How to Spot a Resume Red Flag

If you’ve tried hiring someone who’s looking to seek jobs Melbourne-wide, you have likely had plenty of resumes pile up in your inbox. Though it can be time-consuming to comb through a mountain of CVs to find one that resonates with the advertised role, there are some key things you can identify early on to eliminate some candidates.

As recruitment experts, we know a thing or two about what can make or break a resume. And it’s with great pleasure that we’re sharing this knowledge in this blog!

Grammatical mistakes aplenty

While not everyone is a copywriter with a communications degree up their sleeve, most people have basic spelling, grammar and punctuation skills. Missing typos and grammatical errors throughout a resume and cover letter is a huge red flag for employers.

All applicants should be writing their resumes and cover letters with the utmost care. This can show employers early in the process that they truly care about the role they’re applying for. It can also help make a good impression – if they’re putting this level of attention to their application, then you can be sure they’ll be as attentive to their work should they get the job.

Didn’t follow the application instructions

Some candidates might not include the specific elements you required in the initial job ad, such as a cover letter, portfolio or response to selection criteria. This is another red flag you should be aware of, as it demonstrates a lack of effort and attention to detail.

It’s this lack of effort that can cause issues in the workplace long-term, as the applicant might not be able to follow instructions or take the initiative to follow client briefs. You should focus your attention on the candidates that do provide everything you require in the job ad, as it’s these candidates that are ready and willing to put in the effort to succeed.

Bad structure

How a candidate formats their resume speaks volumes about their presentation and approach to work. A great resume should follow a logical order, be easy to read, and look organised. If a candidate’s resume looks like they added everything they think is relevant sans-structure, then it indicates they didn’t spend much time on it. 

Opt for resumes that have a clear structure, with well-presented information that reflects the nature of the job that they’re applying for. 

Job hopping and unexplained gaps

It’s great for candidates to have a wealth of experience up their sleeve. But it’s not great if this experience comes from several roles across multiple companies within a short period of time. It can show that the candidate doesn’t like stability or commitment, and that they might not be reliable. 

And while gaps in work aren’t a red flag on their own, it’s important to pay attention to how long that gap is and whether there’s an explanation. If a candidate only uses years or omits jobs altogether, then it could be a sign of dishonesty, which can easily affect how they operate in your business.

Non-existent career progression

If an applicant has spent several years in the same role, or is applying for a role that they’re already in, it can indicate that the candidate lacks career progression. This insinuates that they also lack the motivation to step up and take their career to new heights or aren’t qualified for more advanced roles in their industry. A lack of career progression can indicate a candidate might use your company as another job to list on their resume, rather than the next step in their career. 

Woods & Co

If you’re ever in doubt about hiring someone, then partner with the best! At Woods & Co, we go through all resumes with a fine-toothed comb, so that we can find the perfect candidate for your business. Get in touch today and let us take the hassle out of recruitment.