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Job Interview Tips: How to Spot Interviewee Red Flags

April 17, 2024

Job Interview Tips: How to Spot Red Flags from the Interviewee

Conducting a job interview is a critical task in the hiring process. It offers an opportunity to assess if a candidate is a right fit for the organisation. However, recognising red flags during an interview can save a company from potential future problems. Here are some interview tips on how to spot these red flags and what follow-up questions you might ask to delve deeper.

Interview Tips: Identifying Red Flags

1. Lack of Professionalism: This can be observed in the candidate’s punctuality, attire, or manner of speaking. If a candidate arrives late without a valid reason or is dressed inappropriately, it may indicate a lack of professionalism.
Follow-up Question: “Can you tell us about a time when you faced an unexpected challenge at work and how you handled it?”

2. Inconsistent Answers: Pay attention to inconsistencies in their responses. If a candidate’s answers vary throughout the interview or conflict with what is on their resume, it may suggest dishonesty or embellishment.
Follow-up Question: “You mentioned earlier that [specific detail], but it seems different from what you just said. Could you clarify?”

3. Negative Comments About Previous Employers: Candidates who focus on negative aspects of their previous jobs or criticise former employers may be prone to conflict.
Follow-up Question: “What could have been done differently by you or your previous employer to improve the situation?”

4. Lack of Specific Examples: When asked about their experience or skills, if a candidate can’t provide concrete examples or details, it might indicate a lack of experience.
Follow-up Question: “Could you describe a specific project where you utilised these skills?”

5. Overemphasis on Salary or Benefits: While it’s normal to inquire about compensation, excessive concern early in the interview process may indicate that they are more interested in the perks than the role itself.
Follow-up Question: “Aside from salary, what motivates you most about working in this role?”

Interview Tips: How to Further Investigate Suspected Red Flags

Probe with Behavioural Questions: Behavioural questions help understand how a candidate has handled situations in the past. It can also provide insight into their work ethic and personality.

Cross-verify with References: Before making a hiring decision, checking references can either dispel doubts or confirm suspicions about a candidate’s past work behaviour and performance.

Ask for Details and Examples: Encourage candidates to delve into specifics. This not only provides deeper insights but also tests their honesty and ability to recall experiences accurately.

Results of Spotting Red Flags

Identifying red flags effectively during the interview process can prevent potential issues. Some examples of avoidable issues are high turnover, poor team dynamics, and underperformance. It ensures that you only move forward with candidates who are likely to thrive within your organisation’s culture and contribute positively to its goals.


Being vigilant about red flags during a job interview is crucial for safeguarding the integrity and effectiveness of your team. With these interview tips, hiring managers can enhance their ability to detect warning signs early, ensuring that their final selection will align well with the company’s needs and values. Remember, the goal is to find a candidate who not only has the right skills but also fits the organisational culture and contributes to its long-term success.

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