Employers need a checklist of dos and don’ts about how to interview prospective employees. Some actions by the candidate, though, are immediate red flags. When the employer heeds these red flags, the candidates selected are more likely to succeed in your employment.
If you find yourself wondering, “whatever was he thinking,” following the interview, you’ve hit a red flag. Run, don’t walk, to hire another prospect.
These red flags are all deal breakers and you’ll recognize them most effectively in a well-thought-out, consistent, employee selection process. Here’s more about how to interview potential employees and more red flags to regard.
More About How to Interview and Select Employees
- 5 Interview Red Flags for Employers
- Share Your Resume and Cover Letter Red Flags
- Your Favorite Interview Questions
- Checklist for Hiring Employees
How to Interview and Catch Red Flags
You’ll want to pass on candidates who exhibit these 5 interview red flags. These candidates:
• Exhibit Inappropriate Communication Behaviors to Interviewers
With all sympathy to candidates, because employers realize that an interview is an anxiety-producing event, but poor communication will kill an applicant’s chances. Should it? In my experience – yes.
You don’t expect that every candidate has the communication skills of your best salesman or presenter, but effective communication is critical for success in most jobs. In fact, it is one of the skills most frequently listed by employers in their job postings.
Candidates talk too little and you never learn enough about the person to make a favorable hiring decision. Other candidates talk way too much. I remember one memorable candidate who answered my first interview question with a twenty minute run on sentence.
If my memory serves me, I never asked a second, just escorted him to the door. He had applied for a position in which the key skill needed was listening to and drawing out customer needs.
In another memorable interview debrief, the women present were uncomfortable with the nonverbal behavior of the interviewee. They were struggling to identify the behavior that had turned them all off, until one of the employees said, “I’ll just tell it like it is.
“I felt like he was talking to my breasts the whole time – not to me. “ The other women concurred. Whether nervous or transfixed, the candidate, had indeed, stared at them, breast level, as he answered every question.
Want more? Without going into a psychological analysis, another candidate, faced with an interview team of three women and two men, would not look at the women. No matter who asked the question, he faced and replied to the men. Unfortunately for him, the hiring manager was one of the woman.
As you evaluate a candidate’s qualifications, do notice his or her communication skills. What shines forth in the interview will come back and bite you on the job.
• Fail to Respond Effectively to Follow-up Questions After Their Initial Answers
Prepared interviewees have effective, articulate sound bites developed and rehearsed to answer common and expected interview questions. Candidates expect that you will request details about their resume and cover letter claims – and follow up those questions with questions that probe for even more information.
The proof of experience, appropriateness, and knowledge is demonstrated in their answers to your follow on questions. Can the candidate provide the detail you need to assess his or her competence in the area you are evaluating?
Sample follow on questions that encourage the candidate to elaborate and provide details might include: Tell me more about how your team accomplished the project you just described for us. What role did you play on the team?
We approach most projects using teams in our company; how often have you participated in a team approach to project planning? What problems have you experienced with team members who were not performing and how did you address these issues?
The proof of knowledge for your interviewers is in the specific information and details that the candidate provides. The details give you a picture of the candidate’s skills, experience, his potential fit within your cultural, and a look at what he views as important – all critical areas for you to assess in the job interview.
Your follow up and follow on questions are critical in your assessment of the candidate. If she can’t tell you why, how, what, when , where, and who, she’s likely embellished her credentials and accomplishments. At best, she hasn’t a clue about what created her results. Okay, next candidate.
• Don’t Plan to Stay Very Long at Your Job
You can never predict – and you can’t ask – just how long a potential employee plans to work for you, but watch for obvious red flags that you’re a quick stepping stone to where the candidate really wants to be.
Perhaps their close family and friends live on the west coast and your job is in mid-America. Or they mention that they have tried to relocate to the east coast but job searching from a distance is difficult.
One candidate mentioned that his girlfriend was working in Las Vegas
and that he needed a flexible schedule so that he could spend time with her. Another told the interview committee that her husband was completing his degree at the local university and that they’d relocate where he could find a job upon graduation.
Employers face an additional problem in the current economy. Job searchers are looking for a job – any job – just to bring in a paycheck. And, some of these job searchers never stop looking even when they accept your position.
So, yes, some people seek a career transition and there are other legitimate reasons why an individual might accept a job for which they are overqualified, but many more are settling, until they can find something better.
Candidates provide all sorts of clues about their plans, if you listen. While I realize that these are not objective criteria about qualifications, I have a tough time hiring an employee whom I know will stay for a short period of time.
Especially when you have other qualified candidates, why would you invest training, mentoring, and lost opportunity time in a short term employee?