Does your hiring process have red flags during interviews to put candidates off?

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When you are conducting job interviews to find your next best hire for an open position, it’s not a one-way road. The candidates too are interviewing you and making inferences from what you speak and how you do it.

It may be difficult to believe but there are certain factors that can put off your top candidates. You may have heard of interview red flags to weed out the potential bad hires but did you know about the factors that can make your supposedly best hires run in the opposite direction?

If you notice your chosen candidates aren’t taking up the job offers you make or your interviews aren’t eliciting the responses you would have liked them to, despite having a transparent and honest hiring process, perhaps it’s time to look inward.

Find if you are doing something that’s making your potential employees believe this isn’t the “right” job for them. Want to learn more about the top three red flags during interviews that can drive away even the fittest candidates for your open roles?

Read on to know the red flags that have been unearthed as the result of reviewing 5,100+ Reddit comments from job seekers, which exposed the features and terminologies considered by these people as the biggest interview red flags.

Biggest interview red flags according to job seekers (courtesy: people managing people)

1.     Family-Like Culture

Using the term “family” to describe your company is one of the biggest red flags when hiring. This number #1 turnoff for candidates could be quite surprising for you, because perhaps you use the term to indicate your company has a family-like, team-oriented, and collaborative environment where everyone’s view is respected and everyone can chip in with feedback, views, opinions, ideas, etc.

Yet, the term could mean that your company is a place where unhealthy norms are practiced, such as blurred work-life boundaries, nepotism, unlimited loyalty (which could be often stifling), and a lack of empowerment.

Imagine a company with a family-like work culture where your typical working hours and job duties go for a toss as you get overwhelmed by the workload that keeps growing. Instead of the warm and cosy environment that you want to project with the term “family,” your potential employees could be reminded of a toxic, choking, dysfunctional family with stifled career growth.

Perhaps these reasons explain why almost 1 in 5 (18%) job seekers from the study said the mention of the term “family” in an interview will put them off accepting the position they have been interviewed for.  

2.     Desperation to Hire

Is your company showing desperation to hire with words like “We really want you to say yes to this job offer?” Or has an open role with a history of extreme turnover? Either can be red flags during interviews for your potential employees as revealed by 14% of the respondents.

On average, a company will have to battle an 18% turnover in its workforce annually. However, if your interviewed candidates notice the same job getting posted frequently, they could take it as your company finding it difficult to hold onto someone in the role.

Your potential employees could also ask about your company’s employee turnover rate in interviews. A figure that’s too high or too low could be a cause for concern for some people. But it always pays to talk about it honestly instead of lying or inventing dubious facts and figures to mislead potential hires.

When job seekers are given a job offer letter right after the first interview or asked to join immediately, it could be a sign of the previous position-holder leaving all of a sudden or on bad terms. As a result, desperation to hire sits at the second spot for red flags in interviews that could put candidates off.

But the urgency to hire isn’t always bad, provided you explain the reason. For example, if you are expanding the business or have onboarded a new client that needs additional employees, explaining why it’s crucial to hire quickly for the open role could help interviewees decide faster if they would be comfortable with joining the post, say within a week or earlier. 

3.     Long Work Hours or Overtime

In the post-COVID era, employees are standing up for what they want and quitting if they don’t get it. A reasonable work-life balance has emerged as one of the top priorities for a majority. If you mention an overwhelming workload or long working hours in the interview, even compensated for by a hefty pay packet or rewards, not everyone you interview may want to take the job, as revealed by 13% of the job seekers from the study.

If overtime or long hours are seasonal (say, during the year-end or tax season), potential employees won’t mind. But if you mention employees staying back even beyond their usual office hours without extra pay, it suggests unpaid overtime is in-built into the company’s work culture and somewhat of an obligation where those who stick to their contracted job hours are made to feel out of place or are frowned upon.

It always pays to be honest with your open role’s requirements, even if it’s non-negotiable long hours so you can hire people who aren’t dismal or unsuccessful in the role.

Final Words

Using the term “family” to describe your company’s work environment, desperation to hire, and mentioning overtime or long working hours are the three top red flags in interviews for job aspirants. But other factors too could come into play like inappropriate questions (9%), low salaries or upselling of the perks (8%), and unrealistic expectations (8%).

To avoid driving your potential employees away during interviews, you can ensure the job description is crystal clear and salaries and financial compensations are mentioned with the utmost transparency. Talking about career path opportunities, flexible work options, and transparency about the vacant role (why you need to fill it urgently, why the previous employee left, etc.) could go a long way in reducing the aforesaid interview red flags.

Lastly, if you want help with your hiring process, you can always rely on us at InHunt World.

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