The interview process can be a tedious, drawn-out process for both the recruiter and the candidate. From phone screenings to a final job offer, there can be a lot of complicated, moving parts when it leads to a new, best-fit hire.
But an interview process gone wrong can lead to a candidate “ghosting” – abruptly stopping communication without notice or reason – or making a bad-fit hire. While recruiters are on the lookout for red flags in candidates, candidates can also pick up on subtle hints that a position may not be the right fit.
In fact, many applicants have specific tells that immediately signal a red flag within a company. New research from People Managing People reveals the top signs that can unintentionally turn candidates away.
Interview red flags that could turn candidates off
The study reviewed thousands of Reddit comments from jobseekers to identify the biggest interview red flags for candidates.
- Family-like culture: Using phrasing like “we’re a family” can seem like a positive sentiment, but it often comes off as the opposite. “In recent years, many have argued this concept endorses unhealthy norms like blurred boundaries, an exaggerated sense of loyalty and a lack of empowerment,” the report said.
- Extreme staff turnover: Extreme turnover or desperation to hire could signal a toxic work environment or other problems within the business, which can sour a candidate’s view of the position and be an immediate interview red flag.
- Overtime or long hours: Overtime – especially when unpaid – that happens frequently can make the position unappealing to candidates, possibly signaling staffing issues or unrealistic expectations for employees.
- Inappropriate questions: Unsurprisingly, inappropriate questions can put the candidate in an awkward position and turn them off from the job completely. This is closely related to another interview red flag on the list – lack of professionalism.
Other interview red flags included “work hard, play hard” terminology, an unorganized interview process and a lack of professionalism.
Best practices to attract candidates
It’s clear that candidates are fed up with cliches and overused phrases. But what should you do instead? Try these best practices to keep top candidates interested and find the best-fit hire:
- Be transparent: Of course, you don’t want to lay out all the negatives of a position to entice a candidate, but sugar-coating the position can be obvious to a candidate and erode trust.
- Ensure the job posting is clear and accurate: Job postings that advertise upsale perks like “free tea and coffee” without being transparent about the true compensation and benefits can make a candidate feel deceived and waste time for everyone involved.
- Have good interview etiquette: Even if the position is the perfect match, an unorganized or ineffective interview process can make the end not worth the means for the candidate. Conversely, etiquette like being on time and coming prepared can make all the difference for a candidate on the fence.