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Candidate Red Flags


A red flag at the beach can signal rough waters and dangerous conditions; it’s a simple way to indicate that extreme caution is necessary. Those in control of hiring decisions should also use caution, and while observing and understanding people is a more complicated art than observing beach conditions, it’s vitally important. Poor hiring decisions are costly, while also decreasing organizational productivity and workforce morale. It’s important to get it right! When it comes time to interview, these are a few red flags to watch out for to ensure you get a candidate who is a good fit:

Lack of enthusiasm - Quality candidates will make up for any lack of experience with enthusiasm for learning at your organization. If someone is disengaged during the interview, expect the same if he or she works for you.


Lack of preparation – Unless your company is just starting up, there’s no excuse for a candidate to be unfamiliar with your purpose and track record. If they are ill-prepared with thoughtful questions, consider it a window into their work ethic.

Arriving late - Tardiness, isn't a great look for a candidate, especially if the interview is being conducted remotely. Being punctual is necessary and shows respect for others' time.

Too focused on salary or perks – Of course compensation is important! But if an interviewee focuses on compensation to the detriment of all other aspects of the role, his or her heart is likely in the wrong place.

Negativity - If a candidate speaks poorly of past employers, or blames others for mistakes while refusing any responsibility, it's a sign that the problem might be the person rather than the situation. Plus, no one wants to work with someone who is a downer; a pleasant personality is a must.

One area that deserves a bit more forgiveness is if a candidate appears nervous during an interview, especially a first interview. Use your best judgement and if you think the candidate might be a good fit, try again with a second interview.


If you need help navigating potentially treacherous hiring waters, get in touch to arrange a quick chat. Email Paul, Brent, Troy, or Tara, or give us a call at 519-673-3463 or 416-847-0036.

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