Red Flags You Can’t Ignore When Interviewing and Hiring A Candidate

Screening and onboarding a competent candidate take an experienced eye that comes after spending a substantial amount of time dealing with different types of people. It can be challenging to evaluate job applicants sometimes. On paper, some people might seem like the ideal candidate, but in person, they might raise a few questions. A candidate’s interview red flags must be taken seriously because it will significantly impact the candidate’s long-term success if they are hired for the position.

Naturally, this is the reason why a job interview is such a critical step in the hiring process. Mis-hires can drain the workplace, and the costs mount as you lose productivity and need to hire replacements. No matter how well your hiring team sources candidates, there’s always a chance that the person behind the resume won’t be a good fit for your company. In this article, we’ve covered some of the most common interview red flags of candidates that you must not ignore.

10 Interview Red Flags You Can’t Ignore in A Candidate

1. Lack of Passion for The Role

A candidate must be interested in the position, the product, and the organization they would be working for if they spend the time interviewing with you. When someone is a good fit, they will be visibly enthusiastic and passionate about the idea of working with you. If they’re not, they may not want the job or have the wrong motivations for wanting it.

2. No Research on The Company

It’s one of the most initial interview red flags if you call a candidate for their first interview and they are unaware of the actual nature of your business. They are expected to know what the company does and how they relate to its purpose or mission statement in addition to what is specified in the job description.

3. Failing to Ask Questions

You can expect your candidate to ask questions about the position as your interview continues. Your candidate should be able to pose thoughtful inquiries that aren’t addressed by earlier discussions or pre-interview readings. The candidate might not be a good fit if they ask the wrong questions, questions you’ve already addressed, generic ones, or none.

4. Struggling to Give Examples from Past Experience

A job applicant must be able to give examples of their previous work from their previous job and the results of it. A simple “I worked on project ABC” won’t be very meaningful unless they can explain the specific outcomes of the project. Some people might need encouragement, but it’s not a good sign but one of the classic interview red flags if they refuse to provide examples and results of prior work.

5. Unexplained Gaps in Employment History

The presence of employment gaps has increased. In fact, 3 out of 5 Americans have experienced some level of unemployment or a resume gap. In most cases, these gaps are explained. Your candidate might have stayed at home to be with their family, or they might have been working as a freelancer. Given how frequent these gaps are, you shouldn’t be alarmed by the gap as long as the candidate can explain why there was a gap. To decide whether this is an interview red flag, investigate further to learn why the gap existed.

6. Poor Attitude Towards Previous/Current Employers

Speaking poorly of former employers is also one of the most important interview red flags you need to be aware of. Your candidate may have a lot to say about how their former boss managed the business, but it’s crucial to impart this knowledge in a positive way. You might think twice before hiring a candidate if they feel free to disparage their previous employer.

7. Unprofessional Attire

While you don’t need to be picky about a candidate’s attire when they apply for a less formal entry-level position with your company, you should take note if they do so in a suit and tie. It’s important that the candidate’s skills match the position and that they dress appropriately for it because you want someone who can effectively represent your business through appearance.

8. Continuous Rescheduling

An interview may occasionally need rescheduling because people are busy and unexpected events happen. But when it occurs repeatedly, it signals something is wrong. It conveys that the potential employer may not be important enough for the candidate.

9. Poor Listening Skills

It is expected that a candidate will give every interview their 100%. In other words, they converse back and forth while paying attention to what is being said. Candidates may not have the best listening skills if they frequently forget what they were told, need to repeat themselves, or ask for clarification on simple points. This is one of the most easily ignored interview red flags that can later cause many issues in your team.

10. Body language

During an interview, body language enables recruiters to comprehend the meaning or reality hidden behind the words. It’s not unusual for a candidate to make a claim and then back it up with contradictory body language. Conflicting body language could indicate that a candidate isn’t completely honest.

You should be on the lookout for things like poor eye contact, slouching or excessively relaxed posture, or distant body language. All of these are interview red flags, indicating a lack of self-assurance, a lack of professionalism, or an unfavorable attitude.


It can be difficult to recognize interview red flags. You’ll need to spend time evaluating each of your candidates, because they are all unique, in order to determine whether these warning signs apply to them. Of course, a single red flag raised during an interview might not be a complete deal breaker. It’s imperative to use your discretion and abilities as a recruiter to decide whether the ideal candidate for the position has the ideal profile.

With two decades of experience in the talent acquisition and outsourcing industry, Arthur Lawrence can help you with your talent sourcing and hiring needs across departments.

Also Read: How To Ace a Job Interview