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Recruitment red flags - Part 3: Body language etc

Recruitment red flags - Part 3: Body language etc
Marie Ryan

Marie Ryan


We reached out to in-house recruiters (CEOs, HR managers, and Talent Acquisition executives) to discover the biggest red flags in interviews.

The red flags were across four categories: attitude, competence, body language and other. In this article, we’ll talk about red flags related to body language and other things to look out for.

Here are the top insights for you to use when interviewing your next hire

What is a recruitment red flag?

A red flag is a warning sign. If there are a lot of red flags, it’s best to disqualify the candidate.

Body language

Most recruiters, HR managers, and talent acquisition executives are body language experts. They see the silent signals that candidates emit without meaning to. 

Poor hand-shake

Nothing shows low confidence like a limp handshake. Equally, a vice-like grip is overbearing. Good candidates present their hand confidently while smiling and look happy to be there. 

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Poor eye-contact

Candidates who don’t make eye contact in an interview won’t make eye contact while on the job. If the role is public-facing (e.g. dealing with prospects and clients) it could be a problem. 

Sloppy or inappropriate clothing

How we dress sends a message to the world about how we see ourselves and others. The dress code in the office might be casual, and once they get the job, they can wear whatever they want. But they need to make an effort for the interview. Even if the dress code is casual, good candidates make some effort to look good. 

Body language signals aren’t a deal-breaker, but form a picture in the context of the interview.  If a candidate dresses poorly, slouches, lacks competence, and has a negative attitude, it’s a clear no.  If the candidate makes poor eye contact and doesn’t have good posture, but they are very competent and enthusiastic, they could get through to the next round. 


These are red flags that recruiters look out for, that don't fall into the other categories.

Revealing company info

Don’t trust candidates who reveal confidential company information. If they reveal it to you, they’ll reveal it about you.

Good candidates sell themselves on their talents and skills, not on the secret information they give you, openly, without prompt. 


The interview is a chance for candidates to impress you with their professionalism and skills. If they are cursing casually in an interview, they will curse in front of the team, CEO, and even customers. 

Talking about religion or politics

Few things get people riled up as much as religion or political affiliation. If they bring it up in an interview, they will bring it up in the office. 

Listing things they won’t do, that are essential to the job

  • Are you interviewing a salesperson who says they don’t enjoy being on the phone? 
  • A computer technician who’s tech-phobic? 
  • Or an administrator who hates Excel?

If they tell you that in the interview, they won’t change their mind when they are on the job.

t’s a red flag when they go too far.


  • Karen tells you about the time she complained about a restaurant she ate in because it was just awful. 
  • David goes into great detail about how wonderful his son is at sports

These people could get through the entire interview without discussing the job they’re interviewing for. 


There are a lot of factors to assess when interviewing people. By looking out for red flags, you'll be able to weed out unsuitable candidates earlier, helping you hire great people faster.

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