No Thank You! Top Interview Disqualifiers

by Modis on June 12, 2015

Every talented recruiter knows how important it is to watch out for red flags — tardiness, negative attitudes towards past employers, and exaggerations of past experiences. These signs, however, may not be enough to reveal the signs of a bad hire.

Hiring managers need to dig deeper and focus on the subtleties. Polished answers are often skin deep and may mask a mission-critical weakness. Here are five less-than-obvious interview disqualifiers that should raise red flags.

A Dependence on Buzz Words

In the IT, data, and technology industry especially, buzz words tend to be the norm. In fact, it’s often challenging to communicate without relying on at least some of these terms— like big data, for instance.

What buzz words tend to mask, however, is whether candidates truly know their stuff. Today’s top technology hires are more than just smooth talkers. They’re open to getting their hands dirty. In addition to explaining the ‘why,’ it’s critical that they have insight into the ‘what’ and ‘how.’

To that end, interviewers should probe candidates for tangible answers that demonstrate an ability to solve complex problems.

Lack of In-Depth Understanding

If a candidate claims to be an expert, he or she should be able to address more than just the basics. The harsh reality, however, is that candidates often confuse or over-exaggerate their capabilities—and it’s not that they’re being dishonest. Expertise is in the eye of the beholder, and the candidate may not have a clear understanding of what your business is seeking.

One way to assess understanding is to ask a series of in-depth situational questions. Ask candidates to walk you through specific case studies and details. When you ask focused questions, candidates will be better positioned to speak to their expertise.

Disinterest in Pet Projects

Candidates who love what they do will likely take on pet projects during their spare time. Examples include side businesses, volunteer gigs with nonprofits and classes.

Pet projects may be personally driven, but the learnings generated will bring direct value back to your organization. Look for candidates who have interests beyond work— and who use their free time to learn, grow and build upon their careers.

A Focus on Requirements Rather Than Accomplishments

During an interview, star performers will focus on what they’ve achieved rather than their responsibilities on paper. Every interviewer knows that job descriptions change over time as team members adapt to their roles.

Look for candidates who have transformed opportunities into more than just jobs by adding tangible value back to their organizations. Ask candidates what they achieved rather than what they did— have them focus on their proudest moments rather than their everyday responsibilities.

Resume Red Flags

Stop a bad interview from even happening by paying attention to top disqualifiers on your candidates’ resumes. Examples include unusual employment gaps, lack of clear start and end dates, frequent career transitions, and lack of clarity regarding roles and responsibilities. If you’re not sure whether something is actually a red flag, just email or call the candidate. By establishing high standards, you’ll attract the best possible candidates. Read between the lines, and pay attention to subtle cues. When you listen, learn and empathize, you’ll be well positioned to understand your candidates on an individual level.

Make your Next Interview Worth it

We know how valuable your time is when it comes to finding your next great tech professional. That’s why we are dedicated to connecting top businesses just like yours to exceptional IT talent. Contact us today to start moving your business forward.

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