7 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Hiring a New Employee


Hiring new employees is often a challenging process. When you need an exceptional architecture, engineering or construction professional, making an efficient, but smart choice the first time around is essential. Otherwise, projects can fall behind and problems could arise, causing you to waste time and money.

Related Post: Your Unfilled Position is Draining Your Company’s Resources – Fill It!

Red Flags to Watch Out for When Hiring

When you are looking for a great candidate, it is important to keep your eye out for warning signs that the job seeker may not be an ideal fit. Often, these individuals appear to have the right skills and experience initially, but fall short in an area that could be detrimental to the company. In some cases, potential issues are subtle, so a keen eye is critical.

Related Post: Three Challenges to Hiring the Best Candidates

Questionable Online Presence

Many people display their true character online, so reviewing a candidate’s social profiles and personal websites should be an essential part of the hiring process. A shaky presence could be a red flag, as it could indicate that they aren’t being completely honest on their resume or are not a great cultural match. However, not all candidates have a fully developed or public online presence. Note inconsistencies or areas of concern and ask questions during the interview process to better understand the individual’s background.

Related Post: Is Social Media Replacing the Traditional Resume?

Communication Breakdowns

Most active job seekers are thrilled to hear from hiring managers. Consistently prolonged delays in communication may indicate a lack of interest in the opportunity. Similarly, if a candidate responds with incomplete information or repeatedly need explicit clarification on questions that speak directly to the required skills or experience are also bad signs. A single incident  as they suggest issues with comprehension, a potential lack of ability.

Related Post: Your Company’s Success Depends on Communication

Overplaying Skill Sets

While most candidates want to display themselves in the best light possible, exaggerations regarding their capabilities are red flags as it often means they are trying to cover up their shortcomings. Additionally, if they focus too heavily on selling only certain skills, and avoid discussing other core requirements, it could indicate they are lacking in those areas. If you suspect this is the case, ask questions that require the candidate to provide examples of their experience or answers that require critical thinking and/or particular skills.

Related Post: Getting Past the Resume to Better Understand the Candidate

Not Following Instructions

Vacancy announcements sometimes include specific instructions regarding how to apply or what to include with the application, such as specific supplemental documents. If a candidate fails to deliver, that could indicate that they either did read the ad completely or simply ignored the instructions. In either case, it could indicate a problem. If they otherwise seem qualified and you want to move forward, check to ensure the instructions were clear and that there were not any technical issues. If it’s unclear upon inspection, simply ask the candidate why they neglected to do what was required.

Related Post: How RealStreet Ensures Top Hires For Your Business

Multiple Applications

When a candidate applies to every open job your company has, it can either be a great sign or a red flag. If they are genuinely qualified for each position, it could indicate that they are passionate about your company, which is actually excellent news. However, it can also be a sign of desperation or a lack of qualifications. Essentially, they may be throwing an application at every opportunity, simply hoping that something sticks. If that is the case, then be careful if you consider moving forward with them. They may jump at the next opportunity that comes along.

Related Post: Why Company Culture is Important

A Mismatched “Dream Job”

While it is perfectly fine if a candidate describes their dream job as something further up the career ladder, a complete mismatch with the field or industry is a sign that they do not want to stay in their current profession. If their dream job is too distanced from the vacant position, they may not be as intrinsically motivated to perform, leading them to be a lackluster new hire at best. They are also more likely to leave when a more ideal role becomes available.

If it seems like a questionable fit, ask why they want the job. They may be in a transitory phase in their career or they might want to work at your company and simply want to get their foot in the door. Even if they aren’t the right fit, they might be perfect for something down the road. Understanding their motivations and goals will help you make the connection when the time comes.

Related Post: Interviewing Crash Course – Finding Passionate Employees

No Thank You or Lack of Follow Up

Today, nearly every job seeker understands that sending a thank you note after an interview is an essential part of the process. If a candidate does not send one, it is more than just a break from tradition; it could indicate a lack of respect for your time or floundering interest in the role. Further, it may suggest that they lack particular social skills, something that could be problematic is they are hired. Neglecting to follow up when needed, (e.g. neglecting to provide further documentation or the answer to a question that couldn’t be answered during the interview) is also an indication that the candidate was either misrepresenting them self, lacks focus or has lost interest in the opportunity.

Related Post: Tips on Finding the Best Employees

Quickly Connect with Ideal Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Candidates

The experienced team at RealStreet prides themselves on their exceptional architecture, engineering, and construction industry expertise. We efficiently and effectively locate top talent for our partners, allowing you them to connect with ideal new hires faster than ever. If you are seeking highly skilled professionals to join your team, experience the RealStreet difference today. Contact us to see how our  services can help you find the candidates you need, today.

Thank you for the support you and RealStreet have provided us over the years. The candidates for both temporary and direct hire staff positions on numerous projects have been right on target. Your recruiters are knowledgeable about our industry and are able to understand the experience and skills required for each position. We look forward Read More…

Richard "Skip" J. Parks, PE LEED AP, Vice President

See All Testimonials

Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly emails for up-to-date industry news and insights.