by Haris Quintana

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(Pixabay Licence)

As we have discussed before on this site, if you want the best employees, you have to nail the hiring process. From the resumés you receive to the interviews that you hold, these are your opportunities to find the best and brightest people currently on the job market. 

Get it right, and your business will prosper. A good employee will work productively, support you in your goals, and help to improve your profit margin.

Get it wrong, and the opposite is true. While you might be able to turn bad hires around with training and support, you might still discover that you have wasted your time with the person you have employed. This will be to the detriment of your business.

Therefore, it's important to spot a potential bad hire before they sign any contracts of employment. There are a number of ways to do this, and these include the following.

#1: Red flags on the applicant's resumé 

Does the applicant's resumé match up to the skills and experiences that your vacant position requires? If not, then there is little point in shortlisting them for an interview. Not only are they (in all likelihood) unequipped for the job you have to offer, but if they haven't tailored their resumé to the job specs you gave them, then it's clear they haven't made much of an effort to impress you. 

You should also look out for spelling and grammar mistakes, especially if the job on offer requires a good grasp of the English language. And even if the job doesn't, the lack of effort they have made to correct their mistakes might be indicative of the applicant's work ethic.

Look out too for unexplained employment gaps on the resumé. Hopefully, they will have provided you with an explanation about these in the covering letter they sent you, but if not, you have to consider reasons why those gaps exist. You can ask them at the interview stage, of course, but if they don't provide you with a solid reason, then they might have something to hide.

Here are some other red flags you need to watch out for when looking at the applicant's resumé.

#2: Negative word from others

You need to do your homework before giving somebody a job. You should conduct criminal background checks, take up references, and if you feel that it's necessary, ring around any previous employers that haven't been listed as referees. Hopefully, you will hear good word back, and that will give you greater faith in the person applying to work for you.

However, you need to take heed of any negative word. So, if the criminal background check comes back with a list of arrests and convictions, then you need to take care. You might not dismiss the applicant entirely, especially if the crimes committed were a long time in the past and irrelevant to the position offered. However, if there are any recent convictions, and especially if they have the potential to impact your workplace, you have to question the validity of the applicant. You can find out more at the interview stage, of course, as the applicant might show genuine remorse. But still, think carefully before offering a job.

Take heed too of the references you receive and the phone calls you have made to other employers. If any negative word comes back to you about time keeping, a poor work ethic, and other elements of bad employee behavior, then you have cause for concern. Again, you might give the applicant a chance, but if there are other red flags prevalent during the hiring process, you might decide to forego the risk. 

#3: Warning signs on the applicant's social media pages

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(Pixabay Licence)

You can tell a lot about a person from their social media pages, so while it might seem like snooping, you should still look at the applicant's Facebook, Twitter, and their other social networking sites to learn more about them.

So, you might look for any inappropriate posts or pictures. While they might be linked to their personal rather than professional life, you should still pay attention. Your business reputation might be compromised by the extracurricular behavior of this potential employee, especially if your clients and customers become aware of the social media posts in question.

Then look for any posts they have made about their past employers or colleagues. If you notice signs of gossip or slander, then you need to have your guard up. What if they post similar about yourself or the people you have already employed?

Check the qualifications and job histories they have listed on their social media profiles too. Do they match up to those shown on the applicant's resumé? If not, then you should probably dismiss their application. You don't want a liar on your team, after all.

And there are other warning signs you need to look out for, so follow the previous link and take heed of the suggestions within. 

#4: Warning signs at the job interview

Our first piece of advice is this. The applicant will be nervous during the interview, so don't be too harsh on the mistakes they make. Give them a chance and take steps to put them at ease.

However, there are some warning signs that you do need to pay attention to.

If the applicant turns up late for the interview without a good explanation, then you need to question their time-keeping ability. Could this be indicative of things to come?

If the applicant is clearly unprepared for your interview questions, such as those pertaining to the job description you posted and your company's background, then you might want to consider the effort they have put in before interview. This might be indicative of their overall work ethic.

And if the applicant shows little enthusiasm for your company's mission statement and the job you have on offer, then it's probably clear that they aren't the best fit for your business.


So, consider each aspect of the hiring process, and the warning signs that we have listed. It's in your best interest to appoint the right person, so to save yourself a lot of stress and bother down the line, weed out any applicants who have too many red flags attached to their names. 

Thanks for reading.