New clients, unlock 10% off all plans 🔥 at checkout with code: CEO10SPECIAL (Limited Time Offer)

New clients, unlock 10% off all plans 🔥 at checkout with code: CEO10SPECIAL (Limited Time Offer)

Bad Interviews: Can Great Candidates Give Them?- All You Need to Know

As seen in:

You’ve stumbled upon a diamond in the rough, a candidate who seems to have it all…on paper. But as soon as they walk into the office, you realize this may have been a mistake.

Even the most polished and greatest of candidates can have a bad interview day.

Maybe they showed up in sweatpants, arrived fashionably late, or gave the receptionist attitude. Regardless of the reason, you can’t shake the feeling that this interview is headed for disaster.

And let’s be real, the consequences of a bad hire are no laughing matter. But alas, the interview process is often our only chance to truly get to know a candidate before bringing them on board.

Considering that the average cost of a bad hire is up to 30% of the employee’s first year compensation, it’s important to hire the right people – not just the ones that interview well.

But here’s the thing, just because a candidate bombs the interview, doesn’t mean they’ll bomb the job.

Interviewing and on the job performance are two very different beasts. Sometimes, a candidate can pull off a great con during the interview and make it seem like they’re a perfect fit, when in reality, they’re about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

So, how do we separate the wheat from the chaff?

How do we know if a candidate’s bad interview is just a blip on the radar or a true red flag?

Well, seatback as we explore these and more.

Why Do Great Candidates Give Bad Interviews?

1. The Candidate is Out of Practice

When it comes to hiring a great candidate, it can be easy to get caught up in the interview process and overlook the candidate’s skills and experience.

A great candidate can give bad interviews when they are out of practice for a pretty long while.

It’s essential to remember that applicants who have been with a single company for a long period of time may have become a bit rusty in the art of interviewing.

Data by revealed that committed job candidates can go anywhere between 2-10 years between interviews, almost guaranteeing rusty interviewing skills. 

So, take that into account when assessing them – and don’t forget to smile!

Furthermore, it is vital to be mindful of those who appear overly rehearsed or well-versed in industry jargon. After all, these candidates may simply be trying to put their best foot forward, rather than showing off their actual skills and successes.

Ultimately, a great interview may not be the key to landing a great candidate, so it’s essential to assess their industry experience and skills to get a more accurate picture of their suitability for the role.

Find out: 10 Signs an Interview Went Well or Bad

2. Interviewing Requires Certain Skills

can good candidates give bad interviews

Always remember that when hiring, the type of role that you’re recruiting for will determine the type of interview skills you should be assessing.

For example, technical roles require a unique set of skills that may not lend themselves to a traditional interview setting. As such, you should focus more on the candidate’s qualifications than their interviewing abilities.

On the other hand, customer-facing or people management roles does not condole bad interviews but necessitate strong interview skills as they are essential in order to be successful in the role.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect hire, you need to make sure that you’re considering both the candidate’s technical skills and their ability to conduct themselves in an interview.

After all, a great interview performance doesn’t always equal a great hire, and a poor interview may not do their skillset justice. So, consider their past achievements to get a better picture of their suitability for the role.

3. The Candidate is Extremely Nervous

Interviews can be a stressful situation for everyone involved. By the way, nerves can easily take over and leave a candidate unable to properly show their true colours.

That being said, it’s important to remember that a little bit of nerves can be a good sign. It shows that the candidate is enthusiastic and has put in the necessary effort to prepare for the interview.

And, don’t forget that there could be external factors that are affecting the candidate’s performance, so it’s crucial to be understanding and put them at ease.

A friendly smile, an offer of a hot drink, and some simple questions about their journey can go a long way to setting a positive tone for the interview.

Still, you must keep an eye out for any red flags, such as a candidate who is disengaged or unprepared.

In some cases, it may be that the candidate simply isn’t a good fit for the role. Just remember to be fair and respectful during the process, and you’ll be on the right track for conducting a successful interview.

4. Interview Format

Let’s face it, interviews can be a bit overwhelming for some folks.

So, why not shake things up and take the meeting out of the office? Whether it’s over a cup of joe or a tasty lunch, a more casual setting can help ease nerves and make the conversation flow more smoothly.

Plus, it’s a great way to show off your company culture and find common ground with potential hires.

For example, if you’re looking to bring on a seasoned freelancer, why not suggest meeting at a co-working space where they can feel at home among their creative peers?

Or, if you’re looking for someone with a background in production, why not give them a tour of the factory floor and let them shine as they talk about their experience working in a similar environment?

5. Everyone has Bad Days

can good candidates give bad interviews

Let’s not be too quick to judge. We’ve all had those nights where our little ones kept us up until the wee hours of the morning.

Or maybe our personal lives are a bit of a mess at the moment. And let’s not forget about those days when we’re feeling a little under the weather but don’t want to admit it.

We’re all human, after all.

So before you write off that candidate who may have had a less-than-stellar interview, give them the benefit of the doubt.

