Red Flags to Watch for When Interviewing Candidates

Every time you set out to fill an open position with the perfect candidate, you are taking a risk. It can be difficult to determine each candidate’s work style, attitude, and personality from just a few short interviews. Overzealous candidates will undoubtedly give you the answers you want to hear to make them appear as the one to choose. So, how do you weed out the authentic candidates from the run-of-the-mill applicants?  


We all know the obvious red flags, such as bad-mouthing current or former colleagues or taking a call during the interview. What about the more subtle tell-tale signs that should warn us to be more cautious before proceeding or ultimately stopping us in our tracks? The following tips should help provide some insight into what you should watch for during your next interview.

1. Suspicious work history

“The best prediction of future behavior is past behavior. Employers should always ask candidates to walk through their work history and why they left each position.”

2. Inconsistent career path
“If candidates’ resumes show multiple career path changes, it could mean they get bored quickly and will grow tired of the routine aspects of the job.”

3. Missing or outdated email addresses
“If candidates don’t provide email addresses on their resumes or their email address is, it could indicate that they lack the technological knowledge or electronic communication skills necessary for certain roles.”

4. Poor listening skills
“Candidates who unknowingly ask repetitive questions, reply with answers that are unrelated to the questions asked or appear lost during conversations may not have a genuine interest in the role or know how to show respect for others’ time.”

5. Not asking questions
“Candidates who never ask questions may be less ambitious. They may be unwilling to dig deep to find solutions and take on new tasks. Or, they may be trying to hide a lack of understanding of the role in general.”

6. Lack of factual support
“When candidates can’t back facts on their resumes or answer direct questions, they may have something to hide or have over-inflated their skills to appear more qualified.”

As a final note, just because candidates show tendencies toward these behaviors does not automatically mean they are not fit for your position. As with any investment, you need to do your homework and weigh the pros and cons of your candidate’s experience, personality, and overall fit in the culture of your office.