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Finding the Biggest Resume Red Flags in the Application Process

Here’s the thing: anybody can write a resume. In short, this is why you need to be extra vigilant in the recruitment process. It’s up to you as the recruiter to read between the lines and get to the bottom of any inconsistencies you may find. And sometimes, there can be plenty of them — trust us.

Think of it a bit like detective work. You have all this information in front of you, but you need to sift through it all to find out the truth. Of course, these don’t have to be sinister discoveries. That said, the goal of analyzing a resume is as much about identifying what you don’t like versus what you do.

A resume can tell you so much about a candidate before they even sit down for the interview. Because of that, the resume should act as a barrier of sorts. A preliminary background check, if you will. Whichever way you read the resume will determine if an applicant is qualified for an interview. No pressure, right? Luckily, we’re here to help to run down some of the biggest resume red flags in the application process.

Gaps In Employment

Most working adults have a consistent resume that spans seamlessly from one job to the next. Generally speaking, they’ll have another job within a month or two of their previous one. Some cases are a little different, though. If there’s a significant period of time between their dates of employment — that may be a red flag.

Some resumes have months and even years between employment dates and that could be an issue. Why were they out of the workforce for so long? What were they doing in those periods without work? Was it a legal or health-related issue that came up? Every one of these questions is valid, but the most important thing is to make sure you ask them.

If you don’t ask these questions, you might be missing out on a great employee as well. Maybe they have an excellent explanation. They might’ve gone back to school or were taking care of a sick relative. Several different life scenarios can play out. This is why you need to get your answer straight from your applicant and be direct in doing so.

Bad Grammar and Spelling

Everyone who applies for a job isn’t going to be a wordsmith. We get it. With that in mind, they need to show they put some genuine effort into applying. Doing a quick computer spell check or getting a friend to read a resume over isn’t that difficult. In 2019, there’s really no excuse for a resume with poor grammar and spelling.

In fact, it looks sloppy. If you know grammar and spelling aren’t your greatest strengths, get some help. From a recruiter’s perspective, it looks like the applicant didn’t even try if the grammar and spelling are a mess. A candidate with excellent grammar and spelling will immediately stand out as a professional and well-calculated candidate.

Failure to Follow the Application Process

Every company has a different way of handling its recruitment process. To be considered for a particular role, an applicant has to follow that process. It usually starts with a job posting asking for specifics like a resume, cover letter, and portfolio. It’s not always those three, but you get the idea.

You’d be shocked to know just how many applicants breeze through these details. Instead, they’ll give you a resume and a random website link with no explanation. A cover letter and nothing else. And so on and so forth. If they didn’t bother to take the time to read over the posting carefully, why should you give their application a shot? It’s a failure to follow your application guidelines and disrespectful to the other applicants who did.

Once you’ve found a resume to your liking, Certn can help you run a comprehensive background check to make sure you have the right candidate. Sign up for a free account today!

About the author:

Andrew McLeod is a C3O of Certn, a leading global data company specializing in lightning fast background checks. In addition to running one of the fastest growing tech start-ups in Canada, he advises leaders on how to thrive in the current era of disruptive technological change and how to go from idea to $1M in ARR while “living the dream”. Andrew previously disrupted the rent payment space with RentMoola, pioneered Canadian online classifieds (2007 Exit) and was a Forbes 30 Under 30 Nominee. He holds a BBA and a Masters of International Business and Law.