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Top 6 Resume Red Flags

Everyone looks perfect on paper. How do you look deeper for signs that a hiring candidate may not work out?
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top 6 resume red flags

When it's time to hire a new employee, many factors go into the process. One of the most important components is figuring out what type of employee you want. Do they need to have a bachelor's degree? Do they need prior experience? What qualities do they need to possess?

Once you form a general idea of your ideal employee and convey the information in a job ad, all the hard work is done, right?

Wrong. When you start sifting through the resumes the job ad received, it can be overwhelming diving into all of the information and deciding who you should move forward with.

Everyone looks perfect on paper. How do you look deeper for signs that a candidate may not work out? Here are six resume red flags to be on the alert for:

1) Job-hopping. If someone has a lot of job positions listed on their resume, you might think, “Wow, they have a lot of experience!" But you need to take a deeper look.

Job hopping does not have the same bad rap it once had. There could be several reasons for someone to bounce from job to job over a short amount of time: lay-offs, company closures, COVID-19, and so on.

Listening to the candidate's reason for leaving these positions is the most important thing. Do they badmouth their boss? Do they have even more jobs than what they listed? Do they have a problem with constructive criticism?

Either way, a quick phone screen will put your mind at ease on whether to continue with this individual.

2) Gaps between employment. It's also important to look at the amount of time between each position on their resume. Make sure their experience is relevant to the position they are applying to today. If the last time they worked in the field was 10 years ago, they may need some extra help to get to where they need to be.

However, asking them during a phone screen how they have kept up in the industry will give you an idea of how much assistance they would need.

3) Typos and spelling errors. A resume is the first project you will receive as an employer from the candidate. It's their first impression, they've had time to edit and review, and they've most likely sent their resume out to several other employers with ample opportunity to review and make adjustments.

If the candidate's resume has grammar or spelling errors, typos, serious organization issues, or is outdated, this is probably an indication of how the candidate will perform in the office.

4) Career regression or lack of progress. If someone has kept the same type of position over the years, or even took a step down to a lesser position, they may not have the drive to grow or may have some obstacle holding them back from progressing in their career.

5) Non-work-related filler. If someone is filling up their resume page with their headshot, personal quotes or personal events that have nothing to do with work experience or development, it may just be a distraction from a deficiency in relevant experience. It could also mean they have something in their resume they are trying to draw attention away from.

6) One-size-fits-all resume. As an employer, you want to be assured the candidate took the time to read the job description, responsibilities and requirements. They can show you this by customizing their resume or providing a cover letter that uses key words and phrases from the job ad. A one-size-fits-all resume could mean the candidate just applied anywhere and everywhere and won't remember who you are when you call.

All that being said, just because someone has a red flag or two doesn't mean you should just automatically throw their resume away. Give them a call and ask some tough questions to dive deeper. There are many factors in life that can cause career path hiccups.

Additionally, it's important to add more steps to your hiring process. Ask a few managers or experienced staff at your office to get involved in the hiring process and offer their opinion. Conduct a phone screen before you bring a candidate in for an in-person interview. Utilize assessments to understand the candidates' personality traits and work ethic.

Making the wrong hire can be costly and a waste of time. Utilizing thoughtful steps in your hiring process can ensure you find the right fit for your business. 

Katie Thornsberry is the marketing coordinator at IdealTraits, a Big “I" Hires partner

Friday, October 29, 2021
Recruiting, Hiring & Training