What are some of the biggest red flags in an interviewee? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
I rarely give candidates feedback on red flags they give off during interviews, mostly because it is really hard to deliver this feedback without offending the person. I spent 10 years as a recruiter and interviewed thousands of candidates. Now as a co-founder of, a recruitment platform for small businesses, I have access to real world data across many industries on why candidates fail interviews.
These are the top seven reasons that I see most often for why our clients reject candidates.
1. They talk too much about compensation. Generally, I will raise the issue of compensation once at the beginning of the interview and if you are within the range for the role we can move on and talk about other things. I wrote more about this in a recent Quora question. Once salary has been discussed, try not to keep going back to the topic, as a candidate who is primarily motivated by money rarely gets past the first interview.
2. The person uses a bad introduction. I wrote a lot more about this in another recent question on Quora. Most people form their opinion of you in the first 30 seconds, so if your introduction is not great, it impacts the rest of the interview.
3. The LinkedIn profile does not match the resume. As a LinkedIn profile is public, candidates are less likely to fill it full of half-truths or outright lies. It is very common for me to find roles on LinkedIn that are missing on the resume, massive differences in start/finish dates, and huge differences in title. I question candidates on this and it is very uncomfortable for them when they get caught. My ownprofile has roles missing but I happily volunteer why that is the case.
4. The person seems to lack energy or motivation. I don't expect candidates to blast into the interview like a 100-meter sprinter, but if they come across as low energy I find it very hard to get past that. When digging into details of how people work, it is often clear they are happy to coast along and are not a great fit for a company that likes their staff to be very self-motivated and driven.
5. There are strange things in the background during video interviews. I won't list some of the horrendous things I have seen in the background of candidate video interviews. You really don't want a boardroom of people seeing half the stuff you have lying about your house. Be sure to check behind you and make sure there is nothing there you do not want the interviewer to see. Also make sure you have privacy so nobody wanders into view. If you want to dramatically improve your video interview quality, followon how to set up your lighting.
6. There are weird things on their social profiles. I always do a bit of Googling before I interview a candidate. In most cases what turns up is pretty standard, but there are times when I find things that are going to impact a candidate's chances of securing the role. Assume anything you post online is public and you won't have this issue.
7. The candidate is not 100% sure what role he or she wants. Many candidates start hunting for a job before having a clear view of what role they want. When interviewing, I probe on this point and if I feel the candidate is interviewing across a broad range of incompatible roles then I usually decline. Normally, these candidates will get to the offer stage then withdraw, or accept and then switch jobs very quickly when they realize they made a bad career move.
Don't try to drastically change who you are to slip through interviews. Often what one person considers a red flag, others will see as a positive. In general, though, anything you do that consistently comes across as dishonest, abrupt, rude, lazy, or uncomfortable you should work on, as they rarely have a positive impact on your interview.
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