How to Spot A Problem Employee Before They Become Your Problem

How to Spot A Problem Employee Before They Become Your Problem

Poor hiring decisions can cost your organization time, money, and energy. Atlanta job recruiters and staffing agencies like Peak Resource Group face the same challenges when recruiting for information technology positions as for customer service managers.  Here we give you pre-interview warning signs to help you avoid wasting time interviewing a future problem employee.  Heed these warnings and you’ll significantly improve your chances of hiring the right candidate for the right job.

  1. No attention to detail The candidate ignored directions in the job posting by not including a cover letter or including a salary history. There are spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes in the resume or cover letter. The cover letter and objective are generic or broad, not specific to the job applied for. If the candidate cannot follow instructions for something as important as a job application, or bother to use a spell checker, why would you trust the candidate to follow instructions on a project that could cost you thousands of dollars? Atlanta recruiters avoid these applicants, and so should you.
  2. Hard to Contact If the applicant fails to include a physical address, uses a P.O. box address, does not list a phone number or email address, or lists a questionable sounding email address like on the resume, put down the resume and move on to the next candidate. If you cannot reach a candidate easily now, the individual might not be any easier when you’re trying to contact them about a last-minute project detail.
  3. Questionable Employment History Long list of previous employers where the candidate worked a year or less? Gaps in employment? Evidence that the candidate has gone backwards in levels of responsibility instead of earning more? Unless you are a temporary staffing agency or looking only to fill a short-term position, these and other oddities should be reasonably explained in the cover letter, phone screening, or reference check with the previous employers. Don’t forget to ask previous employers about the candidate’s attendance and punctuality. 
  4. Resume Sent From Current Employers’ Email Address Yes, some applicants are this thoughtless. A resume sent by the candidate from their current employers email address, on company stationery, or in a current employer envelope are a huge red flag. Also look for timestamps on online applications- an hour-long application submitted during the workday from a currently full time employed applicant is a warning sign. The candidate may be taking advantage of a current employer’s time and resources. Perhaps later the candidate won’t hesitate to take advantage of your company.
  5. Overqualified Applicants More and more in this tough economy applicants are applying for jobs for which they are overqualified, willing to accept a smaller paycheck just to pay the bills. This may not be a problem in all cases, but it’s possible that, if hired, this candidate will continue a job search until finding a better-paying position than the one you offer. This candidate is likely to stay with you only for a short time. While their experience can be valuable, Atlanta IT staffing agencies and other job recruiters must weigh the potential value of their presence versus the cost to search, hire, and train another candidate.
  6. Poor Hygiene and Dress  Did the candidate shower and fix his or her hair before the interview?  Is the candidate dressed neatly and appropriately?  Your office may be a jeans and t-shirt environment, but did the candidate show up in dirty cargo pants and a wrinkly shirt, or did he show up in pressed khakis and a shirt and tie?  A closet of Armani isn’t necessary, but well-chosen and well-maintained clothing and hair says a lot about a candidate’s attention to detail.
  7. Poor or Inappropriate Communication   Does the candidate fail to make appropriate eye contact, or fail to acknowledge female interviewers in a group interview?  Does the candidate speak clearly and concisely, or instead mumble or ramble on at length?  If the candidate uses profanity or makes off-color or inappropriate comments in the interview, take a pass on the candidate.  Atlanta IT recruiters wouldn’t consider presenting a candidate like this to their clients, and you shouldn’t present this candidate to for hiring.
  8. Poor Responses to Follow-Up Questions  Can the candidate discuss projects on the candidate’s resume in detail, or demonstrate competence in the skill area you are evaluating?  Candidates tend to embellish their credentials in a tough economy.  If you are trying to find a web developer, the candidates should be able to discuss HTML, MySQL, PHP, or CSS.  Their true level of knowledge and experience is discovered in their answers to follow-up questions. Technical recruiters have to be thorough in their questioning to uncover a candidate’s real qualifications.
  9. Speaks Inappropriately About a Former Employer  The quality of candidates an employer attracts depends largely on their reputation as a quality employer.  If the candidate in front of you now is badmouthing a previous boss, be wary.  Your company could be next. True, bad bosses and bad workplaces do exist, but a candidate should be able to tactfully express reasons for leaving a previous position without extensively disparaging the previous employer.
  10. Candidate Hints at Preference for Other Jobs or Locations  If a candidate mentions other jobs that are more appealing, family on the opposite coast, or the difficulty of job searching from a distance- watch out!  This candidate could be just looking for a “right now” job and may not stick around very long.  If you have other equally qualified candidates who sound committed to staying in the area, why waste time hiring and training an employee that might not stay?  It will be better for all concerned if you help the candidate move on to the dream job by not offering temporary employment.

Sound like a lot to look out for?  It is, but you will be glad you took the time to do your homework before bringing in candidates for face-to-face interviews. If you just don’t have the time to pre-screen your candidates, consider hiring a professional IT recruitment agency like Peak Resource Group to do the legwork for you.  Nobody does technology staffing better.

If you follow these guidelines, and the warning signs your chances of hiring a quality employee are much greater.

Unsure that you will make a good choice from the hundreds of resumes filling your inbox or piling up on your desk?  Hire a professional IT recruiting agency like Peak Resource Group to do the work for you.

Peak Resource Group can present you with a small group of well-qualified candidates to interview and choose from, saving you time, money, and ensuring that you make the best choice for your company.

Zac Lopett

Zac Lopett

Social Network Recruiter at Peak Resource Group, Inc.
Zac is a Horror Movie junkie that works by day as a Social Network Recruiter for Peak Resource Group. He is the proud father of Bundy the wonderdog. He is also the editor of the Peak monthly Newsletter.
Zac Lopett
Zac Lopett
Zac Lopett

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