job applicants, interviewing, hiring, warning signs

8 Signs You’re About to Hire the Wrong Job Applicant

Piles of résumés represent time to wade through job applicants, trying to match a position with a person’s expertise and skills. It would be so much faster if the unsuitable job applicants walked in with a stamp on their forehead: “Reject.” Then you’d have time to spend with the best qualified candidates.

The best candidates have unique qualifications, while the worst candidates share common flaws. Here are the glaring signs that can help you short-circuit those time-wasting interviews in the hiring process and move on to the top talent quickly.


Warning Signs as You Interview Job Applicants


1. The Candidate’s Résumé or Application Has Typos, Misspellings, or Grammar Errors

Such errors suggest a lack of attention to detail and a careless attitude about the job search. Expect them to be even less concerned after hired. Can you afford to let things “fall through the cracks” when they promise your customers or coworkers to handle things?


2. The Candidate Asks About the Salary Before They Know About the Job

Often a support person has done a pre-interview on the phone or by email before the in-person conversation. If the candidate’s primary interest is “what’s in it for me?” before they “bother” with an interview, that’ll be their attitude about work in general: “I never do more than what I get paid to do.”


3. The Candidate Asks for Directions to Get to the Interview

If you need a resourceful employee, this is not your candidate. (If you’re located in some confusing place that perplexes even Siri and Alexa, then you’ll know you’re the exception to this rule and can cut the candidate some slack on this one.)


4. The Candidate Arrives Inappropriately Dressed

Dress communicates much about an applicant’s attitude and self-awareness. What’s job- appropriate may be difficult to judge when the candidate is unfamiliar with your company culture or all the job responsibilities. But inappropriate dress shouldn’t be difficult to decide. If the candidate can’t figure that out for one job interview, do you really trust them to decide 365 days a year?


5. The Candidate Comes in Empty-Handed

While you probably don’t expect them to show up with their academic transcripts and portfolios of past work, they certainly should at least arrive with something for note-taking: pen, paper, or iPad. The better candidates will bring along extra copies of their résumés in case there are several people in the room, as well as a list of references, and maybe even a list of questions.


6. The Candidate Is Unpleasant to Support Staff

The way the candidate treats your support staff signals how they’ll treat coworkers whom they consider “beneath them”—and possibly how they’ll treat your customers.


7. The Candidates Uses Profanity

If the candidate can’t get through a 20-minute interview without obscenities and profanity, imagine the lack of sensitivity around customers and coworkers. If you’re about to hire an instructor who drops “what-the-h—, right?” into every other question he answers during the interview, don’t think his safety training sessions will be any different.


8. The Candidate Takes a Call, Checks Texts, or Email During the Interview

For some candidates, their smartphone has become an addiction. How will they get work done with this constant distraction?


Take these warning signs seriously. All of these missteps by job candidates suggest a lack of interpersonal communication skills, emotional intelligence, or self-awareness. Hire at your peril.


Learn to recognize the signs of leadership in your job applicants and employees in Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire and Get Things DoneDownload an excerpt by clicking here or on the image below.


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