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10 Major Interviewing Red Flags to Watch Out For

Business | CFO Consultant | CFO Services | Financial Consultant | Financial Consulting Firms | February 23, 2017

As a former Staffing Manager, I have interviewed thousands of candidates. The variety of roles have spanned from Call Center Reps to Pharmacists, Bookkeepers to Chief Financial Officers, both external recruitment and internal. Regardless of the level of position, education or certifications, these red flags are applicable in any interview situation.

As a Hiring Manager, you can never really be sure that you made the right hiring decision until a few months after the start date. However, there are a few red flags you can detect during the interview process that can assist with weeding out candidates who will be less than stellar employees.

Keep these 10 red flags in mind when interviewing candidates at any level:

a caucasian male interviewer looking skeptical while listening to an asian female interviewee.

  1. Arriving late to the Interview
    If a candidate is late to the interview, it could mean they have trouble managing their time and can struggle to meet deadlines.
  1. Unexplained Gaps on their Resume
    Unexplained gaps on a resume may imply that the candidate has trouble keeping their jobs due to performance issues. Dig deeper on this.
  1. A “Job Hopper”
    Constantly jumping from one job to the next never allows an individual to get established within an organization, follow through with major projects, or gain seniority. Ask them why they left specifically and dig deeper into the answers.
  2. Speaking about former employers in a bad light
    No one likes gossip. It’s unprofessional to complain about a former company or boss, no excuses. 
  3. Arriving more than 25 minutes early to the interview
    This is a big pet-peeve of mine. By arriving almost a half hour early or more, you put pressure on the interviewer to see you early and disrespects their schedule. More often than not, I find that arriving super early also means they have unreliable transportation issues.
  4. Typos on the resume or cover letter
    Three words: Attention to detail. 
  5. Unprepared for the Interview
    If a candidate did not do their research on the company, has not looked at the company website, or does not have questions prepared, I would be concerned about their interest and ambition. 
  6. Lack of specific work examples
    When asking situational or behavioral interview questions, I would be concerned about the candidate who can’t give specific examples. This would be a red flag about their experience level.
  1. Lack of eye contact
    Lack of eye contact typically means they have confidence issues or they have something to hide. 
  2. Overqualified
    I would be concerned about candidates who are used to making a lot more money or are overqualified, they might not stay in the position long-term. No matter who you are, no one likes a significant pay cut.


It’s difficult to determine if a candidate is the perfect fit during a hurried one hour interview. These subtle clues and red flags may be more insightful when making your hiring decision.

CFO Strategic Partners services our clients on hiring best practices, employee retention, recruitment, and interviewing skills. We offer CFO consulting services and a suite of support for building strong accounting and finance departments for Orlando’s fastest growing businesses. To schedule your free consultation, click here

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