6 Common Candidate Red Flags

By Published On: December 17, 2019

Every company desires solid members on their supply chain team that can achieve desired results and possess professional attributes such as integrity, loyalty, and fits into the company’s work culture.
How do you ensure you get that qualified candidate? One way to do this is to detect candidate red flags before you even interview them.
It is critical to hire in a timely manner to get the candidate trained and up to speed.
Spotting these red flags in advance can help to avoid mis-hires and ensures a better chance of the candidate working out long-term within your supply chain department.
Below are a few of the common red flags to look for before engaging with a supply chain candidate:

Inappropriate Virtual Presence

A serious job seeker will present themselves in a more professional light across all social media platforms. Statistics show that 51% of employers who end up checking candidates online have found content or images that disqualified a candidate for the position.
Make sure the candidate doesn’t have an unprofessional profile and that the content they are sharing or posting is appropriate… First impressions are everything!

Failure to Follow Directions on Application

You did your research on social media platforms and this candidate checks your professionalism box in the virtual world. Great!
Next step, did they fill out all fields requested on the application? If you requested a cover letter, did the candidate submit a cover letter as requested?
If they failed to follow these basic instructions, the individual may not follow instructions very well and/or has a lack of attention to detail, which could be a red flag.

Spelling & Grammar Mistakes on Application or Resume

Whether it’s because they don’t care enough about your job or are haphazardly applying to dozens of openings at once, many resumes today typically contain misspellings and grammar mistakes.
Regardless of the reasoning, you don’t have time to check over every inch of work this employee performs and you expect your employees to consistently produce quality work that is error-free. If an applicant lacks attention to detail or clearly doesn’t put much effort into optimizing their supply chain resume, this is likely a candidate red flag as well.

Questionable Employment History

Be sure to check for employment gaps and short stints on the candidate’s resume. Also, does the applicant show career progression or have they plateaued or perhaps gone backward in their career?
Be sure that you are reading between the lines on each applicant’s resume to identify potential red flags with employment history or career progression.
With that being said, you never want to make assumptions about an applicant’s work history and the person out before conducting proper due diligence. When in doubt, simply ask the candidate to explain any gaps or stints prior to inviting the person in for an interview. Candidates should be able to talk you through their previous roles and reasonings for making job moves. If they can’t do this confidently, then this could be a red flag.

Victim Mentality and the Blame Game

When asked why they are interested in your company and the answer ends up being a complaint storm about their current boss, how they hate their job, or they blame others for their own failures, this is typically a major red flag. Complaining or blaming others is a sign of a lack of initiative and the ability to take accountability for one’s actions or results.

Lack of Questions and Attention During the Interview Phase

So your candidate has made it to the interview phase and you haven’t been able to detect any red flags. Wonderful news!
When interviewing them, be sure to listen for vague language when the candidate is describing their experiences and accomplishments in similar roles.
If they are using language such as, “familiar with” or “participated in” or even “we” versus “I”, it could show that they didn’t have much of a role in a project or work assignment. This will help you define how much direct experience this candidate has for the job you are hiring for.
Be sure to listen for rambling or inappropriate language as these can show a lack of an understanding or qualifications for the role, or the inability to organize and convey their thoughts.


Detecting candidate red flags can save you time, money and energy if you know what to look for assessing applicants for open positions within your supply chain.
These 6 tips can help mitigate the risk of mis-hiring as well and help you find the best-qualified candidate for your company.
Want to learn more about how to best find, hire and retain supply chain talent? Check out our guide on How to Hire Supply Chain Professionals.