7 signs you’re hiring someone that’s not the right fit

Written by
RMI Team (F)

Remember that candidate you were hiring with an incredibly well-written resume? Or the one that really excelled in the interview? Perhaps you even decided to pay them more because they had all the necessary experience, and they were professional, charismatic and personable 

Sadly, first impressions are not always accurate. If you’ve fallen victim to a bad hire rest assured, it’s not uncommon.  

The simple truth is professional resume writers can make candidates appear better on paper than in person. And just because it’s printed on their resume doesn’t mean it’s the absolute truth. Experienced interviewers are also well rehearsed and boosting with confidence – after attending so many interviews they’ve mastered the art and they know all the right things to say.  

Here’s 7 red flags to help you avoid a hiring disaster: 

1) Your new hire attempts to renegotiate every aspect of the role 

They gracefully accept the terms of the job with no questions asked, but when they start, they immediately attempt to re-negotiate everything, including compensation and work arrangements. They might even attempt to disguise these negotiations under the premise that their personal situation has suddenly changed. While it is indeed possible, tread carefully. Sometimes these candidates want to get their foot in the door before negotiations start to get an advantage. It might seem trivial, but it doesn’t reflect a good character.  

2) You notice gaps in your new hire’s knowledge 

They seemed knowledgeable and well-equipped to handle your needs during the interview process, but you find yourself shocked by the gaps in your new hires knowledge and they seem to need constant support to get through their workload. It’s possible the candidate impressed while talking about big-picture strategies, but not everyone can translate this to fulfil the everyday needs to get there. In this case, your new hire might not be a bad hire, but they might be better in a different position. 

3) Your new hire is missing in action – late, leaving early, absent and preoccupied  

It starts off arriving just a few minutes late, then they start leaving early and then they start disappearing for long stretches. Then you start getting requests for time off for things that ‘could not have been foreseen during the interview process’. Or perhaps they’re present but preoccupied on their phone for long periods of time. The reality is sometimes candidates have active side businesses running which they deem more important than yours.   

4) They are constantly complaining, and talking about their old job  

Your new hire is constantly challenging processes, complaining and talks about how things used to be done back at their old company. It could even be simple things, like the desk chairs were more comfortable, or free-drinks on a Friday were the norm. Simple but never-ending. While we are hiring people precisely for the experience and insight, they bring an employee who makes constant comparisons in a tone that suggests their previous employer did it better, is a serious concern. It shows they are struggling to adapt and with digital transformation and automation changing the future of work across every industry this could quickly become a liability 

5) You hear your new hire say, “that’s not my job” 

You make it clear during the hiring process that collaboration is key to your business and the new hire says all the right things to give you the impression they are a team player. But then you overhear, “that’s not my job!” The problem is in a dynamic workplace, job responsibilities evolve and change, quickly. A new hire must be willing to adapt by handling tasks that weren’t in the original job description. This doesn’t mean your new CMO needs to gleefully assume HR duties, but they should be open to changing their responsibilities as the business requires, particularly in a start-up 

6) You find out how ‘boring’ your weekly meetings are from Facebook
Your new hire just loves social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Google+, LinkedIn – somehow, they find the time to be active on all of them. If they’re getting their job done you might think it’s not necessarily a bad thing but then you notice they are posting comments like how boring your weekly meetings are, or how bad the company’s incentive scheme is. These comments not only reflect badly on your company, but they should also serve as a warning sign that the new hire has the potential to post top-secret information.   

7) You suspect lower-level staff members don’t like the new hire 

Suddenly your once content bunch of staff are coming in late, there are more absentees, and everyone just seems miserable. Unfortunately, the adage is true, one bad apple spoils the bunch. This is particularly the case for managers. The way a manager treats lower-level staff can create serious problems. They might be perfectly polite and well-spoken in front of Senior Management, but behind the scenes it’s a different story. They might be telling others why they’re right and everyone else is wrong or shooting down ideas without any constructive input. According to MIT’s Sloan Management Review, employees subconsciously evaluate new bosses in only five days, and those thoughts and feelings determine the entire future relationship.  


It’s a lot harder than we think for hiring the right person for the job. While companies have more tools and social networks to do research and due diligence during the hiring process, businesses also receive hundreds of resumes every day, and the weeding is tough and tedious. When any of these situations occur, it is not wrong to admit that you made a bad hire. But it is wrong to leave the person lingering for too long.