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When it comes to selecting a candidate are there any potential warning signs that signal they might not be a good fit?

My instructor did a role-play with another instructor on how to conduct an interview. The class ran out of time, we weren't able to go over the warning signs. I was wondering if anyone has had experience with a "bad" interviewee. #human-resources #talent-recruiting #talent-acquisition

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Silvia’s Answer

Companies usually look for job applicants who have the right mix of relevant skills, experience, and personal qualities that match the job's demands and the company's culture. However, there are certain traits and behaviors that might raise eyebrows during the hiring process. Here are some things that companies typically don't appreciate in potential employees:

Dishonesty: Companies appreciate honesty and integrity in their staff. Applicants who have a past filled with dishonest acts, unethical conduct, or integrity issues might cause worries during the hiring process.

Pessimism: Companies prefer applicants who show a positive attitude and excitement for the job and the company. A persistently negative attitude or behavior during interviews can be a turn-off for employers.

Weak Communication Skills: Good communication is crucial in most jobs. Applicants who find it hard to express their thoughts clearly, listen attentively, or communicate in a professional manner might not be seen as strong candidates for the job.

Unwillingness or Resistance to Change: In today's fast-moving and dynamic work settings, companies appreciate employees who are flexible and open to change. Applicants who show resistance to new ideas, processes, or technologies might not be seen in a good light.

Absence of Accountability: Companies look for applicants who take charge of their work and are ready to be held responsible for their actions and decisions. Applicants who blame others for their errors or fail to accept responsibility might cause worries about their ability to perform effectively at work.

Unprofessional Conduct: Companies expect applicants to behave professionally throughout the hiring process. This includes dressing suitably for interviews, arriving punctually, and treating everyone with respect, including interviewers, receptionists, and other staff members.

Excessive Focus on Salary or Benefits: While salary and benefits are significant considerations for job seekers, applicants who focus only on pay during interviews and show little interest in the job duties, company culture, or growth opportunities might be seen as being mainly driven by money.

Inability to Work as Part of a Team: Teamwork and collaboration are crucial in many workplaces. Applicants who show an inability to work well with others, lack social skills, or display a competitive or confrontational attitude might not be seen as suitable for team-oriented settings.

Weak Work Ethic: Companies value applicants who show a strong work ethic, including traits like reliability, punctuality, diligence, and a readiness to go the extra mile to meet expectations. Applicants who have a history of absenteeism, lateness, or low productivity might cause worries about their dedication to the job.

Lack of Attention to Detail: Depending on the job, companies may look for applicants who show attention to detail and accuracy in their work. Applicants who make careless errors on their resumes, cover letters, or during interviews might raise doubts about their ability to perform tasks accurately at work.

In conclusion, companies look for applicants who not only have the necessary skills and experience for the job but also show professionalism, integrity, flexibility, and a positive attitude that matches the company's values and culture.
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Michele’s Answer

Great question! Warning signs - the interviewer only asks 2-4 questions, your interview is 20 minutes and you were scheduled for 30-45 minutes. The interviewer shows signs of disinterest, not looking you in the eye, crossing arms and not taking notes. The interviewee wasn't asked if they had any questions, it is like "thank you for coming, next".


As Molly mentioned don't bad mouth an employer, another manager or employee, use it as a lessons learned scenario such as what you would like to see in your manager, atmosphere of the company and your career.


There was an interview where the interviewee didn't know what position they had applied for, not sure if it was nerves or not, they knew nothing about the company or position. Be prepared!


Another time when the interviewee was not a match to what we were looking for but by the end of the interview, they had changed everyone's mind, they were prepared, eager, willing to learn, had great questions, they wanted to work for our company, they had passion and they were very successful after being hired.

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Greg’s Answer

For me, a bad interview is when the candidate is smug and rarely gives specific answers or examples when asked a question. Too many times I see candidates that have canned answers and their authenticity is lacking. Also, always be prepared. Dress the part and be confident but also be humble and polite. Employers want to believe they are hiring someone who has a positive attitude and thoughtful but also dedicated and dependable.

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Dawn’s Answer

If you're the hiring manager/interviewer, are they focused during the interview? Do they check their phone? Were they late to the interview (without a REALLY GOOD reason)? Are they not dressed appropriately for the interview (which could vary based on the industry)? Are there gaps in their resume that aren't explainable? Don't be afraid to ask some of these questions. If you think they have the skills, but still aren't sure, have a couple peers or other team members have a conversation with them too to gauge their reactions to the individual's knowledge, skills, abilities, etc.

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Molly’s Answer

I would agree with Greg's comments above. I would also add that not asking your own questions when given the opportunity shows a general disinterest or an implication that you feel you already know everything, which can never be true! Bad-mouthing a former employer is always a no-no. It's fair to say something such as "my personal values aren't aligned with the leadership in that organization", but not ok to get nasty. It never comes across right. Be positive, be eager, do your homework ahead of time and ask thoughtful questions!

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