of your staff another –  it raises serious questions about their character. Ask your assistant or security staff what kind of impression they got from interacting with the candidate.
  • Impatience – A lot is on the line during a job interview. For that reason, you should have the candidate’s undivided attention for as long as the interview lasts. If they fidget, watch the clock, or regularly check their phone it suggests the candidate is not really invested in getting the job.
  • Lack of Preparation – Any job seeker worth their salt will carefully research a company in advance of an interview. If you encounter a candidate who seems to know nothing about what you do, it suggests that they are disorganized and disengaged.
  • Lack of Questions – You should expect the candidate to have some questions for you, and they should be relevant to the vacant position and the company. If they ask no questions, or generic questions, it means they are probably looking for any job they can find.
  • Negative Personality – Most of us have had a negative experience with a past employer. A job interview is not the place to rant about it. If a candidate is openly disrespectful to past employers, it means they will likely be disrespectful to you as well.
  • No Follow Up – Following up after an interview is both a professional courtesy and a clear sign that a candidate is excited about the opportunity at hand. Failing to send out a follow up indicates that the candidate’s professional standards are lacking, and that they are not fully invested in getting the job.

Watch out for these red flags, but use your own judgment when it comes to hiring decisions. Some people are simply bad at interviewing, and even if they bomb the process they could still end up being productive, loyal employees. Learn more about conducting an effective interview process by consulting with the experts at JH Technical Services, featuring Pittsburgh careers and more.

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