Resume and Interview Red Flags: How To Find The Perfect New Hire

February 27, 2013  |  
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You’ve finally decided to take on a new hire. After going through the resume collecting and interview process, your new hire starts… and promptly proves to be a big disappointment.

With millions of people looking for jobs, it is important to know how to weed out bad candidates to find the ideal person for the position. Here are nine tips for bosses and small business owners on how to spot resume and interview red flags right away.

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Red Flag No. 1: Skipped the Spell Check

Is the resume riddled with incorrect spelling, bad grammar, and a lack of punctuation? Not only does it mean the person didn’t care enough to double check their resume, it also shows a lack of attention to detail. A sloppy resume is likely indicative of the kind of sloppy work that person will do for your company.  “Based on this evidence, why would you have any faith that he or she would get it right when you employ them?” asks About.com.

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Red Flag No. 2: On A Downward Spiral

Most people want their resume to reflect professional growth. But one that shows a career that is heading in the opposition direction is a definite red flag. It might seem like an opportunity to hire someone with a little extra experience, but beware.

There could be various reasons for the demotions such as a career switch or layoff, so ask questions of the candidate. But if it seems as if the person has lost interest in her career, then she probably isn’t the person you want to hire.

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Red Flag No 3.  No Prep

If during the interview you discover the candidate doesn’t seem to know anything about your company, cross her off the list. Who shows up to a job interview, where you’re being evaluated for your fitness to get paid for work with an organization, without knowing the first thing about the organization?

“A candidate who demonstrates a lack of knowledge about your products, customers, or services has failed to do the most fundamental research to prepare for the interview,” explains About.com.

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Red Flag No 4: All the Glitz

Does the resume have unreadable  fancy fonts? The person is obviously trying too hard. “Non-standard fonts, small text with little to no space between sections, and narrow margins all raise red flags,” writes US News & World Report.

This can also suggest someone  who is “bound and determined” to wedge too large a story into too small a space. Look for the simpler resume where the talent is the thing that shine.

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Red Flag No. 5:  Resume Lists References

According to Forbes, this is a bad sign. “Listing your references on the resume is a definite no-no. References should always appear on a separate page, and should only be produced when asked for,” reports the magazine.

Seems a little weird right? But it’s just one of those things you should do. And anyone who, once again, isn’t doing research into resume etiquette isn’t doing research on other things either.

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Red Flag No. 6: No Backup

During the interview the candidate is unable to back up claims made on the resume and cover letter with solid examples, details, or proof. So you say you’re creative and detail-oriented. How do I really know that? What sort of success story can you discuss that will illustrate those traits? Seek out candidates that can expand on the skills and experiences listed on her resume.

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Red Flag No. 7: Unprofessional Email Addresses

Resumes that list unprofessional email address such as hotbaby@hellokitty.com, reports Forbes, can’t be taken seriously.

For those readers who are looking for a job and have an email address that falls short on professionalism, get a new one specifically for your job search. The only emails you need to get there are those related to finding a new job.

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Red Flag No. 8: Picture This

Toss out resumes that include a photo. You’re hiring based on skills, attributes, and accomplishments. That’s what the resumes should exclusively focus on. According to Forbes, photos are only appropriate if the position is for a model or an actor.

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Red Flag No. 9:  Cookie Cutter Resume

While you’ll want to shy away from resumes that are a bit too creative, you also don’t want a candidate who has not customized her resume, says US News. Look for resume that highlight the skills and expertise for the position, demonstrates a bit of flair, and details items that are important for the job you’re looking to fill.

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  • MsLadyE

    Excellent article. Another interview red flag that should be addressed: The candidate does not project a professional image. If you come to an interview dressed like you’re going to the grocery store, the interviewer or hiring manager thinks, “She looks sloppy, so that means she will do sloppy work”. However, if you come to the interview dressed appropriately for the job you are applying for, then the interviewer or hiring manager thinks, “She looks professional. She means business and will take pride in her work”. Also, your handshake and body language tell people more about you, even BEFORE you speak.

  • scandalous7

    from an upcoming graduate, thanks. Its common sense but I was really curious about what employers look for. I wish I can just pick their brains a little more. So terrified of graduating I swear.

    • Kellz

      Me too!!!i graduate from Fisk in May

  • DeepThinker

    I’ve read two resumes that are in violation of some of these examples. You would think people would know better.