Red Flags that Scream “DON’T HIRE ME”

Hiring would be so much easier if slackers, job-hoppers and toxic people wore big signs to their interviews that say:


But while things are never quite this simple, “problem” candidates frequently say and do things that signal there’s trouble ahead. With a trained eye, you can spot red flags and prevent bad hires that could set your organization back years and thousands of dollars.

What should you look for? Here are a few warning signs that a candidate is not right for your company:

Job hopping.

While short tenure at a series of jobs is not, in and of itself, a reason to discount a candidate (especially if those positions show a growth in responsibility), be wary of candidates who:

  • can’t provide a reasonable explanation as to why they changed jobs so often;
  • bounce around from field to field, with no logical progression in their work history;
  • become defensive or evasive when you pose direct questions about prior employers.

Little understanding of your company.

Logically, a candidate who really wants to work for you will try to impress you and stand out. Demonstrating that they’ve “done their homework” is one of the best ways to do that. On the other hand, if the interviewee obviously hasn’t taken the time to:

  • learn about your company’s products/services, customers and history;
  • understand your mission, challenges and needs;
  • prepare a list of relevant questions for you to answer…

…chances are they won’t put extra effort into their work, either (and who wants to hire someone like that?).



Ever interview a candidate who was never responsible for ANYTHING that went wrong in their life? They blame traffic for their lateness. Lazy co-workers for their own poor performance. And evil bosses for firing them.

Everyone makes mistakes. We’re all human! But an inability or unwillingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions is a BIG red flag to watch for. If your candidate can’t provide sound examples of owning up to and resolving problems they’ve caused, run.


No plan.

When you ask your interviewee to describe their plans for the next 12 months, do they squirm and stutter – or provide a clear overview of what they’d like to achieve? If a candidate doesn’t have a prepared response, it may mean they don’t plan ahead (which doesn’t bode well for growth or job tenure). Look for responses that:

  • align with the career track for the available job;
  • indicate passion for the type of work they’d be doing for you;
  • show they’re capable of long-term planning.

Hire Smarter.

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