That’s a Major Red Flag

Rawr. It’s 12:55 pm Central Time and my candidate that I had pre-scheduled to speak with at noon did not answer his phone. No email saying that he couldn’t make the call anymore and still no call back. Not even a text. Red flag.

Grrr. It’s 3:00 pm Central Time and still nothing. Red flag.

Over it. It’s the next morning; the candidate has looked by my LinkedIn profile (easy to tell) and still has not sent me an email, text, or phone call. Red flag and candidate rejected.

After the above scenario occurred, I was immediately inspired to write up a quick post about “red flags,” a favorite term of myself and many other recruiters out there. I use the term “red flag” when a candidate has a little something wrong with their qualifications. I don’t consider red flags to always be deal breakers however. For instance, a deal breaker for the roles I currently recruit for would be a candidate unwilling to travel. My positions require 90% travel and I cannot make exception to the rule, hence the interview stops immediately once a candidate communicates that he or she cannot travel.

Also, by writing a post about red flags, it means I would get to link to this hilarious skit from our friends at Saturday Night Live and their interpretation of a red flag.

So, candidates and readers, here are a few red flags that most recruiters will find bothersome and potentially could affect your good standing in their hiring process.

Late or Rescheduled Calls – Running late? Need to reschedule a call? No problem! Recruiters understand that schedules get wonky! However, if you do not email or text before the schedule time of your interview, you are unprofessional and it’s a red flag. Send a quick email. It takes two seconds.

Poor Written Communication – I actually dedicated an entire blog post to this a while back. I do not believe that every email written needs to look like a formal business letter especially if a recruiter is just asking you about a date and time for a call, say. However, always use complete sentences, proper grammar, and punctuation. I need to know that as a new hire you will write excellent client-facing communication. Poor writing is a red flag.

How Much? – Every candidate needs to know about compensation sometime during the interview process. No matter how great the job, if the numbers won’t work, it is moot. However, if the first question a candidate asks me is about compensation, it’s a red flag. That leads me to believe this candidate values money, over the work they do as well as makes me question whether their values with align with our company culture. Make sure you know about the job before you ask about the money.

Disparaging Comments – Finally, one of the biggest red flags out there is making disparaging comments during an interview. When a candidate excessively complains about their former employers or perhaps teammates, it is a major red flag. If you had a bad experience with an employer, keep your explanation of it very professional during an interview. Do not whine or bad mouth. There have been many times when a candidate starts explaining a tough employment situation and then spirals into a diatribe about how horrible their boss was or how they hated one of their colleagues, etc. Being overly-negative is a red flag, too. Stick to the facts and keep your answer professional to avoid this damaging red flag.

About the author


Cassie Sturdevant

Cassie Sturdevant is a Senior Recruiter for Impact Advisors, a healthcare IT strategic and implementation services consulting firm just named 2013 Best in KLAS for Overall Services. She specializes in humor and follow up.