Preventing a Bad Hire: Look Out for These Red Flags During an Interview

September 21, 2020 in HR Best Practices



The interview process is crucial for all hiring managers looking to add the right new employee to a team. It’s an opportunity to determine whether a candidate might be an ideal fit for the food and beverage industry position to which they’ve applied. Here we discuss how to prevent a bad hire. 

Recruiters and hiring managers should trust their instincts if they feel someone isn’t being totally honest with them. A bad hire can quickly ruin a thriving workplace culture and lead to turnover, even among seasoned professionals with a history in the food and beverage industry.  

Want exceptional talent? Use exceptional interview questions like these.  


Here are some red flags to watch for to prevent bringing a bad apple into your organization.

1. Showing up Late To the Interview

A candidate eager to join your company will show up on time, if not early, for their interview. Someone late, even just by a few minutes, might not be fully invested in the opportunity. Exceptions can be made for someone who calls to explain their lateness, but unexplained tardiness is not putting their best foot forward.  

2. A Bad Hire Speaks Negatively About Previous Employers

Most people looking for a new opportunity are displeased, to some extent, with their current employer. But if all that comes out is criticism and negativity, this should give a hiring manager pause. It could indicate a bad attitude and lack of willingness to work together with a team. In the high-pressure, fast-paced food and beverage industry, that can be a huge detriment to your company.  

Company culture matters. Why?

3. Inability to Discuss or List Achievements

Candidates who cannot clearly and directly speak to accomplishments in their careers might not be able to quantify their achievements. Not all organizations track things in the same way. Or it could be an indication the person isn’t as hard or strong a worker as their resume might suggest. Clear, precise, measurable improvements are important, and the inability to show progress and success could be a dealbreaker.  

4. Unexplained or Inconsistent Employment Gaps

Some people take a gap year between college and starting their careers to get some life or travel experience. If there’s a long gap a few years into their working history, and when asked, the story changes each time, be wary that can be a bad hire red flag. What prompted the gaps, and why does the answer fluctuate? What is the person hiding  and what else might they be untruthful about? If the gaps were the direct result of being let go from a previous employer, that could be a warning sign.  

Do prospective job candidates value work? Ask these questions to find out.

5. A Bad Hire will Fail to Provide Good References

When asked for references, does the candidate balk? Are they ready to provide, at a moment’s notice, names, phone numbers, and email addresses for previous employers, or do they need to get back to you? How dated are the references they offer and are the people reachable? It’s one thing to be a busy executive or manager, but if a recruiter or hiring manager tries multiple times to reach someone and they don’t respond, it might indicate the former employer doesn’t have many good things to say about the candidate.  

Big personalities can create big problems. Here’s how to handle an office diva.  

How To Find the Bad Hire Red Flags

Some candidates are very skilled at preparing for interviews and have rehearsed answers at the ready for just about any question asked in a standard interview.  

Suppose a hiring manager has an iffy feeling about a candidate but is looking for confirmation or wants to clear the air. In that case, it’s good preparation to have a few provoking questions ready.  


Ask A Few Questions Like These:

► What would your current employer say about you, positive or negative? This opens the door for the candidate to offer criticism that can either be constructive or negative 

► What have you learned in your career? This will gauge their interest in their line of work as well as an opportunity to share achievements. If the response is shallow, their commitment might be, too.  

► What are you looking to get out of this position? Another opportunity to determine whether the person will fit into your company culture and whether this is “just a job” or someone ready to commit. 

► Ask about employment gaps. If a story changes from a previous conversation, or earlier comments within the interview, push back on the inconsistency.  


Looking For Great Employees? We Can Help!

A bad hire can damage a good team and hurt a great company. If there’s any indication that someone won’t be a good fit or might not be all they claim to be, move along. Hiring managers don’t regret the mistakes they didn’t make, just the ones they did 

For 35 years, Kinsa Group has been helping leading food and beverage industry companies build strong, reliable, successful teams. We help you identify the red flags to look for when interviewing and find top talent to make your company stronger. Contact us today to learn more.