HR Insights

Interview and Resume Red Flags

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Tiffany Moore headshot.
Tiffany Moore
VP, Client Partnerships
February 11, 2017

Hiring new employees is never an easy task. Sifting through dozens—or even hundreds—of resumes and interviewing candidates can feel daunting and draining. But discerning who the right candidate is for your position doesn’t have to feel impossible. Next time you’re hiring, look for these resume and interview warning signs to narrow the pool and find your ideal employee faster.

Resume Red Flags

  • Multiple Career/Industry Changes: Many people change careers over their lifetime, but multiple career hops over a short period of time may be a sign your candidate lacks interest or abilities.
  • Sloppy Resume: Poor grammar or spelling, disorganization, and vague descriptions can be a sign your candidate lacks basic skills, education, and a willingness to put in effort.
  • Unexplained Gaps: While some employment gaps make sense and are unavoidable—illness, education, or staying home to care for children—suspicious employment gaps can convey a lack of motivation or inability to handle responsibility.
  • Inconsistencies: If information on an applicant’s resume doesn’t align with what they’re telling you verbally or on an application, there might be reason to suspect dishonesty.
  • Job Hopping: Unless there’s an obvious career trajectory in sight, changing jobs or positions often may indicate a person has trouble getting along with others or lacks competency.

Interview Red Flags

  • Unprofessional Appearance or Behavior: Wearing inappropriate or very casual clothes are warning signs the applicant doesn’t know the basics in professionalism. Also watch for candidates who don’t make eye contact or conduct themselves with good business basics like proper posture and handshakes.
  • Being Unprepared: Showing up without requested resumes, references, or copies of applicable documents (or even simply pen and paper) conveys an indifferent attitude. You want to know that candidates are responsible and taking the job opportunity seriously.
  • Talking Poorly About Others: A candidate who trash talks his/her old co-workers or bosses could be indicative of an office troublemaker or heavy gossiper. Negative work encounters and relationships happen, but you don’t want a candidate who dwells on these things or spreads malicious stories around.
  • Vague responses: If your applicant can’t give concrete examples of their work performance, they may have overinflated previous job roles or abilities on their resume. Look for solid, concrete, relevant details in answers to your questions.
  • Not asking questions: While questions regarding pay and other benefits at the first interview are sometimes considered taboo, a candidate who asks no questions at all may reveal an inability for deep thinking, low self-confidence, or a lack of interest in the job.

Still unsure about hiring the right person for your company? Working with a staffing firm is a great way to hand off hiring responsibilities to HR professionals. At That’s Good HR, we tackle the intensive hiring tasks like sifting through resumes, narrowing applicants, interviewing, and onboarding. Ready to find your next great employee? Contact us now.