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Red Flags During the Interview Process, Part 2

In October, we explored some common “red flag” candidate behaviors that hiring managers should look out for during an interview process. We described how circumventing established search processes, not responding promptly to email or voicemail messages, and exhibiting rude or disrespectful behavior to office staff are all examples of unprofessional candidate behavior that should not be overlooked. This month, we will discuss several additional red flag behaviors that suggest a candidate may not be a good fit for your organization. These include:

  1. Being late for an interview. Tardiness raises serious doubts about whether an individual would show up to work on time or be prompt to meetings as a representative of your organization. Beyond that, punctuality demonstrates a multitude of skills that positively impact a professional’s success: organization, planning, time management, and respect for others’ time.

  2. Being long-winded. Candidates who talk excessively and don’t “check in” when answering questions exhibit poor interpersonal skills and poor judgment. Without exception, all of our clients seek candidates who bring good communication skills, including the ability to be an engaged listener. Executives must be able to clearly and succinctly communicate whole ideas in ways that are easily understood, as well as pick up on non-verbal cues. In the event that a candidate gets off track when answering a question, s/he should be able to recognize that and adjust responses accordingly.

  3. Being focused on money above all else. While certainly executives should pursue opportunities that make sense financially, if a candidate seems overly focused on compensation, s/he may be shortsighted or too self-serving. The highest performing professionals are often those who are motivated by things other than money; they believe in their organization’s mission, product, and/or culture.

Being mindful of subtle behaviors, both good and bad, during an interview can make the difference between making a good hire and a bad one. Candidates should strive to demonstrate their best selves during an interview. Exhibiting these red flag behaviors suggests that s/he may not be the right fit for your organization, even when those actions accompany a seemingly “perfect” resume. Respecting your search process, being prompt for interviews and in responding to messages, answering questions succinctly and directly, demonstrating appropriate motivation, and showing respect for office staff all suggest a level of professionalism and collegiality that should be required of anyone joining your team.


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