Top six red flags to look out for at an interview 

UK businesses are wasting billions of pounds every year due to hiring mistakes.* When companies recruit the wrong person for a role, the costs relating to recruitment, training and lost productivity are significant. At a time of economic uncertainty and spiralling inflation, it’s more important than ever to avoid these mistakes. To this end, HR managers are well advised to look out for the following red flags at an interview: 


  1. Arriving late. If your candidate can’t get the basics right when they’re supposed to be trying to impress you, they’re either appalling time managers or just not that interested.
  2. Lack of enthusiasm or preparation. If they don’t seem keen or informed about your role, company or industry, proceed no further. If they’re serious about the job opportunity, they will have done their preparation and want to demonstrate their knowledge.
  3. Absence of questions – like the above point, if your candidate hasn’t prepared any questions, it’s unlikely that they’re genuinely interested. Their questions should demonstrate that they’ve done their homework, they can see themselves in the role and they are in it for the long haul.
  4. Job hopping. Candidates who have frequently switched companies in the past (probably chasing a higher salary) are unlikely to stay with yours for the long term. Ditto for industry hoppers.
  5. Lack of references. If your candidate can’t offer sound references that you can check, walk away. Even first jobbers should be able to connect you with a tutor or a manager from a part-time role.
  6. Employment gaps. There are many good reasons for CV gaps, e.g., taking a break to travel, retrain, study or care for children. The interviewee just needs to explain the reason and demonstrate what value and relevant new skills their experience outside the workplace has brought them.
  7. An excess of demands. It is a job seekers’ market and conversations at interviews about flexible working, career development, corporate culture and values, and employee benefits are now commonplace. However, if your candidate seems more interested in what you’re going to do for them, rather than what they are going to do for your company, beware. They’re unlikely to be a good team player or to go the extra mile to deliver.
  8. Criticism and gossip. Beware of candidates who criticise their previous employers or colleagues. It won’t be long before they’re doing the same about their new colleagues, sapping team morale and undermining trust in the process.


These are just a few of the red flags that ABL Recruitment looks out for when we meet new candidates. We also check that their visa situations are in order as part of the screening process. And if the perfect matches don’t feature in our constantly-refreshed, vast pool of talented, available job seekers, our expert job advert writing services will be sure to find them. And did you know that booking ads through us is significantly cheaper than doing so directly yourself? We enjoy bulk discounts with most of the major (and industry-specific) job advertisers and are happy to pass the cost benefits on to you.


The work we do behind the scenes before presenting you with great matches for your open roles ensures that you’re seeing the very best talent for your roles from the outset, saving you considerable time, money and energy. If you don’t proceed to hire any of our candidates, since we operate on a pay-on-success model, there will be no cost to you. With so much to gain, we very much hope that you’ll get in touch soon – at or on 020 7092 3939 – to brainstorm the options.

*Source: Recruitment & Employment Confederation