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5 More Interviewing Red Flags for Employers

Human Resources

There's a wealth of interviewing tips employers should keep in mind when screening job candidates. Just as importantly, many "interviewing red flags" should be noted as well. In a previous article, we highlighted five such red flags:

  • Doesn't show up on time. While excuses for tardiness may be perfectly legitimate, there's little reason to expect that someone who arrives late for a job interview will act any differently if and when they get the job.
  • Is unfamiliar with your company. With the abundant online resources available these days, a job candidate who comes to the interview knowing nothing about your business is may be signaling a lack of awareness and initiative.
  • Is vague or evasive in answering questions. Beware of prospective employees who don't have a solid answer to follow-up questions about claims of achievement, either on their own or as part of a team.
  • Won't take responsibility for past failures. A strong job candidate will acknowledge their part in previous initiatives that failed to achieve the intended goals.
  • Speaks badly about a former employer. A candidate who talks about a past employer in negative terms may be revealing a questionable attitude towards employers in general.

Here are five additional red flags to watch for:

1. Resume Errors

This red flag can help screen candidates before they get to the interview stage. A professional resume (and/or cover letter) with clumsy syntax or typos can indicate a person who pays little attention to detail. Depending on the job qualifications, you likely want an employee you can trust to inspect and revise their own work before sending it on to others.

2. Problems with Communication

Many jobs require little or no contact with customers, but virtually every position requires interaction with supervisors and other team members. Among the most valuable interviewing tips is paying close attention to how a candidate speaks, in addition to what they have to say. Some people will be anxious during the interview and talk too much—which could be a sign he or she lacks critical listening skills most employees need. They may also be talking a lot because they want to distract you from certain areas of discussion. In either case, this particular trait may not bode well for working as part of a team.

3. An Answer for Everything

In a similar vein, a job candidate who glibly responds to every question can raise another type of red flag. No one's perfect, and someone who attempts to come across that way isn't being entirely honest. A desirable job-seeker is one who's willing to say, "I don't know" once in a while (though not too often).

4. Boasts about Job Offers

In an attempt to come off as being in high demand, some job candidates will freely boast about other job offers they may have. This can send the signal they're willing to play one employer off another in order to get more money or job perks. Not only does this say something about a possible lack of loyalty, it may suggest they'll always be thinking about what else might be available in the job market.

5. What's In It for Me?

So-called "stepping-stone candidates" focus on salary and job benefits at the expense of inquiring about aspects of the open position. These individuals may be more interested in using your job opening as a means to getting a different position elsewhere. Clearly, this red flag shouldn't be ignored by an employer.

The vast majority of job seekers are genuinely motivated to do the best they can for their new employer. But a diligent business owner or hiring manager should always be on the lookout for the few who don't merit serious consideration.


This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.