Some job candidates just seem perfect. They’re charismatic, they tell you exactly what you want to hear, their references are glowing, and their resumes are stellar. But that doesn’t mean they’re a good candidate for your company. Fortunately, there are red flags you can look for during the interview to help you figure out whether you’re dealing with a quality candidate or just someone who’s good at playing the part.


Naturally the candidate will talk about themselves during an interview—that’s the point. But if they only talk about themselves, exclusively, and never even reference another co-worker or supervisor, that’s a red flag. If you start to suspect your interviewee might be self-centered, ask them about someone who’s been an inspiration or a mentor in their career thus far. If they have trouble answering, beware. Self-centered people will complain about extra work, filling in for a colleague or pitching in for the good of the team.

Credit winners

These people are self-centered, too. Though they might describe themselves as working on a team, the credit winners will take credit for anything good that happened. A major team achievement was their idea or the culmination of their hard work. Be careful when hiring a credit winner—they steal ideas and hang back during the hard part only to step front and center when a boss walks by to make it look like they’ve done everything themselves. Credit winners are not team players, so look to hire those interviewees who talk a lot about coordinating and collaborating with colleagues.

Perfect employees

You probably have a few questions in your interview arsenal about shortcomings and failures. If you have a candidate who replies they don’t have any weaknesses, that’s a red flag. A candidate who’s self-aware will openly and honestly discuss a weakness or setback they’ve had, emphasizing what they learned from the experience. If your candidate claims they have no weaknesses, they have little self-awareness, little sense of accountability or they’re just lying.


A random mishap that hints at unprofessionalism—five minutes late, a misplaced list of references or an insensitive comment—might be okay. Everyone has a bad day. One or two things isn’t a big deal, but if they continue to be unprofessional throughout the process, that’s a red flag. That same behavior will probably continue after they’re hired.

Too good to be true

The perfect candidate just doesn’t exist, so if you think you’ve found one, beware. They might be playing you, going above and beyond to hide their imperfections. The best way to find them is by doing a thorough background check and calling any and all references you can find. Someone is bound to spill the beans and let you know what the truth is.

For more tips on hiring top talent to power your company, contact PrideStaff St. Pete Clearwater today.

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