30 Folks Online Share The Red Flags In Applicants That They Missed Or Ignored During Job Interviews That Eventually Led To Trouble
It goes without saying that a resume and an interview often say little about a candidate.
Sure, it does foolproof the system to some extent. After all, a recruiter can see how much effort the applicant is putting into getting the job, and they can also identify some potential red flags this way.
But it’s not until this person is hired and already doing their job that you can truly see how well they fit the role. Which is frustrating, but it is what it is.
So, some recruiters take a different, more laissez-faire approach to things. “Yeah, sure, that’s a red flag, but maybe it isn’t?” [Gestures in Jedi]. And then it comes back to bite them on the rump.
Folks on Reddit have been sharing such stories—recruiters, hiring managers, as well as coworkers and friends thereof shared how much trouble ignoring or missing a red flag has cost them in this thread.
Scroll down to see the best of the best responses from the viral Reddit thread, and while you’re at it, smack that upvote button, share stories if you have any, or just tell us a work joke so we could all have a laugh in the comment section below!
More Info: Reddit
"Our Interviews At My Workplace Were Weird"—Off To A Good Start Right There
Oh oh oh I got one.
We had two interviews. Our interviews at my workplace were weird. We would have 1 Hiring Manager, 1 Guy from the floor, 1 supervisor, and then 1 female.
I was the female.
The first guy comes in and is very sloppy dressed. His outfit wasn't that impressive and he stuttered a lot. His looks weren't that attractive either. I wouldn't call him ugly and he was teeter-tottering on the line of unattractive. His resume though was holy s**t.
Impressive as f**k work history.
References from all his previous jobs (mostly management)
The skills we need and then some.
This guy could code, animate, fix, design, and you name it he can do it.
We do the interview and despite all awkwardness aside his resume was his one saving grace.
Enter guy 2. This guy is a knockout. Dressed beautifully, wearing cologne, hair swept back, a smile on his face, and very VERY sociable. Everyone was impressed by him.
Everyone else was impressed by him on looks like alone.
We decide to give these two a final test.
The first guy passes with amazing colors and we ask him if he would like to add anything to his resume for documentation, etc. He gave us a list of volunteer activities and a list of notable achievements. We looked it over and were impressed again. Mostly because he did alot of stuff raising money by playing videogames (one boss was impressed)
Second guy finished the test and just said he has a good feeling about it. Walked out without anything.
I'm sure you know where this is going. We hired the second guy (I lost the vote 3 to 1) and the first guy was told he was put on file.
Two weeks later. Things in the office go missing, people are more stressed as hell, and whats worse is that we all think its this new guy.
Yeah it was. He was a womanizer and we all grew sick of his jokes and attempts to pass off his work onto us because he would say "I'd owe you." By owing us he would take one of us on a date and desperately try to get into our pants.
A sexual harassment suit later and he was canned. We tried calling the first guy, but he already found another job at a better company a job I would later move too.
Murder She Wrote
Ran a grooming shop with my ex-wife. We hired this lady who seemed a little high-strung (tweaky, actually), but we needed the help. Some customers swore that they recognized her from a while back at another shop, but she denied ever working there, and seemed oddly defensive about it.
One night, we found reviews on our Yelp page from one of her neighbors who she was fighting with. The neighbor specifically called her out in the reviews and spilled about how she was responsible for the death of a customer's dog: she walked away from the table for a break, the dog fell with the harness around it's neck and hung. We fired her immediately for lying to us and bringing her drama to our business.
Nepotism At Its Finest
"He has family in upper management".
Laziest person I've ever hired. His dad was an exec.
You Expect Me To Work With Women?!
Not a hiring manager, but I recently worked under a supervisor who had been out of the industry for several years but was trying to make a move back in. During his interviews, he apparently directed his answers only to the men in the room, even if the question was asked by a woman. They hired him anyway, and once he started, he refused to work with the women on the team - even though they knew more of the industry, since it had changed quite a bit since this guy had left. Thankfully he was let go about a year after he was hired.
Oh, My! Look At The Time, It's Late O'clock!
I actually hired someone who was late for the interview. Her apology was totally reasonable and I looked past it because she seemed like a good fit. A few weeks into the job it came out that she didn’t know what time zone we were in. That’s not the reason she was late, but it did turn out that her understanding of time and clocks was insufficient for a job where scheduling things across time zone was a primary responsibility.
Arrogance Is Bliss... Wait A Second...
