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When reviewing job candidates’ resumes, it’s helpful to know what to look for. The red flags listed below aren’t necessarily deal-breakers, but they can be some of the main reasons to reject a job candidate.  


1. Gaps

Does the job candidate have big gaps in his/her resume? By gaps, we mean periods of time in which the candidate was not working or in school. If so, is there a good reason? Try to figure out the story behind them. Remember: not all gaps are bad — they just require explanation.

2. Job jumping

Does the job candidate have a new job every month? Too much lateral job movement could indicate that the candidate is difficult to work with or manage. Job-jumping is a good thing to bring up during reference checks.

3. Generic

A candidate that submits a generic resume didn't tailor their resume to your job. This is a sign that they are applying to lots of positions without carefully considering fit. 

An example of a generic resume is one where the experiences listed are completely unrelated to your industry and the candidate does not highlight any transferable skills.

4. Missing information

Sometimes resumes lack key information such as dates, degrees, or job titles. Often times if the candidate omits these facts, there may be something they are trying to hide. Make sure to get to the bottom of these situations by asking specific questions during the interview!

5. Lies

Missing information can also suggest the candidate is lying. Lying can be hard to spot, but keeping an eye out for omissions or inconsistencies is your best shot at revealing the truth.

6. No numbers

The best resumes will quantify accomplishments. Resumes lacking numbers generally leave the reviewer questioning how impressive the accomplishment really is. Look out for resumes with lofty language and no numbers to back up apparent accomplishments.

7. Unprofessional

A resume can be unprofessional for many reasons. Sloppy formatting, spelling errors, and an inappropriate personal email, in particular, can all be signs that the job candidate lacks good judgment.  

8. Spelling

Poor spelling is unprofessional and suggests that the job candidate didn't spend time editing his/her resume. It also may suggest a lack of attention to detail. Before discarding the resume completely, think about the job you’re hiring for and whether it requires strong writing skills or attention to detail.

9. Too long

A resume should preferably be one page long. Any longer than two pages and it indicates that the candidate isn’t tailoring their resume or respecting your time. Take a look at our 3 actually free resume templates to get an idea of what you should be looking for. 

10. Too stylish

Resumes should look neat and be easy to read through. For most industries, a simple format is best to convey information. The best resume fonts are clean and easy to read, the information should be organized in an intuitive way, and all of their contact information should be easy to find. 

If a job candidate goes the styled route, don’t be distracted by the appearance of their resume and remember to focus on content.


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