Red Flags On A Resume

When screening candidates, companies need to be aware of resume warning signs and red flags. Consequently, bad hires can be very costly. For example, the U.S. Department of Labor states that a bad hire can cost up to 30% of the employee’s annual salary.

According to an article from SHRM, the cost of recruiting, hiring and onboarding employees can be as much as $240,000. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of resume warning signs and filter out unfit candidates.

Here are some easy ways to spot resume warning signs and red flags when reviewing resumes.

Visually Unappealing

An obvious warning sign is when the formatting of the resume is off, or it looks very plain. The formatting of a resume says a lot about the candidates and their writing skills. As a result, a poorly formatted resume usually means the candidate will have difficulties with written communication and documentation.

The Right Approach:

Candidates should utilize Microsoft word’s resume templates.  By doing so, candidates can utilize hundreds of sample resume templates to properly structure their resume.

Job Hopping, Too Many Short-Term Positions

Resume Warning Signs Hopping

Candidates with multiple positions within a year is a big red flag for any organization. However, if all the positions were temporary contract roles with end dates, then it may be acceptable.

However, a strong candidate typically does not continuously accept short-term positions.

In most cases, having too many positions in a resume is a warning sign.

The Right Approach:

Ideally, the candidate should spend at least two years at each position. Moreover, candidates with four years in each position are keepers.

When our staffing firm finds candidates who have dedicated years to an organization before moving on, we put them high on our priority list to connect with our clients. This is because these candidates are in high demand and employers hire them over others due to their loyalty.  

Email Address Domain

The email address of a candidate provides insight on their technical capabilities. For example, candidates with old domain names usually get short listed. Moreover, it shows a lack of technical adaptability to modern standards.

The Right Approach:

For example, candidates should defer to domain names such as, or which is outlook. 

Too Long

Resumes tell a lot about a candidate. For instance, are candidates able to provide short and concise information about their experience?

Unfortunately, candidates often feel compelled to include every detailed information about their background. Consequently, hiring managers tend to skip long resumes as it becomes daunting for them to review.

The Right Approach:

A good rule of thumb is to keep their resume to one page. Candidates with longer history may go to two pages. In summary, the resume is an overview introduction to the candidate. The details can be discussed during the phone or in-person interview.

Inconsistent Fonts And Colors

Resume Warning Signs Fonts

For instance, resumes show recruiters how organized a candidate is. A creative candidate may be able to pull this off. However, most resumes end up looking sloppy. Consequently, this may be a warning sign to watch out for.

The Right Approach:

To be on the safe side, resumes should always be consistent on its font and colors. However, headings can be different sizes.

Too Many Cliché Terminology

Resumes that have too many common cliché words mean candidates have difficulty explaining their skill sets.

Examples of common cliché words in resumes include, passionate, exceptional, team player, people person, self-starter, dependable, results driven, dynamic, flexible and hard worker.

The Right Approach:

Candidate should describe their actual experience and provide an overview on their particular trait that makes them exceptional.

Grammar And Spelling Errors

Resume Warning Signs Grammer

Overall, a resume should be flawless and have no grammatical errors. If resumes have such errors, it’s an obvious sign of writing challenges.

The Right Approach:

Resumes represent the professional background of a candidate. Therefore, candidates should thoroughly review their resume prior to submitting them to open positions.

No Title

One of the biggest mistakes most candidates make is not putting a title under their name.  Unfortunately, candidates often assume hiring managers will review their resume and understand what their title is.

The Right Approach:

Candidates should always provide their title or the title of the position they are seeking. By doing so, they make it clear on what their professional experience is. Finally, it attracts the attention of hiring managers to continue reviewing the resume.

In summary, these are just a few of the resume warning signs that recruiters should take note of. If your organization needs assistance with your hiring needs, please contact us or email us.