I have recently conducted a technical interview for a junior developer position with a candidate who is switching projects within our company. The candidate proved to be quite competent on technical aspects, however the manager who took part in the interview, has expressed concerns that the candidate seemed quite indifferent and unenthusiastic during the interview.
I am fairly new to conducting interviews so I didn't pay as much attention to the candidate's attitude as to theirs technical knowledge. However when the manager expressed his concerns to me I realized that I noticed that too.
During the interview the manager asked the candidate almost point blank regarding their lack of enthusiasm noting that the interview is a two way street and they should decide whether our project seems right for them. The candidate replied that they were disappointed by their previous project were they had their internship (payed).
The trouble is that we can't tell for sure whether this is a problem with the previous project or candidate's attitude. I've also remembered that I've worked with people that seemed constantly demotivated and it wasn't very pleasant or useful to the team.
So here is the question: Is such an attitude a red flag and how much it should be taken into account while making hiring decision?
Q: Can you be more clear about what "indifferent and unenthusiastic" means?
A: I would describe their attitude as "cold" and not expressing much emotions. I try to be more friendly and welcoming to reduce the tension during the interview by being more verbose and passionate about the subject and joking occasionally (even though I'm an introvert myself). Sure, I don't expect everyone to laugh at my jokes but the candidate didn't really return any emotions. The manager also tried to get them talking about whether our project would interest them and how they would like to grow professionally, but the candidate gave very short and reserved answers which left us kind of clueless regarding their priorities. After the interview when the manager expressed his concerns I realized that it might indeed be uncomfortable for me to work with this person if they would behave like this on a daily basis.
Another important piece of information is that I happen to have a friend working on candidate's previous project who confirmed that the candidate's behavior seemed a bit "weird" to them when they interacted on the project but it wasn't always like that.