One applicant had this weird, sort of arrogant body language during the interview. But, because they looked great on paper and otherwise interviewed okay, I wrote it off as anxiety or something. Joke's on me, because that person ended up being the whiniest, snottiest, bi**hiest, most vile individual. Thank God they found another job before I had to let them go.
It's The Yoghurt, Isn't It?
A couple of seventeen-year-old boys were dropped off by their father [in a compact, red Porsche convertible, not that it's relevant] with frozen yogurt cups in their hands. The older one walked up to the desk, and, with f*****g froyo *in his mouth,* asked "Can I get an application?"
The brothers spent almost half an hour eating frozen yogurt, laughing and joking with each other, and filling out that application in our lobby. It was maybe a five-minute application.
When they handed their applications to me, I took them [the applications, not the applicants] back to our brand new HR lady and, laughing, told her about these kids who were obviously only looking for jobs because daddy made them do it. I pointed out a sticky thumbprint on one of the applications. It was funny to me and she laughed along with me.
She hired both of them on the spot. Before that point, applicants were required to have a minimum of three years' experience in whatever field they were applying for. Neither of these kids had ever had a job before. That place went downhill rapidly under that HR manager, because she would just hire anybody she liked--which meant she only hired attractive, highly extroverted teenagers.
Those two boys and just about everyone else that woman hired were terrible.
When Your Mom Does The Whole Job Search For You, And I Do Mean All Of It
We were swamped. I needed bodies and I needed them quickly. At the time I was mostly in need of FOH engineers. Most of my hires are by referral, but I got a cold email from a girl with a resume. It seemed too good to be true. Degree from a music school, history of engineering and design. Musical background. I didn’t even check references. We had a couple good emails back and forth, and she seemed clever enough. I told her we’d hire her, and to come into the office and fill out paperwork.
The girl who shows up is incredibly timid. This isn’t unusual for me? I’m a pretty huge, intimidating white guy. I look like someone who’s going to pull out a confederate flag and a tiki torch. I’m not, but people often feel uncomfortable when meeting me for the first time. So I give her the benefit of the doubt. We make awkward small talk. Real awkward. She fills out her paperwork, and leaves.
So her first day comes. I pair her with one of my assistants. My assistant used to work for a theatre where part of her job was doing community outreach. Backstage tours for kids, elderly, and special ed classes. She was real good at it, so she’s on the job for ten minutes with the new girl before she comes up and tells me that the engineer I hired was a barely functioning autistic girl. I instantly felt stupid, but I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I asked her to stay close to her, do her best, and I’d pick up the slack when I could. My assistant became the new girls best friend in the next hour, and found out that the whole thing was her mom. Her mom wanted her to have a normal job, so she made her daughter a fake resume, and corresponded with me by email, while doing really stellar research on the field to appear knowledgeable.
Once we knew all this, we moved the new girl out of the position we had picked her up for. She worked on our general labor crew for awhile, and did really well, till she eventually ghosted us.
A Bit Too Free For Their Taste
If someone tells you they are a "free spirit" during the interview you're going to have some problems
Most of the free spirits I have dealt with aren't free spirits at all. They're just immature stoners who brand themselves a particular way to make it look like they're living such a carefree life maaaan. They all have phones, do the same petty social media s**t, think smoking weed before work is OK because they don't consider it a drug, lack some basic hygiene, etc...
Guess what?? I smoke weed too and am probably more of a "free spirit" in the traditional sense than any of them; however there is a reason I am hiring them and not the other way around. Get your s**t together you damned fake hippies!
Being A Sheep Among Sharks
I didn't miss it! My boss did, and it's something I pointed out multiple times during the process. This was maybe five years ago.
So, for context...my boss was not a very good manager, and yet he was the director of our team. He had a good work ethic, a good head on his shoulders, and always got things done not only well but on time; he was rightfully rewarded for it all. That said, he possibly has the social EQ of a fish.
In my industry, you need a thick skin and the ability to kind of bulldoze through s**t, people, whatever. It's heavily rampant with scumbags, fraud, etc., and it's why we get paid well -- we're capable of navigating through that s**t and saving/making our companies a lot of money in the process. This guy that we were interviewing just didn't feel like a personality fit during the phone screen. Immediately after the call, I tell my boss that I'm a no. The guy isn't just going to get run over by our industry, but our own f*****g team. He sounds like a great guy, but just not a fit. I get told to give him a chance.
