How to spot red flags in the hiring process

by Jan 27, 2022

Spot red flags in the hiring process


Usually there are any number of red flags in the hiring process which would have been obvious if you had been paying attention and knew what to look for.  When you look back sometimes you can kick yourself for being so unobservant. Here’s how to avoid that bruise on the shins.

Here are some to look out for which you should note:

đŸš©1. Unprofessional interaction in the early stages

  • This can be from an in-house recruiter or external agency.
  • If the communication isn’t timely, courteous and on point, beware.
  • The recruiter is vague about the key components of the job or doesn’t have a job profile. Check they are the sole organisation dealing with the search.
  • One colleague posted on LinkedIn about an ungrammatical automated response for a senior part time consultancy role.


red flags in the hiring process

đŸš© 2. Poor job descriptions

  • These can be vague or rambling descriptions of responsibilities
  • Worrying references to the work environment and culture (see below)
  • Over inflated qualifications.
  • Unclear reporting structure
  • Lack of certainty about team size, reports or peer group.


đŸš©3. Interview process issues

  • Excessive number of interviews, tests, assessments, or people to talk to.
  • Unpaid job interview assignments which are essentially consulting engagements.
  • Interviewer is unprepared, late, or discourteous in any way
  • Shabby offices with out-dated equipment.
  • Erratic scheduling or last-minute changes to the arrangements.


Worth a read: Why an informed candidate is a preferred candidate 


đŸš©4. Worrying descriptions of work environment

These can be in the job profile or be mentioned in the interview process. Make a note.

  • Go the extra mile
  • Work under pressure
  • Work with minimal supervision
  • Hit the ground running
  • Ability to cover multiple roles and multi-task
  • Travel commitments in own time and in own vehicle
  • Outside hours commitments
  • Think outside the box, work independently
  • Flexible working hours


red flags in the hiring process

đŸš© 5. Imprecise information on benefits

  • Little information on sick pay, pension, travel and home office compensation.
  • Strange perks which may not interest such as an open bar tab on a Friday.
  • There could also be evasiveness around hours worked, time off, holidays/vacation.
  • This is when words like “we are a family” are used.


Worth a read: Why do we look for a work family? – 3 Plus International


đŸš©6. Vagueness around

  • KPIs
  • Career opportunities
  • Onboarding support
  • Additional discretionary duties
  • Training possibilities.
  • The reason for the opening.
  • How they handled the pandemic.
  • Diversity, inclusion and gender balance


Worth a read: Sacrifice culture is killing people

đŸš©7. Job posting

  • Job posting stays up during the hiring process
  • High turnover in the role
  • Job opening re-posted and you haven’t had any communication.


Red flags in the hiring process pop up at every turn. This list is by no means exhaustive. Hope you feel better prepared now to spot them because it’s always better to be careful than sorry.


3Plus can make sure you are as prepared as possible, with Interview Coaching to help you land your dream job.



Staff Writer: Career Contributor
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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