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6 Hiring Red Flags All Hiring Managers Should Know

Updated: Feb 23, 2019

One of the things new managers ask me about most frequently is hiring. While some gained experience interviewing candidates as part of culture or team fit interviews, they didn't have the final say in who got the job offer and weren't always privy to all the information given to the hiring manager. Making the right hire important, a bad hire can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. So how can you make the right one? In addition to making assessments on competency, there are five red flags you should watch for that should automatically disqualify a candidate:

They give only "we" answers

Or they have a hard time describing individual accomplishments. Unless this is an entry level role, this can indicate that the candidate doesn't have the experience they are presenting.

They are rude to the receptionist

This doesn't happen too frequently, and is in lot of candidate resources, but it still happens and is an indicator of how they'll treat people if hired.

They have no questions.

The way I see if is there are three reasons why someone wouldn't have questions: 1. they are in over their head and don't understand the role enough to have questions, 2. aren't interested in the role, the company and/or the team, 3. they didn't do any preparation (which brings us back the the preceding point).

They don't understand the compensation or ask for something crazy.

For instance when interviewing experienced sales people you should not have to explain how commission works, and they should know their base won't likely be $800k/year. With LinkedIn, Glassdoor, industry salary surveys, and so many others, it's very easy to get a fou ndation in what compensation should look like, it's inexcusable for a candidate to not know (again, preparation).

Potential colleagues don't like them.

This can be written off by hiring managers for superficial reasons ("I just didn't like them") - but it's important to dig into. I once adored a candidate that one of my team members told me she disliked in the interview; we talked and I asked some probing questions until we got to the core - the candidate was crass and sometimes condescending in their conversation, and if that was the candidate's "best self" there were concerns about how they would be if hired.

They demonstrate an -ist behaviors.

I've heard horror stories of candidates making racist, sexist, and other derogatory statements in an interview - which is appalling and a no brainer disqualification. But there are also other subtle ways to see discriminatory behavior: answering and asking questions, eye contact, etc. A facepalm example of this is when a male candidates (yes, this has happened more than once) has directed questions only to my manager even when they aren't fit for them - the worst was when my manager redirected them to ask me the question and the person said "Oh, nevermind."

Is there any flags you would add to this list? Tell us about them in the comments.

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