Finding the perfect candidate for an open position is often challenging. Hiring managers can only learn so much about a job seeker before extending a job offer. As a result, it’s critical to take the vetting process seriously, increasing the odds of selecting a candidate that genuinely fits the bill.

Since reviewing resumes is usually the first step in the screening process, learning how to spot red flags in the applications can expedite hiring. It lets hiring managers remove candidates from contention if there are warning signs, making it easier to focus on job seekers with potential.

Here’s a look at five resume red flags to watch out for in potential employees.

1. Spelling and Grammar Errors

Spelling and grammar errors can signal that a candidate lacks attention to detail or is ambivalent about the opportunity. Diligent job seekers will thoroughly proofread a resume before submission, ensuring it’s correct and showcases them in the best light. While a single typo isn’t automatically cause for concern – depending on its nature – multiple issues may reflect an unwillingness to proofread, a lack of professionalism, or general carelessness.

2. Discrepancies Between Sources

In most cases, hiring managers do more than read resumes during this initial phase; they also review cover letters and check out candidate LinkedIn profiles. By going over all of these information sources together, it creates an opportunity for hiring managers to spot discrepancies that could indicate false information or a lack of meticulousness. Dishonesty is almost universally a disqualifier, but even if it’s purely a sign of poor attention to detail, it should give hiring managers pause.

3. Overly Long Resume

Generally speaking, a resume shouldn’t exceed two pages (barring a few exceptions, such as high-level positions like C-suite roles). If a candidate for an entry- or mid-level job sends in a resume that’s three or more pages, it is a sign that they struggle with self-editing.

The odds are high that not all of the information provided is relevant. Additionally, there’s an increased chance that the resume is essentially the job seeker’s go-to one, covering as much as possible as a means of avoiding further targeting. Regardless of the candidate’s reasoning, it should be viewed as a red flag.

4. Vagueness When Discussing Skills or Achievements

While resumes need to be concise, vagueness is a warning sign. Ambiguous terminology like “familiar with” or “participated in” makes it hard to gauge a candidate’s skill level or involvement. At times, the use of those phrases is intentional, allowing job seekers to position themselves are more capable than they may be in practice.

Similarly, a lack of quantified details makes assessing a candidate’s capabilities challenging. It doesn’t let hiring managers see the job seeker’s precise level of impact. The lack of quantified information could be a means of deception, which makes it a red flag. However, even if it’s simply a reflection of a lack of attention to detail, it’s still a bad sign.

5. Too Much Personal Information

While many candidates may list job-relevant hobbies, personal projects, or volunteer experiences on their resumes, personal information beyond that is usually deemed inappropriate. If a candidate spends excess time diving into their personal lives on a resume, it could indicate a lack of boundaries or a poor understanding of what’s appropriate in a professional context.

Ultimately, the red flags above should be taken seriously. They could indicate that a candidate isn’t as skilled as they initially seem, are lackadaisical about their work, or struggle with professionalism. All of those issues can result in a bad hire, so it’s best to exercise caution when considering job seekers who make those missteps.

If you’re in need of top talent, TempStaff can help. Contact us today.

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