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Interview and Hiring Red Flags

Interviewing and hiring the right candidate is a critical step in growing your company, but it's also one of the most time consuming. It takes a lot of work to find great talent, but you can't afford to hire bad employees. The wrong person on your team will cost you more than just money—they could waste precious resources and even damage your company’s reputation.

Hiring the wrong candidate could cost up to five times their annual salary, according to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). What's even worse, it will take you about 42 days and an added cost of $4,129 to hire and train a new employee. This will cost your company more than the bad hire's annual salary.

So, what are interview red flags? What should you look out for during an interview to determine if a candidate is right for your company? Read on to find out.

What Are Interview Red Flags?

Interview red flags are warning signs that may indicate the candidate is not the right fit for your company. Spotting these red flags early on will help you avoid unnecessary costs, time wastage, and frustration. Here are some interview red flags to watch out for:

Body language

During the interview, how does the candidate behave? What is their body language? How engaged are they during the entire process? Look out for their facial expressions, gestures, voice intonation, body movement, and posture. A candidate who sits on the edge of the chair and slightly leans forward shows interest and keenly follows what you say.


Does the candidate seem prepared for the interview? Are they excited about their job search? Is this just another interview for them, or are they passionate about what you do and why they're applying for your open position? 

This will tell you a lot about their personality and whether or not it's a good fit for your company. What you need to see in the interviewee is enthusiasm, motivation, and a willingness to learn.

Communication style

The candidate’s communication style can help you determine whether or not they will fit within your company culture. Is their communication non-verbal? If so, are they making eye contact with you when answering questions? Are they using appropriate body language? 

If interviewees are too nervous or anxious during an interview, this could be a sign they have trouble communicating well with others. The candidate should be engaged and have good eye contact throughout the interview, sit up straight and not slouch, use proper hand gestures, and speak clearly.

Demeanor problems

During the interview, you should talk to the candidate and see how they respond to your questions. Are they defensive when you ask them about their previous work experience? Do they get annoyed or upset when asked tough interview questions? 

This could be an interview red flag indicating the interviewee's issues controlling their emotions and can't work well with other employees in a team environment.

Lack of proper preparation 

If a candidate doesn't show up for an interview prepared to talk about themselves and their job skills, this could be another interview red flag that tells you they're unwilling to put in the effort or invest in themselves. Prior to the interview, they should have reviewed your company's website, researched your business, and have interview questions ready to ask.

What Are the Warning Signs of A Bad Candidate?

Hiring is a complicated process, one that's crucial to the growth of your company. It's crucial to weed out bad and toxic candidates to save your company time and frustration. Below are some of the warning signs of a bad candidate:

  • They are late for the interview: Lateness to an interview portrays poor accountability by the candidate. Calling ahead of time and notifying you of any delays or changes is a sign that they respect you and your time.
  • Typos and grammatical errors on their resume or email replies: Typos and grammatical errors are a sign that the candidate has little attention to detail.
  • Lack of enthusiasm or interview skills: Interviewees with poor interview skills or lack of enthusiasm are usually not the right fit for your company. You want someone excited about the job, not someone who is already planning ways to slack off.
  • They lie to you: Many candidates exaggerate their job experience or their resume makes them appear more qualified for the job. It's important to know the difference between a white lie and blatant misrepresentation. If you can't verify an employer, skill, or function on their resume through a reference check, like with Crosschq 360, it's probably a sign that they're embellishing their interview skills.
  • Didn't do enough research: Candidates who show up for the interview without any knowledge about your company or the job title they applied for are a clear sign of disinterest, and you shouldn't waste your time considering them for hire.

How Do You Spot A Red-Flag Candidate?

To help you spot a red-flag candidate, here is a checklist of things to look out for:

  • Does the candidate have punctuality? What time did they arrive for the interview?
  • Does the candidate have positive body language? What are their hand gestures like? Are they fidgeting, or do they appear nervous throughout the interview?
  • Does the candidate answer interview questions confidently without hesitation or paraphrase questions in different words before answering them?
  • Do interviewees know enough about your company and the job role they applied for?
  • Does the interviewee appear to be enthusiastic or passionate about the job role they applied for? (This should especially give you an indication of whether the candidate will be proactive in finding out things on their own, rather than waiting around for instruction.)
  • Are the candidate's interview skills satisfactory? Take into consideration their interview punctuality, personal appearance, and preparedness for the interview. (Interviewees should be coming to interview with interview questions of their own.)
  • Are there any spelling or grammatical errors on the interviewee's resume/CV? Their interview emails should also be free of errors.
  • Did the candidate ask questions at the end of the interview? You should expect them to have some interview questions, even if they are clarifying your explanation about the company or job role. Red-flag candidates most likely will not ask questions because they are not interested in what you have to say.

Bottom Line

Red flags are warning signs of interviewees who may not make the best fit for your company. With the right reference checking solution like Crosschq 360 and knowledge of these interview and hiring red flags, you're now equipped to make better decisions to hire quality talent. 

To learn how Crosschq can help you make better data-driven hiring decisions schedule a free demo here.

Mark Ko

by Mark Ko

Content Writer

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