The candidate across the table from you is clearly a winner. Her resume is impressive, and so far, this interview is going well. She smiles politely, sits up straight, and obviously she has a lot to offer—If she didn’t, she would never have stepped past fifty other applicants in order to make it to this stage. She’s professional, polished, and well-spoken. And you expected nothing less. You still have five interviews scheduled over the next few days, but at this point, the job is hers to lose.
…Until you notice one of the four red flags listed below. If your terrific candidate shows any of these questionable quirks, take a closer look before you make a formal offer.
1. Your candidate gets angry. Unless you deliberately provoke your interviewees by baiting or bullying them, there’s no reason any employable person should show visible signs of anger or hostility during an interview. (And here’s a hint: You should not be baiting or bullying your candidates.) Monitor your own language carefully and conduct yourself with professionalism and respect, and as you do this, expect your candidates to do the same. If they don’t, they’re out.
2. Your candidate is easily confused by simple questions and simple requests. Lots of highly intelligent people are extremely literal and tend to struggle with metaphors and expressions. And lots of highly intelligent people are easily flustered, forgetful, nervous, or scattered. But if your candidate has trouble following simple directions or stringing simple ideas together, as intelligent as he may be, he’ll probably be very hard to work with. If you’re fine with this, proceed. If not, think twice.
3. Your candidate can’t or won’t tell you why he left his last position. If your candidate is unwilling to discuss the subject, even in response to a direct question, that’s a problem. And if he dances around the issue, making excuses and blaming others for whatever went wrong, that’s even worse.
4. You catch her in an obvious lie. Don’t aggressively cross-examine your candidates or question their assertions. Take them at their word. But if your interviewee makes a statement that clearly opposes reality or runs counter to a claim on her resume, that’s a bad sign. This can be crushingly awkward for everyone in the room, but if both you and your candidate survive the moment (which of course you will), your next move is clear…Keep searching.
For more on the red flags and positive signs you should be looking out for during your interview process, reach out to the Des Moines staffing experts at the Palmer Group.