Hiring Red Flags – The 4 Candidate Characteristics that You Should Run From

It’s easy to reject a candidate who obviously doesn’t have the skills or experience required for the job.

But personal characteristics?

While they’re just as vital to job success as hard skills, personality traits can be much more difficult to evaluate objectively when hiring.

Candidates frequently say and do subtle things during an interview that provide clues about their true nature. With a trained eye, you can spot hiring red flags and rule out individuals who aren’t a good fit for your organization. In this earlier post, we shared several red flags that scream “DON’T HIRE ME!” Below, we review a few more warning signs that a candidate does not have the right soft skills for your company:


Every candidate wants to put their best foot forward in a job interview. And if you’re hiring for a leadership role, you need an individual who is confident in their abilities. There’s a fine line, however, between knowing one’s worth and being downright conceited. Proceed with caution if your job candidate:

  • appears over-confident or dismissive about the requirements of your available position;
  • shares stories where the rules just didn’t apply to them;
  • dodges questions about times they failed or personal shortcomings – NOBODY is perfect.


When a candidate sits down with you for an interview, you should have their undivided attention and get the sense that they truly want the position. Pay attention to the nonverbal cues they send to gauge how interested and engaged they are. Lack of appropriate eye contact, repeated clock-watching and fidgeting are clear indicators that your interviewee is distracted. If you notice any of these cues, ask yourself: If the candidate is this inattentive during the interview, how focused and dedicated will they be on the job?

Shirking blame.

Ever interview a candidate who blames traffic for their lateness, inept co-workers for their own poor performance, or evil bosses for firing them? Everyone makes mistakes but beware of any candidate who habitually points fingers or is unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions. If your candidate can’t provide sound examples of owning up to and resolving problems they’ve caused, run.


Conscientiousness is a fantastic quality in a job candidate – unless it paralyzes them, that is. If you get the sense your interviewee is extremely detail-oriented, probe further during the interview to make sure their perfectionism isn’t a liability:

  • Is the candidate hypercritical of their own, or others’ work?
  • Do they describe themselves as workaholics or control freaks?
  • Are they unable to move projects forward or make effective decisions, unless everything is perfect?

Ensure your next hire has the right soft skills.

PrideStaff’s On Target fulfillment process eliminates the guesswork, chance and inconsistency in hiring – and ensures you receive better quality candidates, every time. Contact your local PrideStaff office to learn more.