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Warning signs of a bad hire

In an increasingly competitive talent market, it’s never been more important to find and retain the right candidate. But how can you be sure you’ve found a quality candidate and what are the red flags you need to look out for?

Attracting, interviewing and hiring new employees is a time-intensive, painful and costly exercise, so it’s important to know the warning signs of candidates who aren’t going to be a good fit for your business.

Warning signs when reviewing a candidate’s resume

Here are three red flags to watch for when reviewing a candidate’s CV:

  1. Employment Gaps - Check for the gaps in the timeframe and ask a candidate to explain them- do the answers ring true? Employment gaps are absolutely fine if the reason is logical, such as a break to travel, to further a learning degree or having a child. While most candidates will have at least one gap in their work history, the red flag is periods of unemployment that are not backed up with a reasonable explanation.
  2. Lack of attention to detail - this can be a huge red flag. A candidate should go through their resume and cover letter with a fine-toothed comb before hitting the submit button. Ultimately if there are errors, this lack of attention may reflect how they will behave if hired.
  3. Generic cover letter - a general resume and cover letter that could be used for multiple jobs is a warning sign. If your role is specific, well paid and you are looking for a long-term candidate the documentation should be written with you in mind. The candidate should tailor their resume and cover letter to your business and focus on the role they are applying for and show exactly what they offer and how it relates to your role.

Interview red flags

There are certain attitudes or ways of communicating that should make hiring managers think twice about a candidate.

  1. Egotistical behaviour or arrogance - there’s a fine line between arrogance and confidence, but if a candidate presents as someone who knows it all or speaks only about themselves, it’s a warning sign that they may find it difficult to accept feedback and may not fit well within a team.
  2. Late or moving the interview - a candidate who is late to an interview or pushes the interview out should be a red flag. If your meeting is not a high priority when they are looking for employment and then this is likely to be a way of operating when they are hired.
  3. Short on the details - a candidate who isn’t willing to provide necessary information or bring required documents to an interview (such as referee details or visa status) is a concern. It should start to get you to question their suitability. Why aren’t they willing to participate in basic checks? What are they trying to hide?

What to do if you have concerns?

It’s tempting in the employment market Queenstown is experiencing, to forgive or turn a blind eye to the warning signs and employers ideally need to give candidates the opportunity to explain their side of the story before making a decision.

However, identifying the wrong candidate before it’s too late comes down to doing your due diligence from the outset. If your short list doesn’t have a worthy back up candidates, this leaves you exposed. Reference checking even if they are overseas and speaking to two or three previous employers and being prepared to ask hard questions to persuade yourself that this truly is a worthy employee.

Finally, look at how the candidate presents themselves on public social media channels. These steps will help reduce the risk of the wrong employee being hired.

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