Keep an Eye Out for These Resume Red Flags

When filling a new position, everyone wants to find the most qualified candidates, but it can be difficult to do that during the early stages of the hiring process. Some candidates may appear great on paper but reveal themselves to be a poor fit for your company during the interview process, but there are ways you can see through a resume that may initially appear suitable for an interview. In addition to securing your business with an Employment Practices Liability Insurance policy to protect you from claims that could arise from the hiring process or a bad hire, familiarize yourself with the following red flags before you select your newest employee.

Career Path Inconsistency

According to a Society for Human Resources Management survey, the average cost-per-hire is $4,219, so unless you’re filling a temp position, you most likely want to keep your new employee around for a while. If a resume shows a history of short-lived positions, that is something for you to think about. Why is this employee consistently switching jobs? Whether they are repeatedly being terminated by their employers or they are constantly leaving jobs that they’ve barely started, there is clearly something going on with these types of employees, and they will likely not be a good investment for your company.

You also want to continue the areas they’ve previously worked in. It’s not unnatural for someone to decide to switch from one industry to another, but it is a red flag to see someone who switches from career path to career path with seemingly no methodology behind it. Someone with this pattern on their resume likely will not be dedicated to your company.


There should be no reason for a job applicant’s resume or cover letter to have any errors. A resume with spelling and grammatical errors, one that has clearly been copy-pasted from an application to a different job (the candidate may have even forgotten to change the name of the company they’re applying to), one with messy formatting, or one that does not follow the instructions that you’ve set should immediately be discarded. If a candidate cannot put in the effort to check a one-page document, he or she likely will not put in a good level of effort on a day-to-day basis with your company.

A good way to avoid hiring candidates with little attention to detail is to include a small detail on your job posting. Ask that candidates submit their resumes as a PDF or ask them to include an additional detail (such as salary requirements) on their resume. This will allow you to quickly narrow down your pool to only the candidates who thoroughly read your posting and followed your instructions, which will eliminate some of the more careless applicants.

Hiding the Important Information

Sometimes candidates know that they are not qualified for a particular position, and instead of seeking other positions that may be a better fit or admitting their shortcomings, they try to disguise their lack of experience. Some candidates do this by not including dates for their previous experience (which could camouflage a history of job-hopping or allow them to fudge how much experience they have in your field), others fill their resume with irrelevant details (such as information about their personal life or a heavy focus on their day-to-day tasks rather than their accomplishments), and some write long, overly verbose descriptions of their prior experience that make it unclear exactly what they have done.

The bottom line is that employers should be able to easily find what they’re looking for. Whether you want to know how many years of experience they’ve had, what positions they’ve previously held, or what they did in said positions, you should be able to get a good understanding of it from their resume. Maryann Rainone, managing director of Heyman Associates, told CNN Money, “Keep the document simple and clear. If it takes too long for us to figure out where people work and what they do, they won’t get too far.” When asked about resumes that omit important details like dates, she responded, “It looks like someone is trying to hide something.”

Unprofessional Behavior

Even if your workplace errs more on the side of casual, there should always be an underlying sense of professionalism, particularly if a candidate is trying to impress you with why they would be a valuable employee for your company. You should discard a resume that includes any of the following:

  • An unprofessional or inappropriate email address
  • An excessively casual tone in the resume and cover letter
  • Inappropriate language
  • Distracting colors, images and fonts
  • A focus on their personal life instead of their professional qualifications

About Axis Insurance Services

At Axis Insurance Services, we aim to help our customers identify their exposures and protect themselves. Founded in 1999, we offer insurance programs to a wide variety of professionals and industries including attorneys, real estate, healthcare, architects, and more, and also have a wholesale division. We pride ourselves on offering flexible insurance coverage tailored specifically to each customer’s needs. To learn more about our solutions, contact us at (201) 847-9175 to speak with one of our professionals.

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