Great Candidates Who Interview Badly

Recruiters often screen candidates who appear to be perfect for a position.  They might have the right skill set, are articulate and well spoken, and interview very well during their initial phone interview.  Then, only to say things during their interview with the hiring manager that virtually eliminates them for any further consideration for a position.   I have found that common sense is not as common as we might think.

I do my best to coach candidates with little experience or those who appear to be very nervous during their phone interviews in the hopes that they perform better in their in person interviews.  However, as Recruiters, we cannot always predict that a candidate will say something inappropriate or that their response to an interview question, for all intents and purposes, may eliminate them as a candidate. Candidates also believe that there is nothing wrong with their responses and will not heed their recruiter’s advice.

More often than not, your best employees are not always your best interviewers, unlike job hoppers, these individuals have not been out honing their interview skills especially after having a long tenure in their previous places of employment.   These individuals are often great candidates however hiring managers want candidates to be able to interview flawlessly and they place too great an emphasis on their interview skills.   I provide coaching to these candidates to help them put their best foot forward during their interviews.

Nonetheless I do have candidates who do exceptionally well during their initial interviews only to be rejected later by the hiring manager.

The following are red flags that would eliminate an otherwise qualified candidate.

When asked why they are interested in working for the company and a candidates’ response is that they are looking to gain experience so that the can leave and work for their dream company.  This is not a smart response, interviewers are not looking for an employee who only wants to learn at one company just to take all of that knowledge to use at another company. They are not in the business of training employees for other companies and they also do not want to find themselves recruiting for the same position in six months’ time

When asked why the candidate left their previous employers, and a candidates’ responds by saying that they did not get along very well with their manager so they ended up resigning.  It is common knowledge that people leave managers, not companies.  We all have had managers who were very difficult to work with or were micromanagers, however it is never a good idea to say that during an interview.  Depending on the hiring manager, the candidate will be perceived as someone with a “victim mentality” or someone who might be difficult to manage or who will quit if they feel slighted.  This may not be accurate; however, this response can create that perception, and perception becomes reality.

A candidate not knowing what they don’t know.  Often candidates may claim to have knowledge of certain skills or that they possess job knowledge that they do not have.   When the interviewer inquires further the candidate is unable to elaborate and appears to be dishonest.  In addition, candidates who appear overly confident about their knowledge.  It is acceptable to admit that you are guessing or that you are familiar with something but admit that you may need additional training, but guessing and saying that that you are positive is never a good idea.

A Candidate who admits to leaving a position because they could not move up in 6 months – I have interviewed candidates that told me that they had left their previous positions because they were not promoted in 6 months or because they felt that they had learned all that they could learn in their previous positions.  These candidates are often unrealistic about their aptitude and job performance and the perception is that they are job hoppers due to their unrealistic expectations and unstable work history.

Candidates who are overly obsessed with compensation – Of course pay is a critical component for any job, however when the first question out of a candidate’s mouth is about the compensation before they even hear about the opportunity or before the interview has even started, that is a red flag.  Other red flag include candidates who base their pay rate on their commute.  Compensation is not based upon a person’s commute, it is based upon their skill set and experience therefore these candidates appear to be unrealistic.  An employer will often offer a higher compensation to a highly skilled individual to entice them to come to work for them, however if the individual does not have the skills or experience to command the higher compensation, they will not be considered.

Body language that makes a candidate appear disinterested – Even when a candidate is very interested in a position and sound excited over the phone, when they arrive to the in person interview they appear disinterested or overly confident due to their body language or lack of eye contact.  The interviewer will likely perceive this as arrogance and/or lack of interest in the position.  Consequently even if this individual has the perfect background and they are very excited about the opportunity, they have created the impression that either they are not very interested or he/she believes that they are above the position.

Candidates need to be more cognizant of their responses and the perception that their responses could inadvertently create.   It is essential that they take the time to determine what is appropriate to say and what is not and why.  It is always a good idea for candidates to study interview questions and response guides or participate in mock interview with someone they know to be knowledgeable about interviewing that will provide them with honest feedback.



By |2018-09-14T10:39:16+00:00September 14th, 2018|Categories: During the Interview|0 Comments

About the Author:

Bridget has worked in the recruitment field for 22 years and has worked as a Corporate Recruiter in Human Resources as well as for the Staffing Industry and has held the positions of Sr. Corporate Recruiter, Recruitment Manager and Sr. Corporate IT Recruiter. She has experience in Human Resources, Employee Relations and Employment Law and for the last 13 years she has focused on recruiting for Information Technology roles. She has recruited for a variety of positions both nationally and internationally in the Healthcare, Fashion/Apparel, Manufacturing, Aerospace, and Food and Beverage industries. Based in Southern California, she currently works for Peoplescout as a Lead Regional Support Recruiter for Bridgestone.

Leave A Comment