Candidate Warning Signs: 5 Bad Behaviors Employment Agencies Watch For

If there’s one part of my job as a recruiter that I never tire of, it’s candidate interviews.  People are unique, fascinating creatures and never are two interviews the same. Some are revealing. Some are routine. Some are so downright inspiring that I am instantly reminded why I’m in the employment business in the first place.But sometimes, candidate interviews go bad. So bad that sometimes before the person even sits down, I know it’s game-over.   There are certain warning signs throughout the hiring process that I watch out for to ensure poor candidates never make it to the point of meeting my clients.  And I want to share them with you.

Whether you’re a job seeker or an employer on the hiring hunt, it’s important to know what behaviours do not sit well with employment agencies.

Here are my top 5 warning signs of a bad candidate:

1.  “Was I supposed to bring a resume?”

When a candidate shows up to the interview without a resume, recruiters see red.  Sure, we could sacrifice eight-to-twelve minutes rifling through files to find the original copy, but does that really sound like something we want to do? The bottom line: a lack of resume signifies a lack of preparation, and a notable inconvenience to both parties.


2.  “Come here, receptionist-person!”

Some people know how to turn on perfect manners like a light switch.  Don’t be fooled by the candidate who’s talking as sweet as pie to the recruiter or hiring manager – judge her true character by how she treats the receptionist.

Many employment agencies debrief their receptionists and/or assistants to note candidates’ behaviour while waiting to be called for an interview.  Employment agencies are looking for polite and professional composure throughout the hiring process; even when the recruiter isn’t looking.


3.  “If there’s one thing I’m not doing, it’s getting other people coffee.”

Ugh. Attitude. It’s one thing to be assertive but it’s another to act entitled. If the candidate really wanted the position, he would be prepared to go above and beyond the call of duty to prove his strengths to the company. And yes, that might involve a few latte-runs.

A negative attitude during the interview is a big, bad warning sign of a difficult person and regrettable hire.


4.  “I’ve never messed up at work, I promise!”

Oh wow, I’ve never met a real-life angel before! How exciting! How rare!


There’s no such thing as perfection in a job position. When recruiters ask behavioural questions that elicit a response about a work experience gone wrong, they’re looking for honest answers.

As a recruiter, I want to know how a candidate will handle challenges and set backs in a new position. If the candidate refuses to enlighten me with an example of a pitfall they overcame at work, how can I predict their behaviour down the road?


5.  “It’s not a blood stain, it’s soup.”

Rumpled dress shirts, soiled blazers and stained slacks; even formal wear can give away a candidate’s true colours. For employment agencies, it’s all about the details. Stains and scuffs may go unnoticed by some, but not recruiters.

Sure, accidents happen. Coffee spills. Mud splatters. But there’s something to be said for crisp, ironed interview attire and brightly polished shoes. It suggests attention to detail, diligence and responsibility. Anything less than that is knocking off hire-ability points.


Employment agencies know the warning signs. Do you?

 As we reported in recent blog post, a bad hire can cost a company thousands of dollars (we’re talking $25,000-$50,000!) Employment agencies know the warning signs and can ensure businesses save money and accelerate employee productivity with the right fit for the position.

What do you consider a “warning sign” of a poor candidate? Share your tips with us in the comment section below!

Make your next hire a great hire – contact Stacey at Aspire Recruitment Solutions  – your go-to Kelowna recruiter!