How to Expose a Bad Candidate

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Ever hire someone who looked great on paper, but nearly sunk the ship once they were hired? As one of Winnipeg’s top recruitment firms, we know that, many times, this can be due to a candidate who commits resume fraud in order to beef up their backgrounds. And in fact, it’s been reported that a near majority of people lie or mislead on their resumes.

One way to sniff out fraud is by conducting a background check. However, doing so during the resume screening process would get expensive…fast. But there is a simpler way to avoid hiring a bad candidate – and it involves being on the lookout for these 6 resume red flags:

1. Not following directions. 

You asked for a cover letter, resume, a salary history, and three work samples. You got a resume. Clearly this applicant can’t follow directions, so promptly hit the “delete” button.

2. Multiple employers in a short period of time. 

Today, most people don’t stay with the same company for 30 years. That said, when a candidate has three different employers in less than a year, you know that person is likely a) unqualified, b) difficult to work with, c) uncertain about their career path, or d) all of the above.

3. Gaps in employment. 

Nowadays, many good candidates have gaps in their resumes. However, when the gap is significant and the candidate hasn’t done anything to fill it – i.e. volunteer work, consulting, or enrolling in school – then it could be a sign of a bigger problem.

4. Not enough detail. 

For instance, you get a resume that includes an overview of the candidate’s education, but doesn’t include the year they graduated. This could be because 1) they are a seasoned professional and don’t want you to know their age for fear of ageism or 2) they never graduated and hope you won’t notice. In these cases, if you’re interested in the candidate, a quick phone call to the registrar’s office can confirm a graduation date.

5. A decline in responsibility. 

Be wary of a resume that shows a decline in responsibility or leadership roles. Don’t discard it altogether, though, if the candidate seems worthwhile. There may be a good explanation. For instance, perhaps the candidate cut back on their workload to care for a small child or sick parent and are now ready to take on more responsibility.

6. Failure to customize. 

A well-qualified candidate will customize their cover letter and resume to showcase the skills and accomplishments most relevant to your job opening. However, when an applicant has a boilerplate cover letter and resume, that’s an indication that they know they have little chance of getting an interview, so they’re not going to spend a lot of time on their resume.

If you’d like some additional tips on resume red flags, or help with your hiring process, let us know. As one of Winnipeg’s top recruitment firms, we have the resources and the expertise to recruit, evaluate and place the ideal candidate for your organization. Contact us today to learn more.

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