With fewer candidates in the job market, Hawaii employers may be tempted to settle on individuals who don’t necessarily meet all of their position requirements. Yet even in the face of our state’s talent crisis, employers should continue to carefully review and evaluate applicants and keep a lookout for red flags that spark concern.
5 resume red flags to look for
When reviewing a resume, there are obvious issues to watch out for, such as bad spelling and grammar. But be aware of other types of red flags that can provide valuable insight into whether or not an applicant is worth pursuing.
1. Cookie-cutter copy
There’s no excuse for an applicant failing to personalize and tailor their resume for your company. Signs that an applicant took little time to prepare their resume for your review might include an overly broad objective statement. For example, “I want to be a successful employee at your company.” Look for applicants that take the time to specifically position themselves as a strong candidate for the position and that have clearly researched your company.
2. Inconsistent career goals
It’s common for people to change careers at least a few times, but be cautious if you come across an applicant that has jumped around in a variety of unrelated industries or roles within a short period of time. If this is the case, the applicant should show how each of those experiences relate to the position he or she is applying for.
3. Unexplained gaps in work history
Gaps in work history are typically easy to spot; however, some applicants may try to hide them by eliminating employment dates from their resume. Watch out for this as it may be cause for concern. If a resume does have obvious work gaps, try to understand why–don’t immediately jump to a conclusion as some individuals may explain their reasoning in a cover letter or directly on the resume. An HR best practice when it comes to resumes is to always require an application to be completed, even if a resume is provided. This allows your company to obtain specific, consistent information about each applicant.
4. Too much or too little information
Attention to detail is important, but if an applicant is listing information like their driver’s license, date of birth, and a new favorite hobby, it’s clear that the person doesn’t understand what and how much information is appropriate. If this is the case, be very cautious about inquiring into any personal or non-job-related information that has been volunteered. On the other hand, you may also want to avoid applicants who do not include important facts like a phone number, email address, or dates of employment in their resume.
5. Obvious discrepancies or missing information
This last cause for concern may take some research to uncover. Keep an eye out for lack of consistency between an applicant’s resume and other forms of communication. For instance, ensure that the information on a resume matches what’s listed in the cover letter or LinkedIn profile. Additionally, check your company applicant files as you may find that the applicant has applied in the past—ensure that the information listed on the applicant’s original resume is consistent and doesn’t contradict the details contained in the most recent application.