Be Aware of These 5 Resume Red Flags

Be Aware of These 5 Resume Red Flags

When reviewing an applicant’s resume, bad grammar and spelling, unexplainable work gaps, and lack of job stability often top the list of resume faux-pas. These are basic mistakes that are easy to spot. But what other indicators should you look for when deciding whether or not a candidate is worth your time? If you really want to identify the best candidates and avoid the worse, make sure you stay on the lookout for these 5 resume red flags.

  1. Fancy fonts, lots of colors, and other weird formatting
    Though it might be acceptable for applicants looking for a position in a creative field (if done tastefully), visually appealing resumes peppered with a dozen script fonts, clip art, and strange formatting should give you pause. There’s a good chance the individual lacks strong technical skills and an understanding of what it means to be professional.
  2. Generic, cookie-cutter copy
    On the other hand, be on the lookout for resumes that are so bland and generic that it’s clear the person took zero time to tailor it for your company. Applicants should use their resume to position themselves as strong candidates for your position. And if an applicant couldn’t take the time to research your company, why should you take the time to get to know him or her better?
  3. Inconsistent career goals
    Everyone has a few career changes throughout their life, but be wary of candidates who have jumped around in a variety of industries and types of roles – especially if the time spent in those positions is short-lived. If you come across an applicant that’s held many different roles, make sure their resume shows how each of those experiences relate to the position in question.
  4. Irrelevant or missing information
    While it’s nice to have a few tidbits about an applicant’s personality or interests, reading their entire life story off their resume is a cause for concern. Resumes flooded with irrelevant information can be a sign that the individual doesn’t understand what and how much information is acceptable. At the same time, resumes without key pieces of information, like a phone number, email address, or dates of employment also warrant a red flag.
  5. Obvious discrepancies
    Uncovering this last red flag may take some research on your part. Keep an eye out for discrepancies between the applicant’s resume and other forms of communication. For example, if the information on their resume is inconsistent with their application or LinkedIn profile. Or perhaps you find that the applicant has applied in the past, but the experience listed is completely different.

No one sets out to hire the wrong person for the job, but finding the right candidate is sometimes like looking for a needle in a haystack. Screening resumes is your first line of defense and noticing these red flags early on in the recruitment process will save your company time and money in the long run.

Posted on April 27, 2016

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