Typos in the resume, late to the interview, these are some of the common red flags we spot in potential new hires. But have you sat on the other side of your own hiring process? Is it setting off any red flags and scaring away top talent?

To a job seeker, a company’s hiring process can say a lot about what it might be like to work for them. If they’re met with flakiness, disrespect or a lack of professionalism, it can be enough for star players to walk away from the table.


A bad hiring experience can even affect your bottom line. In a recent CareerBuilder study, 32 percent of job candidates said they are less likely to purchase a product from a company who didn’t respond to their job application.


Stop losing talent AND customers by avoiding these seven hiring ‘red flags’.


1. Having a slow process

One of the most common ways employers lose top candidates is by simply taking too long. If you want to snap up the best of the best you’ve got to be quick before a competitor beats you to the punch.


Even if there no other offers are on the table, long hiring processes can turn off candidates who see it as a sign of a company which will drag its feet on the job as well. It can also be an issue of ego: “If they really wanted me, they wouldn’t take so long to decide”.


2. Being flaky

Flaking out on candidates, especially ones who are currently employed, can be seen as disrespectful of their time and a big red flag. Managers who are unreliable and difficult to get a hold of during the hiring process, imply they’ll be equally unreliable in other dealings as well.


3. Asking odd/irrelevant questions

You may think curveball questions like “How would you get an elephant into a refrigerator?” and “What do you think of garden gnomes?” are clever, but they can be a real turn-off for some job seekers. Normally these questions are used to assess a candidate’s reaction under pressure, but you should use them sparingly, if at all. Candidates expect and want to be asked about their skills and experience; not be peppered with irrelevant brainteasers.


4. Being vague about the job

Vague job descriptions, and while we’re at it- weird job titles – are not doing your company any favours. When employers are unclear about what a job will entail and aren’t able to clarify what the goals are it can signal a number of things to a candidate. A) You don’t really know what the job is; B) You haven’t defined what the job will be; or C) You are hiding something about the job. All signs that a candidate is going to have a rocky road in this position.


5. Treating it like an audition

Hiring isn’t a one way street. It’s not all about a candidate trying to jump through hoops to impress you. You need to turn on the charm and sell a candidate on why they should work with you. Hiring is about matchmaking to see if two parties will fit well together and mutually benefit.  This goes for all steps in the process – from being familiar with their resume, to letting them ask questions in an interview, introducing them to their potential team, and negotiating an offer.


6. Lacking professionalism

We’ve seen some faux pas in our days from X-rated posters on the wall to interviewing in what is basically a storage room. These are extreme examples but details such as having a tidy and private interview room are important to job seekers. Just like you assess the presentation and professionalism of a candidate, they are doing the same evaluation on you and your workplace.


7. Failing to communicate

According to the CareerBuilder survey, failing to communicate is one of the biggest gripes with hiring processes. From not hearing back on applications, to no follow up after interviews, communication (or lack thereof) is a big problem. As a recruitment firm, we understand this more than most. While it’s hard to please everyone when you have a large volume of applications, setting expectations and putting the follow up onus back on candidates can help.


Set up automated replies to online applications so that candidates know their applications are received, and make it clear that only successful candidates will be contacted. It’s important to update candidates who are in your shortlist as the process moves through.


There’s never going to be a perfect hiring process for everyone but not putting your best foot forward as a company can cost you top talent as well as potential customers.