5 Red Flags to Look Out For When Interviewing

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Hiring the perfect new employee is an art form many HR managers consistently work to improve throughout their careers. Years ago, we used to hire the candidate with the most impressive resume and who gave the best interview. Now, with the unemployment rate the lowest it's been in well over a decade, the competition to recruit the most qualified talent is getting tougher and hiring decisions are becoming more important.

To ensure you're making the best hiring decisions for your company, there are a few red flags I suggest to look out for while interviewing potential new employees.

Their dream job is something completely different

Since the cost of hiring an employee can be costly for a company, HR managers have to make sure the person they choose to employ wants to stay in the position for a reasonably long period of time. If their dream is to be a rocket scientist or a news anchor, and your company is in the medical space, your open position is likely just a means to pay the bills and they likely don’t plan on staying for long. This is why it’s important for the interviewer to ask questions about long-term goals and what they love about the industry you work in to provide this insight. It’s unrealistic to think someone will stay at a company forever, but you at least want them to stay for the foreseeable future.

They don’t ask questions

At the end of an interview, most employers will ask the interviewee if they have questions. If they say no, this shows to me they don’t care enough about the job opportunity or the company to learn the ins and outs not explicitly laid out during the interview. This also tells me they didn’t put time in to do a little bit of research before they came in. Not doing research suggests the employee is potentially lazy. Most companies now have an online and social media presence with a wealth of information to glean, so it shouldn’t take long to find the information they need to formulate a few sample questions. Great questions can show the interviewer how interested this person is in the job opening. As much as an employer likes a job candidate, they also want the job candidate to like them back. You don’t want to hire someone who will lose interest and leave within the first year of employment.

They ask the wrong questions

I’m sure you’ve heard tips before about asking questions during interviews, but I would stress that the interviewee needs to come prepared with the right questions. Although it’s great that an interviewee comes prepared with topics to talk about, there are a few items that should raise concern. A potential new hire shouldn’t focus more on the office perks and culture than the actual work. By asking too soon and too often about salary, candidates can demonstrate short-term thinking and an ingenuine interest in the position. Employers want to hire someone because they want to do the job, not because they simply want a paycheck.

Major gaps in employment and job hopping

Although the Millennial generation has been known to “job hop” every couple years, new research is showing that employer loyalty is starting to become a trend again. The last thing a hiring manager would want to do is bring someone on that will likely leave within a year. If their resume shows that as a pattern, this tells me that my company is not special and they will leave me too. This also goes for large gaps in unemployment. It’s understandable if the gap exists because the potential hire went back to school, or took time off to care for a family member, but they should at least be willing to talk about what’s on the page in front of them to reassure a future employer.

Speaking negatively about their past employer

Even if someone has had a truly horrifying experience in the previous industry or job they were in, they should still be able to talk about their past employers in a positive way. If they rant about how much they hated their last job, this could indicate to me that the applicant may not take responsibility for his or her own actions. This shows a sign of immaturity if they can’t at least share what was learned from the experience, instead of placing blame on others. What might they say about you when they leave your employ one day?

Jason Carney is HR director at WorkSmart Systems.

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