4 Resume Red Flags

As you start sifting through all of the resumes you’ve collected from job applicants, you might find that they tend to all look the same. Flipping from resume to resume, they start to blur together and you just don’t know which one is which. It can happen and that makes finding the right candidates even more difficult.

When resumes start to look the same, you can easily overlook small mistakes that candidates made or even miss something huge like incorrect information. While you probably don’t want to be skeptical of candidates, you need to treat resumes with a certain grain of salt. Fact checking is important when it comes to hiring new employees. But what do you look for? What could candidates be lying about? Here are four resume red flags to be looking out for:

  1. Listing a university, but not a degree.  You may see that the applicant studied at a prestigious school and think that it would be a great thing. However, you need to make sure that there is also a degree listed. If only a university or school is provided, it can be a resume red flag for not having completed the degree. When screening the candidate on the phone, be sure you ask why they left out the information.
  2. General employment dates.  Gaps in employment history can look really bad for an applicant, so in an effort to hide those gaps, a resume may contain years instead of specific dates for previous positions. Applicants are able to hide up to 12 months of unemployment by doing this. You need to know the circumstances around those gaps, so ask for a detailed work history with more specific dates.
  3. Exaggeration of job titles.  Trying to make themselves appear more important, applicants modify their job titles. While this looks impressive, it can cause work histories to not have a natural flow. If someone moves from an entry-level position to a director position, a resume red flag should be thrown. Don’t just look at titles. Read job descriptions to make sure those titles make sense and the responsibilities match.
  4. Overstating accomplishments.  It’s no secret that awards, certifications, and achievements look impressive, but sometimes there isn’t any real substance behind them. While some applicants certainly earned their awards, some may have simply paid for their awards. If you find that an applicant has a few different awards and you don’t recognize them, take a few minutes to do some research. You can easily find out the requirements of an award and it can be achieved.

These white lies may seem harmless to applicants, but they can end up hurting you and your organization in the long run. When you don’t know the truth about applicants, you can end up hiring someone who seems impressive, but doesn’t actually have the knowledge or the skills you are looking for. Take the time to look at resumes closely, ask questions when you see a résumé red flag, and spend time with anyone you are thinking about hiring before making your decision.

Call us today at 317.803.2910 so we can help you detect those resume red flags and make sure your candidates are qualified before you ever meet them. 

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