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10 Reasons to Say “No” to a Candidate

Building Teams, Mindset

How to spot interview deal breakers and protect your team’s integrity

Interviewing can be an exhilarating experience. You’re having a great discussion with someone who’s experience, tenacity, and drive can help push your organization to the next level of success. What could be more exciting?

However, on the flip side, which is exactly what we’re covering here today, the interview process can be absolutely exhausting and sometimes downright frustrating. 

This post is devoted to how you can better identify what I believe are some of the most intolerable behaviors that can happen during the interview so that you never allow the wrong candidate into your organization. 

You need to weed these folks out before they cause the business damage. Here’s what to look for.

1. They’re not technologically prepared

We live in the age of Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc. Presumably, your candidate has had days (if not longer) to prepare their technology set up well before the interview. While technical difficulties can happen and I’m completely sympathetic to them because they can happen to all of us, there’s a big difference between a slow connection and someone who clearly hasn’t bothered to learn the platform before logging on to the call. If they haven’t prepared for this, then what else are they not going to prepare for?

2. They’re not organized to have a discussion

I always appreciate it when an interview candidate has notes. It shows that they’ve done a modicum of research, hopefully have insightful questions to ask, and are able to express an understanding of what the organization is all about. 

But if they aren’t organized enough to have their notes accessible and are causing constant delays and breaking the rhythm of the discussion because they’re digging through their notes? No thanks. These are crucial business moments. You’ve got to be prepared. You’ve got to be a nimble and active participant in the discussion. And this isn’t how you do it. 

3. They don’t know how to read the room

We’re extremely sensitive to our clientele. This means that we provide our team members with a great deal of training before they’re directly interfacing with anyone affiliated with Cardone Ventures. 

So if an interview candidate suddenly starts expressing their personal political views or delving into information that is potentially divisive and has nothing to do with the business, then what they are doing is showcasing a real lack of judgement. We’re here to help businesses grow. Expressing these things in an interview is entirely inappropriate and should be seen as the red flag it is. 

4. They don’t respect the company culture

This also goes back to the idea of doing your due diligence on an organization. More than once, I’ve experienced a candidate expressing some pretty strong opinions about certain business practices, like cold calling in a sales context, for example, and basically blowing the interview because they didn’t realize that what they were saying was in direct opposition to our culture and how we conduct business. 

Now, it’s up to you as the interviewer to ask clarifying questions so that you’re not making assumptions. This is true for every single one of these deal breakers. Give them  the opportunity to redeem themselves, but take note of how they would or would not ingratiate themselves into the company culture and how your values do (or do not) align. 

5. They lack goals

You’d be surprised how often I encounter this. Cardone Ventures is all about helping our clients and our people achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals. It’s central to our mission. It’s what drives us all to get up every day and do great work. So when we encounter someone who “doesn’t have goals” what it’s really saying to us is that this is a person who lacks ambition, and someone who lacks ambition in their own lives certainly isn’t going to have a level of ambition that helps us and our clients win. And that, my friends, is a deal breaker.  

6. Their only questions are about benefits and compensation

We’re looking for driven and curious people. What questions do they have about the organization? What sort of information are they trying to glean from the questions that they are asking? I tend to think that an interviewee’s questions can be even more insightful than the answers they give to mine, so when their questions are just about compensation, benefits, and vacation time, then it’s pretty clear that they don’t understand the opportunity for their lives to change while working with us. One of our tenants: The quality of your questions will determine the quality of your results. The best question an interviewee could ever ask in my book is: Can you point me to team members inside your organization who have achieved their personal, professional, and financial growth goals through working with you?

7. They haven’t put in effort to present themselves 

This is kind of related to number one, where someone hasn’t gotten themselves technologically prepared to interview. Yes, we’re operating in a remote world, but an interview is still an interview. How have they prepared themselves to create a good first impression? Are they dressed professionally? Are they camera ready in the same way they (presumably) would be if they were meeting you in person? Have they put any effort into the environment they’re in? If not, you can assume that they’re going to put the same lack of effort into the business. 

8. They interrupt you

An interview is a conversation. Are they giving you the space to speak? Or are they constantly interrupting you in order to show you how knowledgeable they are? There’s a certain social dynamic taking place during an interview. Are they picking up on your cues? Are they giving your ideas room to breathe? Or are they cutting you off and, intentionally or not, being rude? This is probably exactly how they’d be with a client, so pay careful attention. 

9. They’re not results oriented

What are they really telling you about their accomplishments? Is it quantifiable information? If not, steer clear. You’re here to grow your business, right? You want a team that’s going to help you achieve your goals. If they can’t articulate how they’ve done this in the past for other businesses in some measurable way, then they’re just storytelling. Storytelling is great, but it’s only half the battle. 

10. They add stress to the environment

I try to make a candidate feel at ease during an interview, and I always appreciate when they do the same for me. This shows me how they’d conduct themselves with clients. Never forget that they’re responsible for selling themselves to you during the interview. They should be doing everything they can to make you think, “I don’t think our organization can thrive without this person being a part of the team!” 

If there’s behavior during the interview that is causing you stress, then this behavior is certain to persist (if not worsen) should they become a team member. Trust your instincts. Ask clarifying questions, of course, but don’t ignore the red flags. 

There’s SO MUCH MORE you can learn about conducting great interviews and building amazing teams.

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