How to Identify a Bad Hire During the Interview – 9 Critical Tips

The interview process can be tricky for employers. Some candidates, regardless of resume strength, are not good at interviewing. It is as simple as that. Does a bad interview make a candidate a bad hire? Not necessarily. Therefore, it is crucial to know how to identify a bad hire during the interview.

Now, some bad hires are more than obvious. If an applicant is wearing sweatpants or paying attention to the walls during an interview, run for the hills. But, some bad hires are charismatic and well-dressed. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, if you will.

It is significant to know the subtleties of a bad hire before the interviewing process. Do not get fooled by great acting.

Did They Do Their Research?

Some applicants believe they can land a job off their personality alone. While it’s easy to respect that level of bravado, it does not usually lead to a great employee. An interviewee knowing solid information about the job and company is a great reflection of their work ethic.

Overall, this does not mean that the person should know every detail about the company (though it couldn’t hurt) but at least have general knowledge about the job position and values.

Ask them why they were drawn to the job. If their answer is generic or a startled expression, you’re just an interview on the to-do list. Consider these flags scarlet red.

Identify a Toxic Hire via Complaints

The last thing that you want in your workplace is a toxic employee. The most alarming factor of a toxic worker is their level of negativity.

Stay perceptive to an uncomfortable level of negativity in their answers. Complaints about past jobs are okay, but it is not okay to linger on them. Also, it is not okay for complaints to feel like grudges or insults towards previous employers.

If an applicant states that they did not like how their last job did things overall, fine. If an applicant draws on about their hate for their former boss, smile and nod, but write a hard no in your notes.

Ultimately, it’s useful to ask them questions about negativity, too. For example, ask them the five things they disliked about their last job. That is a significant amount. It should take them time to come up with five answers if they can at all. If the applicant starts rattling five off the bat or goes above five, you’ve got yourself a grade-A toxic employee.

Bring in a Team

Even the keenest of eyes can be fooled. It’s okay to be bamboozled by a facade every once in a while. Therefore, bringing in another employer can help identify a bad hire during the interview. The more interviewers, the higher the chance of sniffing someone out.

If you have a strange feeling about the candidate, or just want help in general, have some else there. It’s normal practice to have another manager or employee that would work closely with the said candidate in the interview. They don’t necessarily have to ask questions, but they can still help judge character.

Identify a Bad Hire via Their Growth (or Lack Thereof)

Unless this is the candidate’s first job, there should be growth in their resume. Due to the harsh climate of the current job pool, it can be difficult for employees to find opportunities to grow. It becomes a matter of judgment on your end.

If the person’s resume shows a lack of growth, do not be afraid to ask. Some people are driven to expand their expertise but have not found the correct opportunity. But, if it seems as if the person does not have the motivation to grow, that is a bad look at their work ethic and future.

Asking about the future can help clarify these intentions, too. If they have a solid plan of where they want to be, then they may have just struggled to break through a ceiling.

We, Not I

Applicants can often be led astray by tips they’ve heard about interviewing. Confidence is key to winning jobs, sure, but overconfidence can be a distress signal for hiring managers.

Try to identify a hire by their arrogance in the interview. How many times has the candidate talked about themself? Have they spoken of their former work teams as we? How much bragging is too much bragging?

Secondly, a candidate should speak of their work accomplishments without throwing others under the bus. If they do, grab a gas mask. Things are probably going to get toxic.

Furthermore, applicants should be just as interested in the job as themselves. There should be a healthy balance in how much they talk about themself and how many questions they ask about your company.

Trust Your Gut

Your subconscious can tell when things aren’t adding up. Follow your gut. It’s that simple.

All in all, if you have any doubts about the candidate’s work ethic or genuineness after an interview, you’re probably best to move on. You should be sold on a candidate, no question.

Use References to Identify a Bad Hire

Too often employers ask for references and do not contact them. That is acceptable in most circumstances. If a candidate sells you during an interview, and you trust your decision, there may be no reason to reach out to the applicable references. If you don’t feel 100% about the person, contact the references.

You ask for references for a reason. Use them!

If a reference has negative things to say about the employee or does not remember the employee at all, take a sigh of relief and move on.

What Questions do They Ask?

Every thorough interview ends with opening up for questions; this is the time for the candidate to find out why the job is the right fit for them.

Consequently, while it is acceptable for an applicant to have questions about salary or work times, they should not be the only questions. The applicant should have an interest in the company, not how much they’re going to get paid.

Nevertheless, an interviewee not having valid questions during the interview or at the end is a solid warning sign.

It’s possible that you answered all of the interviewee’s questions throughout the interview (good job), but they should at least note this when you ask them.

Bring Them Back

Finally, remember that it is okay to have another interview.

If you got uneasy feelings from the first conversation, but still believe they’re a potential hire, bring them back for another. Maybe bring in another employee for the second interview.

It may seem like a waste of time and resources, but hiring a toxic employee is even more of a time sink. Take your time. Knowing how to identify a bad hire in the interview is a talent learned over time, but even the best mess up eventually.

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