Then comes the in-person interview. It's basically all confirmed. Super nice dude, I would love to manage him in any other scenario, but not here. He just doesn't have the personality traits to succeed in our environment -- which was admittedly not a good one. Boss tells me "Don't worry, macabruh. We can fix him." The f**k? First of all, there's nothing to fix. His personality isn't s**t, it's just not right for our job. Two, you're not the one managing him...I am?
The dude ends up accepting our offer. Honestly, I love the guy. He's so friendly, earnest, and worked really hard because he saw the gaps in his skill sets from where he was an where he needed to be. But it took a giant toll on him, and eventually me. The guy ended up being diagnosed as clinically depressed, he hated the f*****g job, and I was nowhere *near* experienced enough as a manager to handle something like that. When he was at his wit's end, I just told him to take a break (start with a vacation so that he's paid, and then decide whether or not he wants to leave afterwards), take care of himself, and to utilize me in any way he could for future prospects outside of our work.
TL;DR: My boss' inability to judge personalities literally sent someone over the edge into depression.
Oh man, a couple of years ago I hired this girl who seemed very sweet, but when you looked at her she almost had angry eyes. Something felt off but i couldn’t place it. She said the right things and was nice enough in the interview so I hired her. Even after the interview I had this feeling like I had made a mistake but again, couldn’t place it. The job is basically some light cleaning, greeting people and honestly just socializing. It’s easy, pays OK and fun for most people. Well, almost immediately it’s apparent she isn’t cleaning s**t. I bring it up with her and she swears she did it. I just reminded her that it needs to be done, didn’t really argue with her, just said it doesn’t look like it’s been done. She snorts and stands up and starts cleaning what she clearly hadn’t earlier. The next day, a customer tells me she was incredibly rude to her. I ask her if she knows what happened and she says she hadn’t spoken to anyone on the phone yet. Confused I walk back to my office to pull up our phone records. Not only did she take that call she had been making international calls before I got to work that lasted hours. While I was reviewing this, one of her coworkers walks in and told me she was concerned about the new girls behavior and recites to me exactly what the customer had told me she said. Well, I fired her, told her this wasn’t a good fit so she gave us a negative review on google I think. Well her husband was a client of ours as well so we cancelled all our business with him and when i did, he calls me and says “Please don’t do this, I’ll make her take it down - she’s just f*****g crazy.” We decided to keep him on, felt bad for the guy. This was all within 3 DAYS OF BEING HIRED.
"So, What's The Fastest Anyone's Been Promoted Here?"
Not a hiring manager but everytime someone brought up in an interview "what's the fastest anyones been promoted here? I want to break that record!" They end up being duds
But I'm Your Elder!
Not a hiring manager but a dev. teamlead. Had to hire new people for the team. This guy came along with a ton of experience, pretty much spot on, there were some differences in code styles but that was that. Only thing was, the guy was around 15 years older than me and had 10 years of experience more. I specifically asked him how he would be around someone much younger maybe making decisions that he might not like (I’m all up for democracy in projects, but sometimes there is more at play then specifics, as a dev I know what those are like). He told me he was and that we could just talk about it when it came up. Turned out I was arguing over every little thing in a ‘his way or the highway’ kind of deal. Should have seen that one coming in hindsight
Turn Up The Swearing!
She was swearing in the interview. I brought it up, 'Do you always swear this often?' This was a cashiering gig. She said it was because she was pissed that she'd been rejected for an administrative position at another company because the hiring manager didn't like her attitude. I could sense where they were coming from.
I told the Ops Manager not to hire her but she was hot (9/10) and he was stupid. She lasted two days. One day of orientation and one day of cashier training which she refused to even try because it was below her.
Not hiring manager but counseling co-worker. I said the lady we were to hire complained a bit too much about her current job and that I would let her go.
They hired her.
Guess who's a complaining c**t that everyone's actively trying to avoid?
There's No Point In Being Unsatisfied If You Can't Complain To Others About It
Not a hiring manager, but was evaluating applications for a position. One candidate gave some very thoughtful, insightful criticisms of his current workplace. We appreciated his candor, and the content of the critiques were perceptive.
When we hired him, we realized that while he spoke well and appeared intelligent, all he could is criticize everything... even when his criticisms made no sense. We started to see him complaining about the same things with us that he complained about in his letter, even things that were objectively false (like our vacation policy being use-it-or-lose-it, which it literally wasn't).
