Candidate Red Flags

Identifying Candidate Red Flags During the Hiring Process

So, you think you found the perfect candidate for your critical position? Great! As a recruiter, it’s easy to get excited about the “perfect” resume for a position that’s challenging to fill. Like any other candidate, you need to be aware of candidate red flags during the interview process to avoid an offer turndown, or even worse, a bad hire that you’ll have to replace some point down the line.

It’s essential to have an extensive vetting process as you try to fit candidates into a vacant position. These initial conversations you have with the candidate can reveal a lot about a candidate. Here are some candidate red flags that hiring managers or recruiters should look for during the hiring process.

When they’re all about the money

During the initial conversations I have with candidates, it is essential to identify why they are looking to leave their current employer. If it’s all about money and they’re just looking for the next best thing, chances are, if they get a better offer while they’re employed at your company, they’ll leave in a heartbeat. Candidates who are all about money tend to lack loyalty. Discovering a candidates’ true motives will help your team make a better hiring decision.

Communication seems to be spotty

If a candidate I am representing starts out with excellent communication, I expect that through the whole process. I like to set the expectation early on that I would like them to call me after interviews to debrief, communicate their availability as I am scheduling interviews, and the negotiation of their offer, if it gets to that point. There are times that communication starts strongly and suddenly drops off halfway through the process. That is an immediate red flag to me because something on their end has changed. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. However, when this happens, they are either no longer interested in this position or are entertaining other offers.

Changing their story

At Johnson Search Group, we perform at least two vets on every candidate before they can move forward. This process helps us identify potential red flags or situations when a candidate is not the right fit. Initially, when I have a conversation with a candidate, I try to answer the following questions:

  • Does their experience match the job requirements?
  • Why are they looking to make a career move?
  • Are they within my client’s compensation range?
  • Are they willing to make a move within a reasonable amount of time?

Once I identify that they fit what my client is looking for, I’ll schedule a second call with one of my colleagues. During that second conversation, I am actively listening to ensure their story stays consistent and, more importantly, get feedback from someone else on my team to ensure they are an excellent fit.

We always ask similar questions on both vetting calls to really dive in deep to find out why the candidate is looking for a new job, as well as understand their qualifications, compensation, etc. Red flags arise when they change their story about why they are looking for a new opportunity or when their compensation requirements drastically change. Asking these questions a second time usually weeds out the candidates who are just out there kicking tires and help identify any other red flags or inconsistencies in their story.

Need some help vetting candidates?

These are just a few red flags you can uncover while vetting and communicating with candidates during the hiring process. If your organization is having trouble identifying qualified candidates that aren’t just looking for the next best thing, give me a call. Our team at Johnson Search Group will help you source the best candidates on the market and ensure a smooth hiring process. Reach out to us today!