How to Spot "Red Flags" on a Resume

May 14, 2008

In difficult job markets there is more temptation than ever to bend the truth a little to get the job. This can leave the company with employees who can't do the job they were hired for.

Identifying "red flags" will help you ensure that you can identify candidates with a depth of experience and expertise. Here are a few pointers:

    • Before sorting through your pile of resumes, have a checklist of essential skills, qualifications that are the "benchmark" for finding the right person. (education, general and specific job experience, skill and performance requirements)
    • Look for unexplained time periods that might indicate unemployment or a job the applicant doesn't want you to know about. Date-stretching to cover gaps is not uncommon. Check references to detect this.
    • Watch out for resume filled with vague responsibilities and claims. Check for inconsistencies between title, responsibilities and salary. Look for very specific details of achievements and outcomes.
    • Salary is a common area for embellishment. This can be hard to detect, especially when you can't check with a present employer. Ask for evidence such as a contract, pay slip or bank statements.
    • Check references. Always! Flag specific items to check with referees.

This week's tip contributed by Carlyn Burns, president of Prolyn Executive Search, striving to deliver the best in high-value, quality and efficient recruitment services exclusively in the window and door industry, nationwide.