Wouldn’t it be great if job candidates said things like, ‘I’m only interested in this job until something better comes along’ or ‘I have trouble meeting deadlines’? You could review resumes and interview people knowing the complete picture-exactly which faults candidates have and how they could affect your team. Unfortunately, it’s up to you as a manager to identify those indicators of potential trouble.

Know the Red Flags

While people may not show up wearing a ‘don’t hire me’ button, there are ways you can filter out the bad hires. Hold off on extending an offer if you observe the following:

1. They haven’t prepared.

You ask, ‘So, what makes you want to join our company?’ and you’re given a blank stare. Not good. There’s no excuse for someone showing up to the interview lacking basic knowledge about your company and its line of business. It’s easy enough today to look up information online and go a step further to ask professional contacts for insights. Candidates also should have questions ready to ask you when prompted. Those who do the necessary research in advance show they’re serious about the job opportunity.

2. There are behavior glitches.

While you may be impressed by a candidate, find out what others on your team think. Your receptionist may have been treated disrespectfully or observed the candidate talking loudly on a cell phone in the lobby, which can paint a new picture of a prospective hire. Lateness to the interview is another concern, especially if the person doesn’t call along the way to explain the problem. Take note, too, if a candidate doesn’t respond to your emails or calls promptly, because that can be a sign of things to come.

3. They can’t explain how they learned from mistakes.

You want to hire people who are self-aware. They know when they’ve slipped up and have taken steps to ensure they don’t repeat a mistake again in the future. If you ask candidates about their weaknesses, they should be able to point out a fault and how they’ve worked to overcome that fault. People who can’t share such examples likely have a false sense of their abilities and may not be willing to admit errors on the job.

4. They’re too focused on themselves.

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘There’s no I in team,’ and you want to hire people who live by that motto. Pay attention when candidates use the word ‘I’ too much and don’t credit other people when citing a team achievement. The conversation shouldn’t start to center on their job preferences and expectations, either. If candidates initiate talk about salary during the interview, that’s a big red flag.

5. Reference check results make you uneasy.

Reference checks should leave you feeling confident you’re offering the job to a great candidate; be careful if they don’t. Maybe you can’t reach a single manager who will talk to you about a candidate, not even in vague terms. Or maybe the facts just aren’t adding up. A CareerBuilder survey found that 58 percent of managers have discovered a lie on a resume before, so be wary if details shared during reference calls don’t line up with what you were told. 

Above all, listen to your gut instinct. If you think something just isn’t right with a particular candidate, investigate further. Those concerns may prove to be unfounded, but they can also save you from making a bad hire.

Looking for an easier way to avoid a potential bad hire? Download the complimentary eBook below to know what to look for the new time you hire.

Get our posts delivered to your inbox every week.

Subscribe to the Hireology Blog