Moral: a good candidate will find ways to frame criticisms in a positive, forward-looking way in a cover letter, not complain about their current employer.
I manage a restaurant kitchen. I'm not the only one involved in hiring decisions. Our GM, owner, exec, my AKM, and our FOH manager are all involved as well, but I have the final say on anyone hired into the kitchen.
The biggest mistake I've made so far was hiring a guy who got irrationally defensive and had issues controlling his anger during the interview. Ultimately, his extensive experience in kitchens won out over my instincts. He started a fight that put two of my other cooks in the hospital one night after we closed. Also managed to break about $1300 of equipment in the process.
The funniest mistake was hiring our owner's nephew. Guy comes in for the interview clearly coked out. Second night I turn around and he's snorting a line of cocaine off one of the cutting boards right next to food being prepared to be sent out
Oh, Yeah! No Problems Here, Ever, Trust Me, I'm A Master
I used to do hiring for a small store and the biggest red flags were "too good to be true." Candidates who claimed they loved the public, never had any problems with coworkers, and were never late or absent invariably caused the biggest problems because they were lying through their teeth.
When Your Talent Pool Is So Niche, It's More Like A Drop
I averted it and managed to avert the owner of the companies choice for a position (with support from co workers). Said business was therapeutic massage. We tried to never oversell the benefits of bodywork. No "This will cure x y or z talk." We were skilled at what we did but the boss.... just didn't hire based on licensing and skill sets. Now I know that in a perfect world anyone can do any job, but massage in the South? You better be female and skilled mightily. This is what we lacked. We had two male therapists and business was way down. Owner decides lets specifically look for females to hire. This is a problem of course. Not only does the business look extremely sexist for doing this, you are taking a small talent pool and shrinking it even farther. But ok, thats what he wants. We interview and hire two female therapists, both flake because of personal reasons VERY quickly. Try it again on the reccomendation of a client who says he knows someone extremely skilled, licensed and female. Hooray, as long a she isn't a whirling dervish of oddity shes got the job.
She comes in for the interview barefoot. in a see thru summer dress sans undergarments. Wearing a circlet of semiprecious stones, one of which is tapping her on the forehead as she speaks. She speaks at a whisper, often trails off to nowhere. Begins to regale us with a story about how her techniques could make the lame walk essentially....well as long as she had her healing crystals with her and incense burnin We finish the interview, give her a friendly wave, and then the other male therapist turns to the owner and promises to burn our business down if he has to "Work with that Austin hippie *begins yelling in Norweigian*"..
"I Asked What Teamwork Meant To Her. She Said It Made The Dream Work"
I asked what teamwork meant to her
She said it made the dreamwork
I hired her
Turned out dreams do not in fact work
Detail: repeatedly late or rang in sick. Invited to probation review meeting with her understanding it could lead to her dismissal. She arrived as it was meant to finish. Looked shocked when I fired her
Yeah, I Work 6 Jobs. No, I'm Not Tired... (Dozes Off)
If they have another job.
Last summer I landscaped with this guy who would consistently oversleep and show up hours later (we had to be at the work site at 7 AM SHARP) and when he didn't, he was clearly very drowsy and unproductive. My boss said that in the interview the guy said he had a small part time job but it wouldnt be a problem. Well it turns out he was working as a bartender almost every night until 2 AM. My boss had to fire him because he was clearly prioritizing his other job over ours. I would feel bad for the guy if he didn't f**k us over so many times (it was just the boss and 3 workers including me so just one person missing was a big problem)
I Don't Understand This, So I'll Change It So Nobody Else Would Either
Candidate for supervisor position was asked about a time when they had trouble completing a task (I hate corporate interviews!). Candidate mentions something they struggled with but the answer was that they found a way of completing the task that worked for them and did that going forward.
So we kind of take that to be a big positive for thinking outside the box and being able to solve problems independently using the tools available to them. Now this was a preferred candidate so we didn’t do a lot of deep digging questions around the standard questions we were required to ask by corporate.
Fast-forward and Candidate is now Supervisor. We have a team of about 12. There is an opening checklist and a closing checklist. Supervisor struggles with learning tasks on checklist. No other team member has issue with tasks on checklist as it literally writes out what buttons you need to press. Supervisor concludes that checklist is poorly done since they cannot understand it. Proceeds to make changes to checklist master document to the way they feel it should be done and chaos ensues.
