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Twitter recently blew up with talks of thank you notes and rules of thumb that people follow for knowing whether to hire someone or not. Should you not hire someone just because they didn’t send a thank you note? Probably not the best route to go down, but there are some things that should be red flags for you.

As a recruiter, it’s your job to keep an eye out for what would make someone a good employee and, just as importantly, you need to keep an eye out for anything that could be an issue.


REMEMBER: These red flags don’t need to immediately disqualify someone from a position…it’s just worth looking deeper into them! Open the conversation, ask questions, and build a trusting relationship where everyone can speak openly about their concerns.

We got with one of our resident recruiting experts, our Director of Solutions Consulting Heather Thomas, to share what sticks out to her as red flags.

“An obvious one is job hopping (leaving under 3 years multiple times). Another one for me is if money is the first and primary question. This can be a tell-tale sign that the person has been burned by a recruiter in the past, e.g. wasted time talking about a job that was well below their compensation level. If it’s handled correctly it can build trust and endear the candidate that you have their best interest in mind. Another big red flag for me is the answer to the question, “Why did you leave your last company?” If they place blame, anger or resentment on the employer…that’s very telling. The best answers demonstrate personal accountability with fair share of successes and challenges.”


But that’s not all you should keep an eye out for…

  • Lack of references: If the candidate has been in the workforce for years and they don’t have any references they can rely on to give a good word, that’s a flag to pay attention to. Open the conversation to decipher why it is they don’t have any. Have they been stuck in toxic work situations? Have they just not asked for references? Finding the source of the issue can help you decide whether they’re a candidate worth tabling.


  • Lack of research: While candidates can’t know everything about a company before they work there, doing a bit of research before an interview is critical. If you’ve approached a candidate about a position and they’re interested they should also be taking some time to research the company; what they do, who they do it with, why they do it. They should also be coming to you with questions. Keep the lines of communication open so that you can be there to ask questions of!


  • Being unprofessional: Being late, ghosting, being rude to secretaries/receptionists, being insulting, etc. These aren’t things that can be swept under the rug. They’re often telling signs as to whether that candidate is a good fit or not. No one wants to work with someone who is always rude.


  • Being unwilling to learn and grow: Like Heather mentioned above, it’s one thing to be willing to share your successes, but when a candidate won’t share their mistakes and what they’ve done to not make them again, you may be dealing with someone who is blind to their need to grow. A candidate who shares their flaws and then shares what they’re doing to get better shows someone who is honest and ready to learn.


Let’s keep the conversation going…share your red flags with us on Twitter!