Hiring Managers Spill The Beans On The Red Flags They Missed And Lived To Regret (14 Stories)

We somewhat extensively covered signs that workers shouldn’t miss on job applications and interviews — red flags that the office isn’t healthy or supportive. But what about managers? Because, let’s be real, of course there are terrible workers out there.


Redditor u/greyghost6 recently wondered what the hiring managers would recognize now as red flags, but maybe overlooked and regretted it.

1. Late for the interview

“I actually hired someone who was late for the interview. Her apology was totally reasonable and I looked past it because she seemed like a good fit. A few weeks into the job, it came out that she didn’t know what time zone we were in. That’s not the reason she was late, but it did turn out that her understanding of time and clocks was insufficient for a job where scheduling things across time zones was a primary responsibility.” —u/TheSource88

2. Lazy

“‘He has family in upper management’ was a red flag. Laziest person I’ve ever hired. His dad was an executive.” —u/IAMENKIDU

3. Arrogance

“One applicant had this weird, sort of arrogant body language during the interview. But, because they looked great on paper and otherwise interviewed okay, I wrote it off as anxiety or something. Joke’s on me, because that person ended up being the whiniest, snottiest, most vile individual. Thank God they found another job before I had to let them go.” —duffs007

4. Appreciated the candor

“One candidate gave some very thoughtful, insightful criticisms of his current workplace. We appreciated his candor, and the content of the critiques were perceptive. When we hired him, we realized that while he spoke well and appeared intelligent, all he could was criticize everything — even when his criticisms made no sense.” —u/Moltrire

5. Free spirit

“If someone tells you they are a ‘free spirit,’ during the interview you’re going to have some problems.” —u/calgarykid

6. Too good to be true

“I used to do hiring for a small store and the biggest red flags were ‘too good to be true.’ Candidates who claimed they loved the public, never had any problems with coworkers, and were never late or absent invariably caused the biggest problems because they were lying through their teeth.” —u/turingtested

7. Drama

“Ran a grooming shop with my ex-wife. We hired this lady who seemed a little high-strung, but we needed the help. Some customers swore that they recognized her from a while back at another shop, but she denied ever working there, and seemed oddly defensive about it. One night, we found reviews on our Yelp page from one of her neighbors who she was fighting with. The neighbor specifically called her out in the reviews and spilled about how she was responsible for the death of a customer’s dog. She walked away from the table for a break, the dog fell with the harness around its neck, and the dog died. We fired her immediately for lying to us and bringing her drama to our business.” —u/rick_blatchman

8. Superlatives

“People who speak in superlatives rather than answering questions directly — it was a red flag. Turns out the guy, while super excited to work for me, still didn’t understand the role. I ended up firing him the last day of his 90-day probation period despite spending an enormous amount of time with him trying to get him right.” —Deleted

9. Complained

“I said the person we were about to hire complained a bit too much about her current job in the interview. They hired her. Guess who nonstop complained about their job once hired?” —u/theofiel

10. Not surprised

“When I worked in a liquor store, my manager hired someone that they knew to have lost their license from driving under the influence. They turned out to constantly turn up to work late, never wore the correct uniform, would eat popsicles while serving at check out, and caused a lot of tension between staff by hooking up with various managers. In the end, she was fired for stealing products. Not surprised.” —u/claysun9

11. Didn’t like me

“During the interview, he said, ‘I was fired from my last job because my previous boss didn’t like me.’ I hoped it was just a one-time incident, which he led me to believe. I understand why now. It wasn’t just a problem because of his last boss, he turned out to be the problem. Also, fun fact, he used my company cell phone number to sign up for every auto-dialed and telemarketing service on the planet.” —u/AtomicBrainInjury

12. Started a fight

“I manage a restaurant kitchen. I’m not the only one involved in hiring decisions. The biggest mistake I’ve made so far was hiring a guy who got irrationally defensive and had issues controlling his anger during the interview. Ultimately, his extensive experience in kitchens won out over my instincts. He started a fight that put two of my other cooks in the hospital one night after we closed. Also managed to break about $1,300 of equipment in the process.” —u/tj3_23

13. It’s not a strength

“He described himself as passive-aggressive as a strength. The rest of the interview went well so we hired him. Supervisor position. Turns out he was SUPER passive-aggressive. And not the way he meant it. Wouldn’t deal with issues, walked out of the room during a meeting with his boss, and kept calling the wrong person when he had questions even though they kept telling him he had to call his direct supervisor. He didn’t last long.” —u/marabou22

14. WHAT

“Woman brought a dildo to our interview for a sales position. Used it quite graphically to demonstrate how she’d fuck the competition. Hired her shortly after as I wanted to see that. Turned out she brought that giant rubber dick into work every day and stuck it on her desk. Inappropriate.” —Deleted