8 Interview Red Flags Hiring Managers Notice
August 13, 2020
BR Interview Red Flags

Interviews will always be stressful. However, they are still an extremely important part of the job hunt. If you’ve been called back for an interview recently, congratulations! You are now one step closer to landing a job. There are so many different aspects of an interview to keep in mind: putting together the right outfit, being prepared to answer questions, doing your research, etc.

You can’t control what questions you’ll be asked by an interviewer or how well the other candidates are going to perform. However, you can do your best to be fully prepared and ready to nail your interview, and hopefully, obtain a job offer. To help you prepare, it can be beneficial for you to understand what subtle actions hiring managers are keeping an eye out for. We’ve compiled a list of the 8 red flags hiring managers are going to notice when you arrive for our interview.

1. Arriving late

If you arrive late, regardless of the reason, you’re already starting off on a bad foot. The standard for any situation is: showing up five minutes ahead of schedule is “on time,” anything less than that is late. And that’s for a normal situation such as arriving to work every day. If you’re showing up to an interview late, the hiring managers are more than likely to go with a different candidate right off the bat.

Plan to arrive at your interview at least 15-20 minutes before. Even if you have been to that area before, you should still plan for unexpected circumstances such as hitting traffic, delay of public transportation, or even simply getting lost. Once you arrive, you can use those extra minutes to refresh yourself on all of the points you want to hit in your interview.

2. Lack of eye contact

We know, interviews are nerve-wracking. Sometimes when we get nervous or if we’re thinking, we struggle with eye contact. Everyone’s been there, but body language can say a lot in an interview. When your interviewer is speaking, be extra cognisant of where you’re looking. If you are looking everywhere around the room except at the person speaking to you, the hiring manager will assume you aren’t listening.

While you don’t need to stare longingly into the hiring manager’s eyes, firm eye contact and physical affirmations show that you are listening and that you want to be there. To help you navigate body language in an interview, check out this article.

3. Inconsistent work history

Most hiring managers will have your resume in front of them (but always bring extras just in case). If you have inconsistencies in your work history such as gap years, broad and diverse job roles, or a wide variety of job locations, they may ask you to clarify why those inconsistencies are appearing on your resume. Whatever your answer is, always answer honestly.

The fact of the matter is, you can’t go back and change why you may have inconsistencies. Instead of trying to avoid the subject or making up a lie, turn whatever reason you may have had into a positive or a lesson learned. For example, if you jumped around to different companies and different roles in a short amount of time, you could explain it in the following way:

“Through my experience holding different roles and responsibilities, I’ve had the unique experience to obtain a skill set that other professionals in this field may not have been able to have. I am now also able to identify what roles I am best fit for, which is why I applied for this position as [job title] with your company.”

4. Making demands upfront

You’ve landed the interview; you have not landed the job. This distinction is an important one to make. If you go into your interview already making demands for hours or pay, hiring managers are going to want to go with another applicant. Making demands upfront will come off as cocky and arrogant; two traits that lead to an undesirable candidate.

Now, don’t get this confused with providing your hours of availability if asked or providing your preferred salary if asked. Answering the hiring manager’s questions if they should ask about these topics is completely valid. However, it is a subject that is best avoided until after you receive an offer. For more tips on how to negotiate an offer, download our free ebook here.

5. Not asking questions

Within every interview, the interviewer will allow you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Please, go prepared with questions! Asking the right questions can make such a difference in helping you stand apart from the sea of applicants. Feel free to even write a few questions down on a notepad before arriving at the interview.

If you don’t ask any questions, it may come off as disinterest or a lack of care on your part. Even if you feel as though you’ve done all of your research and there’s nothing more to learn, hiring managers love interviewees who ask insightful questions. We’ve already outlined four questions you should ask in every interview here.

6. Being overqualified

Believe it or not, hiring managers may not offer you a position simply because you are overqualified. This one may seem like it’s a bit far-fetched, but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Let’s say you are overqualified. Great! You’re going to be easy to train and you’re going to be able to get the work done quickly and efficiently. Perfect! But wait, if you aren’t being challenged in your role, how likely are you to stay in it? And for how long?

From a hiring manager’s perspective, they are interviewing to fill that specific role that they have open. They aren’t necessarily looking for a candidate who’s only interested in an intermittent role or someone who’s going to climb the ranks at an accelerated rate. Then, they’ll simply have to begin the hiring process all over again. No, they’re looking for someone who is going to fill that role for an extended period of time. Meaning, if you’re not likely to stay for a while, they need to find someone who is.

At this point, it isn’t anything personal against you and there is little you may be able to do if the hiring manager does deem you as overqualified. Keep this tip in mind when applying for positions.

7. Negative attitude towards past employers

If asked why you left a certain company, tell the truth but keep it objective. Not all employees leave their jobs being best friends with their bosses. It’s not uncommon for our relationship with higher management to be tense at times. However, the hiring manager doesn’t need to know your old drama from around the water cooler.

Keep it professional and keep it respectful. If you go into your interview eager to bash your old employer, hiring managers are going to seriously take notice. It’s unprofessional and it probably means you’ll do the same to this company if they choose to higher you. Nobody is likely to take that risk.

8. Inability to provide detailed answers

In your interview with hiring managers, you’re going to be asked questions. Crazy, right? Sometimes, these questions may be regarding your experiences listed on your resume. Other times, they may be what’s known as behavioral questions. Either way, a hiring manager may assume you embellished your resume a bit if you aren’t able to provide them with specific details in your responses. Practicing with mock interviews can really go a long way.

If practicing with friends isn’t working for you, BrandResumes offers career coaching to help you perfect the art of the interview. We also have tips to answering behavioral questions here.

Interviews are stressful enough on their own. We hope knowing these 8 red flags help you to crush your interview and land your dream job. Be sure to leave a comment on how your interview went and check back every Tuesday and Thursday for more tips. Good luck!


  1. Rogelio Mendoza

    Awesome pointers!

  2. Recruiter_2022

    Knowing what interview red flags to watch out for can help save you the future costs of a bad hire. And who better to know the most common of these signals than those who meet with new candidates day-in and day-out?


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By Emily Provost

Emily is BrandResumes' Content Specialist and is an Associate Resume Writer. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Publishing Studies with double minors in Marketing and Journalism from Hofstra University. She has had editorial experience working as an editor for various publications from Hofstra and worked as a writing tutor for undergraduate students.

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