red flags in recruitment
You will very rarely find the perfect candidate for a role, so as an HR professional part of your job will be to decide which of the applicants has the ‘least bad’ drawbacks associated with them. This is a process that at its worst can be drawn out for months or even years.

While it’s often far from easy to turn down a candidate based on the all-too-brief chance you got to pick their brain at the interview, there are certain red flags that should instantly allow you to discount them from the running.

These are signs that good candidates will rarely if ever exhibit, and that are likely to lead to more problems further down the line. If you can exclude these people from the applicant pool early on, you stand to save a lot of aggravation; not to mention time and money.


All kinds of things can be negative points with a candidate, though many of them are forgiveable. You can see past a lack of knowledge or experience for an applicant who is otherwise brilliant, for example. What you can’t and shouldn’t forgive however, is the candidate who is just downright rude when they come to meet you.

Whether they’re restless, evasive, dismissive or late, there are pretty much no circumstances where you’d want to hire the candidate who has no respect for your time. Cross them off the list and move on.


Sometimes the details of a candidate’s past just don’t seem to add up. Whether they’ve counted a three-month internship as two years’ management experience, or whether they were working in Birmingham and Bangkok at the same time, there may be some parts of the story that make you pause for thought.

It could be an oversight or plain old dishonesty, but whatever the reason for the disparity, you shouldn’t feel too bad about cutting them out. How can the candidate report properly when their application contains glaring inconsistencies?


It’s okay for there to be some areas where your interviewee’s knowledge fails them, but it’s really hard to put forward a candidate who doesn’t seem to know the fundamentals of the job they’re applying for!

It sounds obvious that you wouldn’t want to hire a total dunce, but there are times when someone’s slightly patchy knowledge doesn’t have to stand in the way of their success in the role. If a person is accomplished, driven and quick to learn, you might overlook the fact they don’t have a lot of experience of one part of the role. The red flags we’re thinking of are more along the lines of not having bothered to research the company or role at all, demanding a ridiculously high (or low) salary, or staring blankly at the receptionist when asked who they are here to see at the interview stage.

It can at times feel as though you’re taking a huge risk, no matter who you choose. You can take some of the guesswork out of the recruitment process by coming on board with Blue Octopus and our award-winning service team. To find out more, get in touch today!

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