Finding the right candidate is a challenge. Top talent is hard to come by – 65 per cent of recruiters are reporting a lack of skilled candidates according to a recent survey – and the qualified candidates you do find are easily turned off by interview gaffes and other hiring mistakes.
Yes, the search can get frustrating. Yes, you need to fill that role. And yes, you might find yourself faced with the option of hiring a less-than-perfect candidate.
But under no circumstances should you hire any of these people.
Here are six candidates you should never hire.
This one is obvious. A person who lies is a person who can’t possibly be a trustworthy employee.
The most common untruths that make their way onto resumes and cover letters include previous employment, salaries, and skills. And all three are easily exposed with a simple reference check or employment history verification.
Lies in the interview are trickier. Certain body language cues can indicate when someone is being deceptive – but they can also just show a candidate is nervous. Instead, look for vague answers, future tense verbs, and third-person pronouns, all of which can indicate that a interviewee is hiding something.
It’s the gospel truth: the job interview is the one thing that you must be on time for – every single time. After all, the interview should show the candidate on their absolute best behavior, and that includes punctuality.
A late candidate shows a lack of responsibility and respect, but also an inability to react and adapt in tricky situations. No matter what the unforeseeable occurrence – traffic, weather, wrong directions – the candidate should find a way to stroll through that door precisely on the hour.
Of course, “I stopped to administer CPR to someone who had collapsed” is a whole other story.
You want to find a candidate that will treat their coworkers, customers, and vendors with respect.
And, in turn, you don’t want to hire someone who is ready and willing to throw every colleague they’ve ever had under the bus.
First, trash talking past bosses and coworkers shows a lack of discretion. If they turned this job interview into a past-employment tell-all, they’ll probably do the same again in the future – and why knows what they’ll say about your company.
This type of behaviour can also be a warning sign that this person is not a team player. “When I interview people, I want to know if they have those same qualities that my parents expected from us,” says Mike O’Neill of music rights management company BMI. “Trust, respect, accountability and watching others’ backs.”
The bad cultural fit
An increasing number of HR professions (43 per cent, in fact) consider cultural fit the single most important factor when making a hire.
Why? As companies put an increasing emphasis on office culture and employment engagement, they need total buy-in from their staff. “We can train people to do a lot of the work but we can’t train for culture fit,” says Julie Cole, vice president and co-founder of Canadian small business Mabel’s Labels.
If a job candidate scoffs at your weekly productivity award ceremony, for example, or seems put off by your rowdy office vibe, they’re likely not a good cultural fit – and hiring them might hurt team morale.
It comes up again and again when notable entrepreneurs and business leaders offer hiring advice: don’t hire unhappy people. Why? They are negative, don’t take criticism well, blame others, complain about everything – and, most importantly, can bring those around them down into their toxic spiral.
“Early on, I hired a couple of people who had all the markings of great salespeople, but they were not happy people,” says Shark Tank judge Barbara Corcoran. “I learned that if you have just one unhappy person in a pool of 30 happy people, you feel that weight. I couldn’t wait to get them in my office to tell them they had to leave. I loved firing complainers.”
The person who just sets off your alarm bells
This individual is hard to quantify. Everything about them looks good on paper, they performed well in the interview, and you feel like you theoretically should hire them – but you don’t want to.
While you might need to address larger issues like implicit bias, it’s also important to trust your own judgement. If you have a nagging feeling that this candidate isn’t what you’re looking for, consider bringing them in for another interview with some additional colleagues to get their take on the situation.
That said, if your gut is telling you to pass on the candidate, do so. The exorbitant cost of a bad hire isn’t worth it.