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Three Red Flags to Look for when Interviewing an Applicant

Realizing an employee is not an ideal fit for your company or doesn’t perform up to certain standards – after they have been hired – is frustrating for any hiring manager. After all, the interview process can be long, often challenging, and provides added cost for your company.

Short of predicting the future with a crystal ball, the process of screening resumes and interviewing is crucial. While hiring managers or HR professionals can learn only so much from a candidate from resume and series of interviews, there are certain indicators to realize well before the interview is over.

Character goes a long way for a candidate, and even further for hiring managers. For instance, before the screening and interview process begins, suggests some key examples to follow to ensure not all is lost after a hire.

Make Sure Candidates are Familiar with Your Company

Enthusiasm is important in the eyes of hiring managers. So, the more a candidate understands a company’s service or product, the more it says about their preparedness, research skills and how enthusiastic they are for the position. In the event a candidate doesn’t demonstrate all that much knowledge, it simply reflects a lack of enthusiasm, and in turn, little interest in the goals a company wants to achieve.

Request Proof of Experience

This may seem like a no brainer, but according to the “nothing is more telling than candidate who can’t provide a detailed answer” of a previous role or accomplishments. A portfolio of work, documented success, specific procedures and responsibilities of a role should all presented and credible. So, it’s recommended to watch for vagueness, evasiveness, or not providing a credible answer at all.

They Don’t Take Responsibility for Past Actions or Mistakes

Not every candidate is perfect. Hiring managers know this. A sure fire red flag, according to, is when a candidate repeatedly blames coworkers and managers, limited resources, or team members for past mistakes (if requested by the hiring manager).

It can demonstrate how poorly they are at accepting responsibility or can’t effectively solve their own problems. In the event a candidate was fired in a past role, listen to their reasons. If they are blameless, couldn’t admit to errors, or seems they are evading the truth, it may be wise to simply pass on the candidate altogether.  It’s always best to ask for the truth. The right candidate will clearly admit to errors and explained how they resolved them.


It’s never easy to find an ideal employee. By following some simple guidelines and using common sense, screening and interviewing an employee will become easier, more efficient and time well spent.

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