Red Flags in an Interview

Red Flags in an Interview

A lot of candidates get a rejection mail and are confused about what went wrong in an interview process. Working as a recruiter both as a consultant and an in-house staff has exposed me to various red flags during interviews across all levels. I have compiled somethings that candidates should beware of when attending an interview. Here is a list of things that would most likely get you a rejection mail:

Dressing badly

This includes rumpled clothing, unkempt hair, provocative dressing. Ladies you are not here to sell boobs and fine legs! Please be moderate!

We call them DOA (dead on arrival), it means your interview has ended even before it started because you can’t fit into our company.

Bad sitting position

Slouching position shows a lazy and pessimistic personality. Sitting up straight shows a confident person. These are important non-verbal cues.

Lack of eye contact

I had a recent interview with a manager that had a superb profile and from the interview, it shows he actually did all he wrote. However, his role was to face customers and he barely looked us in the face which was a big red flag for the role.

Bad mouthing your previous employer

Even though you have justifiable reasons for leaving, say it in a good way that doesn’t make your last employer look bad! No organization is perfect so be careful what you say!

Short stay in various organization without a reasonable reason

If you are on this table, I’m not saying it’s entirely wrong to have short stays, but they should not be flimsy reasons. Think through the explanation you want to give.

Using an In-audible voice

Yes, using your bedroom voice during interviews is totally unacceptable. You need to be audible even if your voice is naturally low. Try to speak up and don’t wait for the interviewer to cajole you. It can already be a turn-off

Using non-professional language

Avoid switching to pigeon English or vernacular because you feel too comfortable with the interviewer. Please don’t switch, it’s a TRAP. Keep it professional always

Not doing your Research about the organization or the role before the interview

You would end up talking off-point. You would also turn off the hiring team because it shows a nonchalant attitude. ALWAYS do your research and think of the value you intend to add before an interview.

Being Rude to the Receptionist

This is a big NO. Even if you’re a Senior Director or whatever, you need to be polite and courteous to ALL staff. Don’t begin to feel like a ‘god’ even if you have a leg inside the company. It would backfire.

Clownish looking Make-Up

Unless you’re going for a make-up artist interview, I would advise you to wear moderate make-up. I have sat in an interview where the lower eyeliner was bright green and she was a fair lady so you can imagine the distraction.

Rolling your eyes

Some candidates think they are talking to their boyfriends/girlfriends. Don’t forget to be a PROFESSIONAL. I realized some people do it unconsciously. I would advise you to practice in the mirror and ensure your eyes are not flying everywhere.

Feel free to ask questions, I’ll watch out in the comment section to make some clarification.

I sincerely wish you the best in your career.

Yewande Jinadu

Yewande Jinadu is the Founder of CareerLife Nigeria( and also a Strategic HR Business Partner of a leading tech firm. She's a certified HR Professional with a mix of Generalist and Specialist Experience who supports the business to achieve it's goals through the people. Her strengths are in Talent Acquisition, Performance Management, Employee Engagement, Organization Development and Employer Branding. Her social initiative, CareerLife Foundation solving UN SDG Goal 8 is aimed at reducing unemployment by helping graduates and professionals become Employable and accelerate their career growth. With various awards won both locally and globally, her vision is to help millions of youths achieve measurable success in their career. Yewande holds the Senior Professional of Human Resources International (SPHRi) Certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), USA. She is an associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (ACIPM) and has a Practitioners License to practice HR in Nigeria. She's the Convener of the Employability Fitness Program, an initiative aimed at helping young graduates overcome interview Phobia and the barriers in Recruitment process through mentoring. She is a public speaker and has been featured on various media platforms including: BellaNaija, SheLeadsAfrica, GuardianWoman, Women of Rubies etc Some of her recognitions include: Top 50 Career Influencers in Africa by The Workbooth Magazine and also a the top 10 Platinum members of Career Influencers. Top 150 Global HR Influencer by Social Micole. Top 100 Career Women in Nigeria by 9to5Chick Top 30 Leading Women in HR by Worden HCD You can reach out to her by sending a mail to: and follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @careerlifeng

7 thoughts on “Red Flags in an Interview

    1. It’s not a MUST to suit up. Just dress smartly, a shirt and a pant trouser would be fine. But you have to consider the business climate. Banks prefer suit. Tech companies don’t care about it.

      It’s not cast in stone. Just dress smartly

  1. Thank you Ma, i am on your GETjobs forum and i must say your tips and job opportunities are a great help but a yet to get a job. Also your write up here helped me a great deal..
    My questions are;
    1. What about those of us that are Big in stature. (i have constantly heard that recruiters or employers don’t like to hire someone who is Big, because they feel we are programmed to be lazy).?
    2. You spoke about gaps in resumes, i have a few gaps in my resume some are due to change, or sorry to say being fired and child bearing. Is it going affect my chances of getting a job?
    3. Then lastly, you spoke about dressing smartly for an interview. I am someone who has a big stomach naturally and after having my kids it looks like it has gotten worse. How would you suggest i dress if going for an interview? (Cause i would rather wear a shirt over a trouser to avoid showing that region of my body.

    1. Thanks Nolly,

      1. Your stature should not be a basis for prejudice. Just show humility in your attitude and speech. Don’t carry yourself in a lazy way.
      2. Well it may if you don’t have tangible reasons. Have a good explanation for them all
      3. Dress corporately. You can wear a shirt and a trouser also but it must be corporate. if you’re wearing a gown, let it be free flowing so you’re not too conscious of your stomach.

  2. About audibility:
    How does one take caution not to actually be screaming/shouting in a bid to be audible?

    On eye-contact:
    In a situation where one is being interviewed by a panel, starring at just one person could get uncomfortable.
    Because it may not be clear who makes the final decision. Who should you maintain the most eye contact with?

    1. Hi Oduola,

      For the first question, ensure your tone is modulated. Be self aware and self conscious, listen to yourself

      On eye-contact: look more at the person that asked you the question while looking at the rest of the panel briefly to check their facial expression and make brief eye contact.
      Making eye contact isn’t to please someone, rather to be in sync with the panel.

  3. I want to comment on the aspect of short staying at an organization without a good reason.
    Ma, I need a professional answer to that question. To me , most reason behind it is that maybe after getting a job ,one heard of job opening in a dream organization with huge pay. Seriously money as in renumeration is the reason why 70% of people jump from one organization to other with short notice.
    But to make it official what can I say in an interview?

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