Hiring is no easy feat. You’ve gone through the process of sifting through resumes in the attempt to select the most highly qualified of the bunch, but there is so much more to consider than academic history and work experience when seeking a new addition to your growing team. What looks good on paper may not be good in practice.
Take employment agencies, for example. They provide one service—recruiting fresh talent. Their sole purpose is to cut through the noise and provide future employers with well-qualified candidates that fit the needs of businesses across industries. When a staffing agency builds their troupe of representatives, they’ve screened each and every person thoroughly. So how do they do it? It’s often a combination of rigorous and multi-level processes. They no doubt have a dedicated recruiting team that has witnessed every type of applicant, both good and bad.
But even the best firms run into issues when looking to pick the right person for the right job. The challenge is all about fit.
The worst case scenario can result in hiring someone who exhibits traits that contrast the person you met during their interview. So, what can be done to mitigate the potential for damage? Here are five red flags to avoid like the plague.
They’re Disrespectful About Former Employers
When evaluating an interviewee, pay close attention to how they regard former employers. No workplace is perfect, and sometimes there are irreconcilable differences that lead one to part from an organization. However, this is no excuse for speaking about past employers in a disparaging manner. Candidates who are disrespectful about their relationships with past employers are likely to be repeat offenders, and a tactful person will find ways to explain any hardships they’ve had in their past without the need to include snide comments or slander former colleagues.
Past is prologue; if they’ve done it before, they’re likely to do it again. An inability to maintain some level of respect for past employers may mean that the candidate was the problem--not the employer.
A common practice is to include questions about past failures in the interview process. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes—if their answers reflect a willingness to ruminate on prior shortcomings and what they learned from the slip-up, you’ve got a winner. An employee that is willing to come forward when something has gone awry—before it’s too late—shows a strong sense of self-awareness and an understanding that their work (even if it’s a largely independent task) is bigger than any one person. Even the greenest candidates, with a diploma still warm off the presses, should be prepared to answer this question honestly. A failure to provide a sound and reasonable response is reason enough to think twice about this candidate’s ability to perform well on your team.
They Don’t Play Well With Others
As cliché as it sounds, there is truth to the adage that teamwork makes the dream work. It’s critical to look for warning signs that a person is incompatible with the rest of the team. Being of independent mind is an important characteristic for any good employee, but their approach must be one that is open to working synergistically with others to ensure they are supportive of the greater goals of the company.
They Don’t Have Aspirations
Even if the position for which a person is interviewing is fairly high-ranking, they should have goals. A good way to determine how a candidate will approach their work is to ask where they see themselves in a year, or five. Aspiring to do more, to grow the company, or apply their skills to improving standards and maintaining quality within a company, is always a good sign. If their answer is devoid of ambition, this may mean they aren’t serious about sticking with your company.
Resistant to Feedback
We all learn and improve by taking constructive feedback from one another. Including a scenario in your line of questioning, in the form of an exercise that is followed by feedback or asking a candidate about a time they received input and how they changed course is a great test of their ability to respond well to criticism. Anyone who has a hard time handling the opinions of others is likely to create tension and may have difficulties in the workplace.
Hiring can be a long and seemingly tedious process, but it’s a small investment that’s worth a careful and methodical approach. Being attentive to these five warning signs can save you time, money, and stress, and will contribute to building your perfect team.