It may be worth it to re-interview and make sure we don’t miss out on a top-notch candidate. As the wise Kodzik once said, ‘A second chance may be what is needed to find the first choice for your job opening.

Find out: 50+ Top Behavioral Interview Questions(+Sample Answers)

7 Real Warning Signs of a Bad Employee

Are you suspecting that one of your employees may not be living up to their full potential?

Look out for these warning signs, from telling white lies to never-ending negativity, to ensure your workplace runs smoothly and efficiently.

1. Telling White Lies

Let’s get real here. A little white lie during an interview may seem harmless, but it’s like a red flag waving in front of a bull.

If a candidate can’t even trust themselves to be honest during the early stages, how do you expect them to be trustworthy once they’re part of the team?

Sure, they may think spicing up their college grades or exaggerating the size of their previous team is no big deal, but it’s a huge deal.

It’s like playing with fire, and you don’t want your company to get burned by dishonest behavior down the road.

2. Slating their Previous Employer

Well well well, it looks like our dear candidate here has just pulled a major faux pas.

Not only is it highly unprofessional to talk smack about a previous employer, but it also raises red flags about their loyalty and trustworthiness.

I mean, if they’re willing to spill the tea on their ex, what’s to stop them from spilling it on us in the future?

Let’s just say, it’s not a great look. Sure, we all have our professional differences, but let’s keep that drama between the candidate and their ex-company, shall we?

3. Focusing on Salary and Benefits

Listen, let’s be real here, we all know that salary and benefits are the ultimate love languages of the professional world.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

Like a first date, it’s best to wait until the end of the interview to bring up the topic of salary and benefits.

Because, let’s be honest, if someone is only interested in what you can give them, they’re not really interested in the job, now are they? And we all know what happens when someone is only in it for one thing, it’s a bad interview, folks.

can good candidates give bad interviews

4. They Have Zero Goals

Want to know if your candidate is truly invested in the job and your company’s goals?

Just ask them where they see themselves in five years! It’s like a crystal ball for their career aspirations.

If they’re stumped or haven’t even bothered to research your company’s career development policies, well, let’s just say you’ll have your answer faster than a magic 8-ball.

5. A Negative Outlook

Beware of candidates who seem to be more bitter than a sour lemon and are quick to point fingers at their teammates.

This is a major red flag during interviews.

It’s like trying to drive a car with no steering wheel, they simply can’t handle constructive criticism and learn from their past blunders.

And let’s not forget, they’ll be a real party pooper when it comes to team morale.

6. Self-centric answers

This is particularly important for candidates that will be working on teams.

If the candidate only talk about his own personal victories and not give credit where credit is due, well, let’s just say the candidate’s ego might just become the real MVP.

But let’s not confuse confidence with arrogance. There’s a fine line between the two and we want to make sure we’re on the right side of it.

7. Defensive Response and Body Language

Let’s be real, if a candidate can’t handle a little constructive criticism and authority during an interview, they’re probably not going to be a great fit for your team.

Think of it like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole- it’s just not going to work.

So, make sure to keep an eye out for those defensive responses and body language, and ensure that their work ethic aligns with your management style before bringing them on board.

Are Bad Hires Avoidable?

To be candid, bad hires are like that annoying friend who always shows up uninvited to your party.

But relax, by following these tips, you’ll be able to spot the red flags and avoid them like the plague.

Make sure your company’s hiring process is like a superhero sidekick, always there to save the day during good or bad interviews.

And don’t be tempted to speed through the interview process like a race car driver on a caffeine high, or you’ll end up with a terrible hire faster than you can say “oops”.

Once you’ve made your hire, focus on creating a strong onboarding process. It’s like giving a new employee a warm hug on their first day, it makes them feel welcomed and supported.

And remember, a little support goes a long way in helping them get off on the right foot!

What You Can Do as A Hiring Manager to Mitigate Bad Interviews

The hiring process can be like a game of Clue. You’re trying to figure out who did it, but sometimes the suspects give you a false alibi.

As a hiring authority, it’s like trying to decipher if the bad interview was caused by nerves, rusty interview skills, or just a bad game of 20 questions.

But don’t throw in the towel just yet, give them a second chance to prove their innocence. And as the hiring process unfolds, the real suspects will reveal themselves.

But watch out for those red flags, like a suspect who’s always on the move, they may just be an avid job hopper. So, let’s tailor our interview process to catch the real culprit and find the best fit for the job.

CEOMichaelHR is the ultimate career resource company. Our professional resume writers and career coaches are committed to accelerating your career. Whether you’re looking for a new job, a promotion, or just need a little guidance, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Don’t let a bad resume hold you back, collaborate with CEOMichaelHR today and take control of your career.


Further Reading

Table of Content

Unlock expert resume tips, start landing multiple interviews!

Start Landing

Multiple Interviews

with our Free eBook

Learn the same techniques our expert resume writers have used to get thousands of clients closer to their next job

Unlock expert resume tips, start landing multiple interviews!


10% OFF


Stay connected to receive powerful career insights, updates, and inspiration that’ll help you hit your 2023 career goals.