4 Resume Red Flags

Sifting through a pile of resumes can be a daunting task. That’s especially true if you haven’t been trained in the recruiting and hiring process. You can greatly reduce the time you spend reading resumes by performing an initial first scan to weed out those resumes that just don’t cut it.

Learn to recognize red flags and you’ll be able to put those less desirable resumes aside quickly and move on to the more promising ones.

Here are 4 red flags to consider when reviewing resumes and deciding which you’ll spend your time with a more thorough review:

#1 No related skills, education or experience
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people waste time reading through resumes that don’t have the skills, education or experience to perform the job. To speed up this process, make sure that you’ve identified and listed the top 3-5 skills, education or experience that a candidate must have for you to consider them. If you scan quickly for these and don’t find at least some of them, put the resume into the “no” pile and move on.

#2 Job jumpers
While the days of someone staying with a company for 20 years are pretty much dead, someone who’s had 5 jobs in 2 years should raise some eyebrows. Unless your candidate has made it clear that they’ve been working contract work, jumping from one job to another can be an indication that your candidate has problems.

#3 Sloppy spelling and grammar
Many an HR professional cringes at the sorry state of spelling and grammar that they see every day in resumes. Spelling and grammar aren’t just an indication of a candidate’s literacy skills; it’s also a gauge of their attitude. The care that someone takes with their resume is a good indication of the effort that they’ll put into their role. Even if your role doesn’t involve much written communication, it’s a small task for a candidate to ask someone else to proof their resume before they send it off.

#4 No cover letter
Unless you’ve specifically asked that no cover letter be provided, this can be a key indication of how interested this candidate is in your position. Let’s face it, if they can’t take the time to research the role and your company and then give you a short introduction about why they’d be a good fit for you, how engaged are they? Also, be on the lookout for cover letters that are so generic that they could apply to any job. That’s often the sign of someone who didn’t even read your job description and is “spamming” out their resume to as many places as possible.

In Summary
You’ve only got so much time in the day to read through resumes looking for that gem of an employee. Why waste time reading resumes that aren’t a good fit? Skim and sort resumes first. Then devote your time to having a thorough read through the resumes of candidates most likely to be what you’re looking for.

If you struggle with this and the drain it has on your time and energy, consider passing the job on to a recruiting firm. One of the benefits of working with a professional recruiter is that they’ve already developed a “spidey sense” for weeding out the undesirable resumes to come up with the winners. They can often skim a resume in under 30 seconds and know whether it will make it to the next round for further review. From there, a recruiter will make recommendations about where the best fit is and which resumes deserve a personal interview.

About the author
(Voted Barrie’s Best Employment Agency 7 years running, ESS Direct offers recruitment and temporary placement services throughout Barrie and South Simcoe County, specializing in helping companies identify, attract and hire administrative and office heroes.)

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