Whether you’re hiring nannies or support staff, you want to attract the most qualified candidates that will fit into your organizational culture. However, even with the best of effort, some bad apples may fall through the cracks of your recruiting—costing you wasted time, energy, and money. In order to minimize the chances of a bad hire, it’s important to pay close attention to the following seven red flags because they can be a warning sign of possible problems to come with a new employee.

Red flag #1: Treating staff with disrespect. Some job candidates believe that as long as they’re on their best behavior when talking to you, it doesn’t matter how they treat other people in your organization. They may think that being rude to a receptionist or administrative assistant doesn’t matter as long as they mind their Ps and Qs with you. If hired, this person won’t take long to show their true colors on the job.

Red flag #2: The blame game. All candidates have had a bad job experience at some point in their career, but if they place all of the blame for these experiences on other people, it’s a problem. This candidate will probably not take responsibility for their own mistakes and will point fingers at others whenever something goes wrong.

Red flag #3: Bringing up other job offers. A candidate who goes out of their way to let you know other companies are courting them may be trying to force your hand to increase your offer, or puffing themselves up to get hired. Either way, this is a sign that the person will probably not be loyal to your organization and will leave as soon as something better comes along.

Red flag #4: A “what’s in it for me?” attitude. We all work for money, but when someone spends most of their time during an interview talking about compensation and benefits, they’re letting you know they care more about what you can do for them than what they can do for your organization. This can be a disastrous hire, especially when it comes to someone in a nanny position.

Red flag #5: No supervisor references. While many job candidates may be reluctant to use their current supervisor as a reference because they don’t want their employer to know they’re looking elsewhere, they should be able to provide other managerial references. If a candidate only gives you coworker and other non-supervisor references, chances are they have a good reason for not wanting you to contact their bosses.

Red flag #6: Vagueness. Although you won’t want to hire a candidate that airs out past employers’ dirty laundry during the recruiting process, you also don’t want someone who is too vague about their work experiences. People who can’t answer questions about why they left past jobs or explain gaps in their employment history probably have something to hide—and you don’t want to find out what it is while they’re working for you.

Red flag #7: Projecting perfection. The old adage warns us that if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Although you want an employee that is a perfect fit for your company, a candidate that tries to portray themselves as a perfect human being is not going to be the one you want to hire. For example, someone who can’t answer questions about the mistakes they’ve made at work may be difficult to coach and unwilling to learn.

While these red flags are important to pay attention to, it’s also important to always use your professional judgment when hiring. An otherwise good candidate may raise a red flag or two, while a nightmarish hire may have none. Always lean on your experience and trust your gut as you keep your eyes open for potential problems.









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