Watch out for those red flags!!
We’ve all heard this, “watch for the red flags”, but do we all really react when we see them? And now, when there are so many more unemployed candidates than there were two or three years ago, resources have popped up all over to help those, “less than stellar” candidates get through an interview and land a job.
Here are some subtle red flags that I’ve picked up over the years, that I hope, if you haven’t already, you can add to your screening arsenal.
- Too Much Information: I see this one often. A long resume, with lots of big words, making the candidate who for their whole career has been in middle management (based on job titles you see on the resume), but the resume reads like they worked right alongside Bill Gates when he was starting Microsoft. Make sure that the candidate’s descriptions of their positions make logical sense with the job title. A division, or regional level manager rarely sits in on negotiations for the acquisition of venture capital. And while there has been a lot of downsizing over the past couple of years – if their resume reads like they were integral in starting Microsoft – well they’d still be there – someone else would have been let go.
- Big Profit and Revenue Growth Claims: Salespeople and Sales Mangers love to do this. On the resume they report that the grew revenues or consistently grew profits, and then stop there. If there are no numbers following these statements beware. I cannot tell you how many times I have had really good people leave this off of their resume. A good candidate will know how much they grew sales and/or profits, and happily put that on paper (and a good reference can verify that). Now, don’t just assume that if there are numbers, they are accurate. I know of a business owner who loves to rave about how much his business grows every year. Once, a few years ago his revenue was listed in a business weekly. Well, now here a few years later, if his claims were true he’d be a lot bigger than he is. Check the numbers, and use common sense. If there are no numbers backing up growth claims, or the numbers just don’t make sense with what you know about the previous employer, or can reference – RED FLAG!
- Lots of Job Changes: I do believe that the days of staying with one employer for life are over – but excessive job changes – by these I mean from one company to another – or subtle gaps between positions are a red flag. I look for growth or progression from one position to another. If someone is jumping from company to company with the same job title, that’s a LOT different than moving for a higher level position each time. The difference – one is marginal and being moved out – the other is a high performer being recruited out. I’d want the latter working for me.
- Body Language or Dress: A candidate’s body language, or what they wear should match what they’ve done in the past. If you have a candidate sitting in front of you for a high level sales, or sales management position, and they are not well groomed and wearing well tailored clothes – RED FLAG! If that same candidate is well dressed and groomed, but is slouching in her chair, fidgeting, glancing away when answering questions – RED FLAG! While the business world has gotten more casual – that doesn’t mean that everything is appropriate.
I hope I provided you with a tip or two to help you weed through the field of candidates. I’d welcome your feedback.