6 clues that a job applicant won’t be a good fit
Thursday, October 05, 2017
You're short-staffed and eagerly looking to hire new employees. Your goal is to vet the most qualified candidates and select the applicants who have the most valuable skills for your business and who will fit into your organization's culture and personality. Skills are an objective quality to assess, which makes it a fairly easy appraisal.
Not so with personalities. You must subjectively decide whether an applicant's personality is to going to jive with the rest of your staff and be a team player, not a rogue outsider. Not an easy task.
Here are some clues that perhaps a job candidate isn't going to fit well into your organization:
1. Poor personal appearance
Look for inappropriate dress and/or lack of hygiene when picking up a job application or showing up for the job interview.
If the candidate doesn't know to save the skimpy, revealing clothes for nighttime wear, or to to save the dirty, ripped jeans for weekend hikes, or to remove numerous piercings so that your face can be seen, then perhaps that applicant is oblivious to the power of nonverbal communication. And that could be disastrous to any organization who deals with the public.
2. Calling the CEO about a job opening
In a large organization, you're not going to get the CEO on the phone to tell you that they're hiring. And in a small organization, the CEO is usually a hands-on manager, so calling and interrupting his work is not the best way to start a relationship.
That says the job applicant is more focused on her own job search needs than the needs of the employer she is calling. It speaks to self-centeredness more than ignorance. Your organization doesn't need employees who are not concerned with how their demands/needs might be distracting or impeding the work of their colleagues.
3. Disrespecting your time
The applicant showed up for the wrong day or time of the interview, saying they "had a lot on their plate" and that's why they forgot the interview. If they have that much on their plate before they're hired, you can expect lots more excuses for uncompleted work and no-show days after they're hired.
4. Unprepared for interview
If the applicant is tongue-tied and caught off guard when you ask him a few questions about himself when he's submitting an application, it speaks to the applicant's ability to communicate and his discernment about how his unique skillset would benefit this potential employer.
I recently witnessed a painful — and short-lived — job interview where the applicant did a lot of shrugging, looking up at the ceiling and answering in monosyllables when asked by the CEO about his skills. Honestly, there were no trick questions — just the basic questions every candidate should expect. He gave the CEO absolutely no reason to consider him a viable candidate.
On another occasion, we did a panel telephone interview with an out-of-town candidate. This was well-coordinated in advance, so no surprises that we would be phoning at a particular time/day for the interview.
Children were yelling in the background, dogs were barking, and she occasionally stopped the interview to scream at the kids and dogs to "shut up." True story. She had not made arrangements for a quiet environment during this scheduled interview. That spoke to a lack of foresight, a lack of preparation and just plain rudeness, and we were all glad to end this ear-splitting ordeal.
5. Argumentative about company policies
If you tell a prospect that such-and-such is against policy, and the candidate says, "No, it isn't," stop right there. If this candidate is willing to argue with you during an interview, expects lots more arguments after employment about any policy with which he disagrees.
There's a right way to sincerely and constructively challenge a company's policies once you're hired, but arguing during an interview is not it.
6. Taking early liberties
If the applicant has passed the interview and has been hired, watch out for taking liberties on his first few days of work — taking more or longer assigned rest breaks, munching on a co-worker's snacks without permission, using the employer's products for himself before paying for them, and contradicting policies and procedures during training.
If your new hire is willing to flout the rules so early in employment, then expect to see a full-blown disregard for policies once they're comfortably ensconced in their roles. The longer you keep such a person on the payroll, the more you're tacitly allowing that behavior to continue.
It will worsen, and getting rid of such a problem will be more difficult and more costly.
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