Resume Red Flags

Red warning flag

In an ideal world, every resume that comes across your desk will perfectly describe someone you want to hire. In the real world, however, sorting through resumes can be time-consuming, and there is no guarantee you’ll find the type of worker you’re seeking.

Resumes are an effective screening tool, but they can also raise concerns. While “red flags” should catch your attention, they aren’t a reason to reject a candidate immediately.

Here are some top “red flags” that merit a hiring manager’s attention during the interview:

Several jobs held for six months or less.

One “short tenure” on a resume, or even two, need not be a cause for concern, especially if a second glance makes it clear that the short stay occurred because the candidate went back to school, was performing contract work, or moved on to a stable, long-term position. But when a candidate lists many short time periods with no indication of having “moved on” or “moved up,” hiring managers may wish to ask about these during the interview. Maybe the candidate has a great explanation – or maybe he or she is a “job-hopper.”

Vagueness or “buzz words.”

The best resumes describe the candidate’s accomplishments in past positions, using quantifiable terms. But a resume that discusses work in vague terms like “familiar with” or “participated in” may be masking a lack of actual experience or skill. Likewise, resumes stuffed with buzzwords like “great with people,” “good communication skills,” or “unique” may be hiding a lack of ability – or at least a lack of confidence.

A resume that makes no sense.

Some resumes take more work to parse than others, especially if the candidate is coming to the company with no experience in this particular field. But a resume that is confusing, hard to read, badly formatted, or filled with typographical mistakes implies a candidate who is insufficiently organized to learn even the basics of resume editing. A sloppy resume is a definite “red flag.”

Looking for help with your staffing needs? The CRAS team can help you find the candidates you’re looking for – and screen them more effectively as well.

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