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Applicant Tracking System Recruiting & Hiring

Bad Hire Red Flags: 3 Enlightening Sourcing Techniques

October 12, 2015
6 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged



The cost of a bad hire goes beyond monetary value. Productivity, employee morale, and client relationships can all be affected. Have you ever interviewed someone who was perfect on paper, glided through the interview process, and six months into the job seemed to be on everyone’s last nerve for a number of valid reasons? Traditional recruiting and interviewing methods may be lacking in a world where it’s easy to fool your way into a job. This means recruiters and interviewers have to take extra steps to avoid a bad hire.

TECHNIQUE 1: Administer a Pre-Hire Project

One of the most effective ways to predict performance is to give the candidate a pre-hire project. This is a customizable assessment which employers can design to assess specific skills desired for the job. In fact, eight of the top 10 U.S. private employers use this technique. Companies like Wal Mart, Target, and Hewlett-Packard are finding pre-hire projects increasingly effective.


sourcing-techniquesRead about one of the most effective tactics to do with potential hires:


In a recent article featured on Medium, author Amir Yasin discusses how he utilizes the technique to filter out bad tech hires. His approach involves assigning a weekend project, paying the candidate for the work, and bringing them in Monday to discuss how they came about the solution. This allows the interviewer to challenge the solution, analyze the candidate’s reaction, and gain insight to their thought process. It also proves they can do the job.

Recruiters can easily implement pre-hire projects (and hiring managers can help!) Assign a project similar to what the candidate would be doing in the position. For example, a writing assignment for a content position. Explicit instructions will provide the candidate with what is expected of them and give them a deadline. This allows you to see how well they follow instructions and how creative they can be within the parameters of the assignment.

TECHNIQUE 2: Ask The Right Questions

Even if a candidate looks good on paper, it doesn’t guarantee they will be a good fit with your team. Based on what the team dynamic is, the interviewer should craft questions that force the candidate out of their comfort zone and reveal pertinent details about their personality. Some companies, such as Google, use traditional, generic questions and gauge each candidate on how creative their responses are. This is a very common approach. However, situational questions don’t always reveal red flags.


sourcing-techniquesAsk situational questions when hiring candidates. Here's why: 


Some examples that ask the candidate about uncomfortable situations include:

  • “What is the worst thing a former co-worker might say about you?”
  • “What is one thing you would change about your last job?”
  • “Why is there a gap in your work experience?”

These are questions that will force the candidate to spin a negative situation into a positive one, hopefully! 62% of hiring managers surveyed by The Creative Group said that a candidate speaking poorly of a past job or employer is an interview deal breaker. So, if a candidate defaults to complaining about previous employers or coworkers, you may have a bad seed on your hands.


sourcing-techniques Candidates speaking poorly of past jobs could be losing job opportunities. Read more:


To avoid “employer’s remorse,” prepare interview questions that will reveal personality details which may not be so obvious in traditionally generic interview questions. Tailor the questions based on the team dynamic and any red flags you may have encountered with past candidates.

TECHNIQUE 3: Creep on their Social Media

Investigating how a candidate acts in their personal life can be an indicator of any hidden qualities that may affect your team dynamic. Viewing their social media accounts can either reinforce a positive opinion or reveal some disappointing character flaws. According to Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, 93% of recruiters will view a candidate’s social media profile before making a hiring decision. 51% percent of those recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile, with over half of those reconsiderations being negative. The top negative attributes to look out for on a candidate’s profile include:

  • Profanity
  • Spelling/grammar
  • Illegal drug references
  • Sexual posts

Social media creeping is something most people, especially millennials, are experts at and the great thing about it is it generally doesn’t cost anything. So, if you want to know about any deep, dark characteristics of a potential candidate, you know what to do.


sourcing-techniquesThe cheapest way to find potential hire's deep secrets:


When recruiting new hires, look for unconventional sourcing techniques and watch for red flags. Use these techniques to keep yourself from potentially losing your company thousands of dollars on a bad hire.

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