In a candidate's market characterized by a fast pace and fierce competition, it's crucial that organizations take a strategic, informed approach to hiring and recruiting. While a world-class culture takes years to build, a single mismatched hire can cause instant and irreparable damage. That's not to mention the financial toll of a poor hiring decision.

How big a hit do companies take when they bring the wrong talent aboard? A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 40% of CFOs lose as much as $25,000 annually as a result of bad hires. 24% report losses of over $50,000.

Understandably, hiring managers are eager to avoid these headaches. Countless blogs have jumped at the opportunity to offer guidance, identify red flags, and steer business toward promising candidates. Source One's own supply chain recruiter has even offered some tips of his own on the Source One Podcast.

Comparatively few outlets, however, have looked at the process from the candidate's perspective. Prospective employees also have a lot to lose if they make the wrong decision. To make matters worse, the candidate is often disempowered throughout the application process. If they're exhausted by a protracted job search, it could proven even more challenging to properly assess job descriptions and a make a best-fit selection. Beyond settling for inadequate benefits or a non-competitive salary, they could wind locked into an organization where mismanagement or inflexibility run rampant.

On the latest episode of the Source One Podcast, recruiter Andrew Jones takes a look at the warning signs that every discerning candidate should watch out for. These words and phrases, he suggests, paint a picture of disorganized organizations where the employee is not afforded a voice.

Here are few of the red flags he singled out:


You can't blame an organization for placing a premium on flexibility. It's totally reasonable to expect that new hires will boast diverse sets of skills and come prepared to wear a number of hats. An overuse of the phrase, however, should raise the discerning candidate's eyebrows. Flexibility is an important quality, but it should never stick out as the number one skill an employer is looking for. Why? Jones suggests it points to a poor balance between work and life. If a company repeatedly emphasizes the need to wear multiple hats, it's possible they're an understaffed organization where new hires are expected to spread themselves thin. 


"Strategic," Jones remarks, "is a word that doesn't actually mean anything." In many cases, it's a sign that the employer is not entirely sure what they're looking for. "We all employ strategies before we've left the house in the morning," he continues. A business with a clear sense of what'll need from a candidate will choose a far clearer adjective to describe their ideal hire. They'll also avoid empty words like "motivated," "dedicated," and "hard working." Each of these, Jones says, should go without saying. When an organization chooses them to pepper them throughout a description, there's a good chance their hiring team is unfocused and poorly aligned. 

"Work Hard Play Hard" 

In Jones' opinion, this phrase points to one of two troubling situations. It's either a sign of an internal culture marked by unprofessionalism, or an attempt to smooth over a poor work-life balance. Job descriptions, like resumes and cover letters, are about making a good first impressions. This phrase does anything but. Instead of employing this cliched phrase, Jones advises organizations to paint a more detailed picture of the benefits they'll provide their employees. "A great candidate won't be motivated by free alcohol," says Jones, "they're more interested in health insurance, compensation, and opportunities to grow in their careers." 

Want to learn more about assessing job descriptions. Subscribe to the Source One Podcast to hear the full conversation. 
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