Interviews: Signs You Shouldn't Ignore


I have written in the past about the importance of asking the right questions in the interview process. Now let’s talk about some red flags that, if they come up in the interview, are a clear indication that this is not the right person for the job.

Candidate is Late. I am sure everyone realizes that this is a problem, but I don’t think everyone really understands how big of a problem it is. I have heard people say “she was only five minutes late” or “she called to let me know she would be here 10 minutes late”.

Unless there is a news-worthy traffic event (ie I-35 is shut down for some reason), do not, under any circumstances, hire the candidate. It may sound harsh - life happens, people are late. I get it, but not in a job interview. This is the absolute best performance you will ever see from this person and I promise you that if they are late to a job interview, they will be late to work regularly.

They badmouth their current or previous employer. If they complain about the people they worked with, who they worked for, how they were treated or how they were compensated, they will say the same about you when it is time to move on.

They can’t tell you about a time they made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. And you want someone who can admit they made one, owned up to it and learned from it.

People like to show their best in interviews and may be caught off guard by this one – they weren’t prepared to tell you about something they did wrong. Give candidates a minute to think about it and, if after a minute or two they still tell you “I don’t make mistakes”, move on to the next candidate. It they don’t have one mistake they can talk about they likely lack accountability or, at the very least, they lack maturity.

Interviewing can be so tricky and not everyone is going to be a great hire. Ask the right questions and steer clear of these red flags for a good place to start.

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