4-minute read

Every company has been there. You hire someone who seems perfect for the position—but after a couple of months, it’s clear they’re not a good fit. To help rule out unsuitable candidates before you make them an offer, ask yourself the following questions.

Which Candidates Should You Not Hire?

Do they really want what you’re offering?

Meet Janet. 

She’s an experienced pharmaceutical saleswoman with a track record of exceptional results, year after year. In person, she’s confident, positive, engaging. She has glowing references touting her as an asset for any organization.

Ask Janet what she enjoys most about her work and her eyes light up. “I love being in the field and dealing with customers,” she says. For her, to work is not a chore, it’s a pleasure.

Sounds great, right?

Well, that depends on what kind of job you’re offering her. If the position she’s applying for is more of an office-based, managerial role, then despite all her positive qualities, hiring Janet might not be wise, says Hubble Managing Director Michelle Lemire

“If you know a role will be office-based, it won’t be right for someone who wants to be customer-facing, even if they’re a top talent. When the honeymoon period is over, they’ll be itching to go out on the road.”


“The best hires are those that are a great fit between candidate and company in terms not just of qualifications but also personality traits, motivators and work environment.” 


Some other examples:

  • Don’t hire someone who is creative-minded to follow processes and write reports. 
  • Don’t hire someone who is highly analytical for a position where they won’t spend much time dealing with data and numbers. 
  • Don’t hire someone who’s keen to move up the corporate ladder at a company where there’s no chance of succession.

Sooner or later, these people will begin to miss what they love and start looking elsewhere.

Does the candidate understand what the job is really like?

“You can romanticize a job in an interview process, but then discover it’s not what you expected. 

At Hubble, if we think someone’s a good fit for our team after the in-person interviews, we’ll tell them to spend half a day with us. Then they can see if this is really where they want to work.” 


She recommends that other companies take this extra step too. A “day in the life” can help confirm that the hire is the right decision for all concerned.

One Hubble client, for instance, will fly in shortlisted candidates to spend a day at the office. They get to spend time with different people, such as the CEO and marketing director, take a tour of the facilities and eat lunch with their potential future colleagues in the cafeteria. By the time 5 o’clock rolls around, they’ll have a much more realistic sense of the job.

Do you trust them to represent your company?

When it comes to ethics, you don’t want to take any risks. Some things are obvious red flags. You’re not going to hire someone if you find out they’ve lied on their resume. 

Some other warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored:

  • Disrespectful behaviour
  • A negative attitude
  • Tardiness
  • Similar unprofessional conduct

 Or if someone is seeking a change simply for the sake of change, will they really be committed to the job long-term?

Even if a person seems above board and provides solid references (and, let’s face it, most people are smart enough to only ask for references from people who’ll recommend them), there may be subtle signs that all is not well.

Recruitment in action:

During an interview, Steve, an advertising executive, tells you that he increased revenues by $12 million. Later, he says $15 million. It could be an honest mistake, but perhaps he’s exaggerating to impress you.

If your gut feeling tells you that the person is not being straight with you, Michelle suggests that you should think twice about hiring them. If in doubt, have someone else interview the candidate and provide a second opinion. Psychometric evaluations, while not a substitute for interviews, can also help to confirm gut feelings.

“Once a seed is planted and you think someone is stretching the truth, you’ll start to doubt them. If they’re not convincing when representing their own interests, how trustworthy will they be as an ambassador for your company?” 


Are you rushing your decision?

There’s a saying in HR: hire slow, fire fast. The first part of that is certainly true, Michelle argues.

“All great companies take their time when hiring. If hiring is done too quickly due to urgency and proper vetting is not done, once the honeymoon stage is over for a new employee, there will be gaps in fit and performance.”


Besides taking the time to rule out unsuitable candidates, companies should make sure they’re not inadvertently ignoring good candidates for the wrong reasons.

Perhaps someone looks good on paper but fares poorly in the interview because they’re nervous. It might be worth giving them a second chance, since the best employees are not necessarily the best interviewees.

Maybe you’ve had negative experiences with people from certain industries or companies and are excluding them from consideration. If so, it might be best to rethink your strategy, according to Michelle.

“You may need to be broader in your criteria. Break down exactly what you’re looking for. By gauging your work environment and culture, your past hires and common threads among long-standing and best-fit employees, your recruiter can be a valuable resource in identifying profiles that you haven’t considered but perhaps should.”

Want more expert advice from Hubble’s recruitment specialists? Click here for more of our exclusive recruitment and HR blog content.


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