Sometimes it is obvious when a candidate won’t be a good fit, but other times the signs may be a bit more subtle or nuanced. Knowing what signs to look for in an interview may help you avoid a hiring mistake, and if you’re interviewing a candidate with these red flags you may want to consider looking at someone else for the role.
Can’t take ownership
If a candidate views themselves as the victim or cannot take ownership of their career or their mistakes they’re probably not going to be able to thrive within your organization. A common question in an interview is to ask a candidate why they’re leaving their current job or why past jobs weren’t the right fit – how a candidate answers this question can give insight into whether they have a victim mentality. Comments about a company or boss being limiting, not being given opportunities or about how someone was “out to get them” are examples of how in the narrative of the life of the candidate they’re always the victim. Other examples of a victim mentality include an inability to take ownership of mistakes or own their part if something didn’t turn out as planned. A candidate should be able to express accountability of a project going sideways and acknowledge what they could improve upon or learn about. Victims view things as happening to them; they don’t realize the part that they play in owning what happens in their lives and making things better. This kind of a mindset isn’t easy to change or coach, so don’t expect this mentality to change if you hire them.
Bragging is never a good look, especially in an interview. Having self-confidence is positive and can make for a great trait in an employee, but arrogance is far past healthy self-confidence. For example, a candidate saying that they’re good at their job isn’t the same as them saying that they’re the best and that no one could ever possibly be as good as they are. If a candidate is bragging about other offers or companies who are pursuing them there is a chance that they’re actually using interviewing with your company as leverage to try to get the job they really want.
Lack of engagement
An interview should be a conversation where both sides are engaged. A common misperception is that a candidate who doesn’t maintain good eye contact isn’t engaged or may be hiding something, but avoiding eye contact could just mean that a candidate is introverted. However, even an introvert should be knowledgeable about the role, product or company or demonstrate a desire to learn more. If a candidate doesn’t have any questions it shows a lack of interest or a complete lack of preparation.