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5 minute read

Red Flags Employers Look Out For in Candidates

Every hiring manager has red flags they remain on guard about during the recruitment process. Check out these common warning signals to give yourself an advantage.

When you’re going through the recruitment process, you need to make the best impression on the hiring manager. To do so, you must remain closely aware of the red flags they look out for in job applications and job interviews to ensure you put your best foot forward.

So, what do these red flags look like? And what preparation can you do to sidestep these issues? Here, we delve into a collection of common red flags that employers will make a note of throughout the recruitment process. By addressing these concerns, you give yourself the best chance of landing the job.

1. Lack of attention to detail

Attention to detail is a soft skill that virtually every job requires in one form or another. Therefore, hiring managers remain vigilant about candidates that lack a meticulous approach to their job application and how they conduct themselves during the job interview.

For example, you must proofread every job application, including your resume and cover letter, to ensure it doesn’t feature any embarrassing spelling mistakes or incorrect details. These errors potentially signal an idle attitude and poor quality of work.

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2. Arriving late for the interview

Arriving late for a job interview is another detail-oriented aspect that can raise concerns with a candidate’s ability to perform up to standards. While mistakes happen, showing up after the agreed time conveys a sense of disorganisation and poor time management.

Always double-check the agreed time and venue before heading to the job interview. Do your best to arrive at least 30 minutes early to ensure you find the right spot and have time to catch your breath before sitting down with the hiring manager.

3. Unexplained employment gaps

Unexplained gaps in your employment history are a tell-tale red flag during the recruitment process. After all, what has someone been doing for the past few months if there’s no career information to speak of? However, if this describes your situation, there are ways to overcome this challenging question.

Always be honest about these gaps because there’s a good chance you’ll get caught in a lie. If you were made redundant from your last position, explain how you’ve used your spare time to enhance your skills. Meanwhile, gaps because of sickness or time spent travelling can also have positive explanations.

4. No questions of their own

You should always go into a job interview with questions about the role. Why? This shows that you’re taking an active interest in the position and have clearly thought about how it suits your skills and personality. By asking the right questions, you can show the hiring manager you’re the perfect fit.

Reflect on the day-to-day responsibilities listed in the job description and ask about these in more detail. You can also enquire about your colleagues and what projects you’ll most likely be working on. Plus, asking about training opportunities and job expectations also shows you in a positive light.

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5. Giving generic responses

Candidates who have put little thought into the role raise immediate red flags with hiring managers. This is noticeable from the moment you send your job application. If you send a document with vague statements and non-applicable information, it’s harder to get taken seriously as a candidate.

The same applies when sitting down for a job interview. If you’re being asked specific questions about the business and the role, yet have little to contribute outside of generic remarks, standing out against other candidates who have prepared more could be difficult.

6. Gossiping about past employers

Every job interview is going to involve questions about your previous employer. However, avoid sharing private details about their organisation, even if they acted incompetently or unethically. This diligence speaks to your professionalism and maturity to rise above this sort of office gossip.

No business is perfect, so companies want to know that you can use your discretion to deal with challenging circumstances. If you wax lyrical about how your last boss didn’t have a clue, it shows that you left the business with unresolved issues and hold long-term grudges.

Stay mindful of these red flags before you go for your next interview, and good luck!

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