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MRT Insights

March 29, 2022

Red Flags in an Interview – The Interviewer’s Perspective

As an interviewer, the main goal of conducting an interview is to identify the best possible candidate for the open position. The interview must take an objective look at each candidate that goes through the process. According to an article from Iowa State University, “the most basic objective of an interviewer is to develop an understanding of a job candidate’s qualifications, interests, and character traits that are relevant to the position”.

During the interview process, it is the interviewer’s prerogative to look out for potential red flags. These red flags can be extremely visible or hidden in plain sight. Some of the key red flags to look for when conducting an interview are:

skeptical red flags in an interview

Being Unable to Speak to Their Resume – Red Flag #1

Having the ability to speak to the accomplishments and buzzwords in a resume is one of the best traits of an ideal candidate. If the interviewee is unable to do this, it is considered an obvious red flag. Not being able to speak to the merits or accomplishments in past positions shows that the candidate is not confident in their prior projects and may show that they are not as experienced as they say they are. Any interviewer should be able to identify when this is happening and make note of it.

Unpreparedness – Red Flag #2

When candidates come to the interview unprepared, it is often easy to recognize. Doing your research on the company, industry, and position is all critical to your chances of having an adequate interview. The easiest way to determine if a candidate has done their homework on the company and position is for the interviewer to ask the candidate if they can explain what the company does and the industry they serve. It is also easy to identify if the candidate has done research if they do not ask questions at any time in the interview. Not asking questions shows a lack of interest in the role and can be a red flag to the interviewer.

Lack of Interpersonal Skills – Red Flag #3

Being a highly skilled communicator is by far one of the most important interpersonal skills to have and one of the first things interviewers notice in a candidate. Ideal communicators are aware of the professionalism and courtesy needed in a job interview environment. Here are some of the top interpersonal skills that are necessary to be a solid communicator:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Listening skills
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Conflict resolution and mediation

If you are unable to discern that a candidate has these skills, either through screening questions or otherwise, it is best to steer clear of this candidate. You can also read more hiring strategies that will help your firm attract top talent. 

Read more about interpersonal skills here at our blog. 

Arriving Late to the Interview – Red Flag #4

Punctuality is part of the interview. We all know that first impressions count and if a candidate arrives late (5 to 20 minutes or more) and did not call to let you know, doesn’t apologize or give a reasonable explanation, then doubt as to the candidates professionalism comes into play. Are tardiness and late arrivals common for this person? If so, this might be a sign. Having trouble making it to an appointment on time without a good excuse could also reflect their work ethic. 


These are just some of the many potential red flags that may arise during an interview. Interviewers must strive to identify these red flags in a candidate if they are looking to make the best possible placement. Some are easier than others to recognize. At MRT, we strive to find the best talent for our clients and do our own interviews before presenting a candidate. It is one of the many reasons why working with a recruiter is so beneficial. 

At Management Recruiters of Tallahassee, we devote our careers to delivering the highest quality job talent to help you fill any position you may need. We offer extensive client services and have a large network of hiring authorities at some of the best manufacturing companies across the country. Feel free to reach out to us here or connect directly with some of our top executive recruiters. We love guiding individuals and building careers and companies wherever we can.

We help build businesses. We form teams that will carry you forward. We are capable, technical, efficient, and effective.