Now we have Supervisor that understands checklist, about 3-4 that just press the buttons, and the rest of the team is now lost. On top of this, Manager checklists have tasks that can only be done once staff has done their tasks. As a result of some of these tasks being removed from the checklist, manager tasks are no longer being done on time and everything is thrown off.
When coached on this incident, Supervisor did not ask trainer, teammate, or manager about how to understand the checklist and just made changes without communicating this to rest of the team. We did thank Supervisor for being proactive but then worked as a team to make any necessary changes but used the original as a template. We also did some extra coaching on what they didn’t understand. It took a few weeks to get everything back on track though and our scores took a hit as a result.
Supervisor was up for Manager position at another location. Supervisor puts on their resume “revamped morning/evening checklists for improved team performance.” Couldn’t help but chuckle at that one.
I Hate Everything
Company hired an arrogant individual who had issues everywhere he worked both with co workers, product and policies, supervisors, and customers. When I brought the issues up with him he seemed ok and when I left he called upper management crying . He said I had offended him and was a racist. This was relayed to me and we had a meeting with upper management. I begged my manager to get HR involved and either look at me and see if I was racist or if he was full of it. They did not get HR involved and told me to try my best to train him up. I gave it a try and failed to get any buy in or progress. I ended up leaving the company via headhunter for greener pastures and after I left they transferred him to another location because they put a more inexperienced person then myself. He is now at another location doing the same thing. I have a friend with the old company and that dud of a worker has called 4 different people racist who have brought up his performance. I don't know how folks like that keep jobs. Disruptive and zero effort in any tasks. The hiring manager apologized to me when I was leaving.
Reading The Signs Perfectly
Hired a guy because he reminded me of my good friend who was addicted to oxy contin. Turned out the guy was addicted to oxy contin.
Compulsive Liar. Check. Chain Smoker. Check. PTO Gone Within A Week... Check
We had a resume come in and I told the managing attorney that the girl was totally full of s**t. There’s no way possible she had the certifications she listed. It was complete and utter b******t.
He invited her in for an interview anyway, and except for a couple major red flags for me, she interviewed very well. He hired her on the spot.
She was a disaster from day one. Took 20+ smoke breaks a day, lied constantly, used all her PTO within the first couple weeks, called out when she would post on FB about being at a local version of Comic Con, etc. Fired her within 60 days.
So You're Saying You're The Bestest?
People who speak in superlatives rather than answering questions directly.
Turns out the guy while super excited to work for me really didn't understand the role. I ended up firing him the last day of his 90-day probation period despite spending an enormous amount of time with him trying to get him right.
"The Number Of People That My Boss Says Are 'Great' That End Up Being Absolutely Trash Is Staggering"
My boss hires and I kinda get to give input during their first trial shift which is almost always 2 hours with me. The number of people that my boss say are 'great' that end up being absolutely trash is staggering. My boss has no clue how to read people and even a complete moron is considered great for her.
I suppose that's why we have been trying to fill our main administrative position for 5 months now and have gone through 20+ hires that quit fast or ghost us.
One that stands out is an old lady that didnt have any experience in the field. She couldn't operate a computer which is central to.the job!
Hiring A Storyteller
That one dude had an amazing part of his CV which we got too attracted too and ignored the other jobs which had 3 lines each. He basically never turned up and lied so often about the reasoning why he was never there. Had about 20 different stories, all similar, none coherent.
The other dude was fresh out of college, didn't realize which college and it was one of those c***py we'll teach you everything theoretically but nothing practically ones. He had no skills whatsoever and could talk about of his a*s for 20 mins, not being able to make a sentence which sounded even remotely like what he was aiming for.
Both got employed at the same time, both left at the same time. Not only was there the money there was the pressure on the team to pick up after them all....the...time.
Hired To Do... Absolutely Nothing
Too happy and friendly, as strange as that sounds. We all thought she just seemed too jazzed on life but did not want to seem like salty bi**hes so we shrugged it off. A week later I fired her for doing absolutely nothing. Literally nothing. She would complete a task and sit there doing nothing. Day three she brought a book to work, I thought it was because she read at lunch. Nope. Read when she was bored after stopping working.
She was happy as heck the whole time. Deeply oblivious to that this was not the way of things. I did not have the time or grace to rewire her so back to pizza hut she went.
Avoiding The Past At All Cost
Applicant wasn't looking for this exact position, but rather was running away from her previous career. Was an interesting person with lot of potential, though.
Didn't fit in, was dissatisfied with everything and two years later left.
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