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8 Red Flags Top-Notch Candidates Notice. Don’t let the competition snatch up the best candidates!


There is a war for talent. The very best candidates are not just looking for any job — they are looking for the right job with the right company. Intelligent and resourceful candidates, the kind of professionals that you want in your organization, are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. They are watching out for red flags during the interview process, so be sure the hiring managers in your organization are handling the interview process seamlessly, or you will lose out on the very best talent.

Here are 8 red flags candidates look for:


When your hiring team schedules an interview, make it a priority to keep the commitment. People are busy and things may unexpectedly come up, but when it happens multiple times, it’s an indication that your company is scattered, unorganized, and the communication is poor. Interviews should rarely get rescheduled and if they do, give the candidate plenty of notice.


Every organization has some natural tensions or frustrations between different departments; it’s not uncommon. Are the interviewers in your company able to talk about challenges or tensions with other stakeholders in a constructive way, or do they do so disparagingly or disrespectfully? Candidates will observe the dynamics in your company and will look for dissention and respect between coworkers. In panel interview, candidates will look for how often the panelists interrupt each other. Is one person dominating the conversation, shutting the others down? What does their body language say?


Is your team clear on what your most important company values are and how to communicate them? Candidates who are highly emotionally intelligent will use this to assess your company culture. A value mismatch is a big red flag. For example, if you say that your company has a high level of transparency and an open-door policy, but the interviewer gives clear indications that things are being hidden in communication, a candidate will sense that things are off. Make sure that if you say transparency is valued in your company, your hiring managers can provide good examples of this.


Are you answering a candidate’s questions clearly and concisely, or are your answers vague and general? Strong candidates will look for specificity and direct answers. Candidates will be looking for alignment within your organization. If a candidate sees a significant amount of inconsistencies when asking the same questions from one person to the next, this is a red flag indicating that your team is not working in unity.


Is the job “as advertised”? Or is the interviewer describing a much different role? This can be an indication that your team is not sure what the job entails. Sometimes some of the job requirements change as the interview process goes along, because the business needs have changed since the first job posting. It is up to your team to make sure they are in sync with any changes and communicating them well. A recruiting partner is very valuable here. They will help close this gap by working with you and thinking through your company’s needs, then properly communicating the changes to interviewers and expediting them in a written job description.


While most often hiring managers are not asking crude or blatantly discriminatory questions, it’s entirely possible that an interviewer could ask a highly inappropriate or even illegal question, or make an inappropriate comment. This is an obvious red flag that your organization not only has poor training, but also likely tolerates bad behavior.


Is your hiring manager skilled at building rapport with others? If the interviewer seems disinterested, lacks enthusiasm, doesn’t smile, appears distracted, or asks questions in a robotic manner without making an effort to get to know the candidate, then it may be an indication that something is amiss. This is a red flag and bad vibes for the candidate. It may show that you may be more interested in another some other applicant.


When the number of interviews becomes excessive and the process drags on for an extended period of time, this is not a sign of efficiency — your team is overly consensus-driven, indecisive, or has issues driving things to completion. The time to hire can differ with the level of position and also in niche industries. The number of interviews and duration of the interview process is likely to be positively correlated with the level of the position as the stakes are higher. When the interview process for a director or below takes more than two to three interviews, it tells the candidate that your team does not have the ability to get things done. High-profile companies like Google are making efforts to shorten their interview process to better compete. Companies that are competitive are actively taking steps to shorten their interview process to better compete in the war for talent.

Candidates, who are a 10 out of 10 fit, are alert, observant, and know what well-refined processes looks like. They are able to vet out subpar companies and will turn down even the best offers when they see red flags at any turn.

Let’s get discuss your hiring needs and how we can help streamline the process so that you attract top-notch talent!

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