4 min read

How to Avoid Potentially Bad Hires

Sneha Alexander June 18, 2020

Making sure that your team is efficient and has everything it needs is a continuous process. Part of it is considering new candidates to add to a team thus making it more effective and diverse.

But in the same way that a great candidate can improve team dynamics and work efficiency, choosing someone who isn't right can greatly damage any potential progress you intend to make. To avoid this, pinpointing potential issues and red flags is essential during hiring process.

While pre-interview communication can tell you a lot about a potential candidate (spelling errors, for one), there's nothing better than meeting face-to-face to evaluate a candidate thoroughly. This goes not just for their qualifications but personality traits too. Even though you can't judge a book by its cover, spot enough of these and it should be a clear enough sign that you should think twice before making an offer.

Signs that a potential candidate might not be the right one for the job:

Not preparing for an interview

Being prepared for the interview is one of the first signs that shows the candidate's commitment to seizing the opportunity. From not knowing enough about the company to not being able to argue why they applied for the role is a reason enough to think they didn't put in the effort. And if they didn't put in the effort now, who's to say they will once they get the job?


Sure, every candidate should market themselves to a potential employer but the way they speak about themselves is enough to judge their intentions. Highlighting their strengths and experience in correlation with other team members and the company shows integrity, commitment, and a goal-oriented approach. Only speaking about themselves without a wider context might make you wonder, how well they worked within a team.

Failing to provide details

Asking a candidate to go into detail about a previous position isn't anything out of the ordinary. If a candidate only focuses on the surface level and avoids diving deeper, this might be a potential red flag. Moreover, they should be able to apply these details to how it advances their position in pursuing this particular role.

Inability to grow professionally

Progress is an imperative part for any professional, whether they aim high or prefer to stay low. In this day and age, many candidates actually seek out the opportunity to progress quickly and more often than not leave a job to find something that will allow more opportunity for growth. However, it's worth asking the people you interview about their growth in a previous role. If a candidate immediately jumps to saying that the employer didn't offer chances for growth, it's worth asking them how they challenged themselves to learn and achieve more within a seemingly limiting environment.

Red flags on social media

Social media is everything these days and people often forget that a public social media account can serve as an extension to their resume - if not a professional one then personal for sure. Any clear red flags on social media should be a point of immediate concern as it can highlight how the person deals with stress, issues, voicing opinions etc.

Taking responsibility and owning up to things

The simple truth is - being able to take responsibility takes guts. Everyone does it in a favourable situation yet when there's a spanner in the works things can quickly change. Ask the candidate to talk about a stressful or complicated situation in a professional environment and see how they explain it. Do they throw other people under the bus? Speak negatively about team members? Or do they take the high road and assess the situation objectively taking responsibility for certain things?

Sneha Alexander June 18, 2020

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