Warning Signs: Recruiters Reveal Their Biggest Turnoffs



The interaction between candidates and recruiters during a job interview plays a key role in whether or not an applicant is hired. Everything from a candidate's appearance to how well he or she communicates creates either favorable or unfavorable impressions for recruiters tasked with determining the candidate's fit for the organization and the role before moving him or her along in the process.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Interviewing Candidates]

SHRM Online asked a few talent acquisition professionals what most alarms or impresses them—with either red or green flags—during candidate interviews. Here's what they said.

Warning Signs

Being unprepared or inauthentic trigger the most common alarm bells for recruiters.

"One of the biggest red flags when candidates are interviewing is when they show up without a resume," said Catherine Pylant, senior corporate recruiter at Wal-Mart. "It is near impossible to have a progressive conversation without being able to review their experience. I always recommend to my candidates to not only bring one copy, but bring three as you never know how many interviewers may be in the room."

Simply stated, candidates will be judged by the amount of effort they put into the process. "If you show up prepared, ready, open to new ideas, conversations and opportunity, and can go with the flow, you will go far," said Erin Stevens, SHRM-CP, corporate recruiter with MasterBrand Cabinets in Jasper, Ind. "Not being prepared, being negative, complaining or not [being] open to the process will definitely hinder a candidate."

Stevens compared the interaction between candidates and recruiters to dating—with each party responsible for setting the mood. "You have two people, both mutually looking for something they like in each other. If one of them shows no interest, or is rude or unprepared for the journey, the relationship will not form properly and is doomed from the beginning. This is why it's so important for not only the candidate to be prepared but for the company to provide that candidate with a great experience."

When candidates are challenging to work with throughout the interview process, it is usually an early sign of what it will be like to have them as part of the organization, Pylant said. "If they have a [slow] response [time], making it difficult to schedule the interview steps, or [are] constantly changing what they are looking for in regards to compensation and responsibility, a recruiter needs to really take a step back and uncover what is really motivating them to make a move."

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