Spotting Resume Red Flags in a Technology-Mediated Hiring World

Ah, writing resumes — one of the most tedious yet essential obligations of being a working professional. Even in today’s technology-driven workplace, the run-of-the-mill resume reigns king. Despite the way recruiting is being increasingly mediated and augmented by technologies that make the process more personal (like the Skype interview), even the most forward-thinking business leader still needs a peek at a candidate’s resume.

This doesn’t change the fact that resumes can be laborious and irksome to review. Which is why it’s such a treasure when you, as a leader, come across a good one. Unfortunately, being that ray of light on the resume pile drives the occasional applicant to paint a rather loose picture of their career.

In today’s workplace, where so much of the recruiting, hiring and onboarding process is mediated by technology, you can’t neglect the importance of the resume. Amber Eastman, owner of the recruiting and hiring firm Eastman Agency, offered a few tips for spotting phony resumes in a recent article on TalentCulture. Here’s a rundown of her insights (they may be blinding flashes of the obvious for seasoned business leaders):

Title and Experience Don’t Match

This is 101-level stuff, but definitely be wary of inflated job titles. Eastman told TalentCulture, “People will sometimes give themselves a grander job title, but when you see someone with three years of experience become a practice leader or CEO, there should be further investigation,” she says.

If you suspect an applicant may be aggrandizing their roles at previous companies, always go straight to the source and contact a reference or former employer.

Job History is All Over the Place

Discrepancies between your applicant’s resume and his or her LinkedIn profile or another online resume should be put under the microscope. Sometimes these can be chalked up to simple oversights, but other times more nefarious tactics may be at work. Should you uncover any mismatches between dates, employers or roles, you deserve a clear and specific explanation from the candidate. If they can’t provide one for you, they likely don’t deserve to be on your shortlist.

General Vagueness

Buzzwords and abstract statements are big no-nos on resumes, and when you come across them as an employer, you’d better pick them apart. Pay special attention to education details or percentages as reflections of growth — as in, “raised sales revenue by 100%.” What tactics did he or she use to do that? What tactics were being used previously? What was the starting revenue? A strong applicant should be able to sufficiently clarify points on his or her resume with ease.

These tips will be no-brainers for most leaders, but a little refresher never hurt anyone. You can get more on Eastman’s resume red flags by checking out her article on TalentCulture.

Navigating Hiring in a Technology-Driven World

The resume isn’t going away — in fact, it might even be increasing in importance as the world of sourcing and recruiting talent becomes mediated by devices and online platforms. In many ways, this digitization of hiring gives you an advantage as an employer. You can drive the process, setting parameters for positions and roles, only following up with applicants that meet your criteria and augmenting your application process where necessary.

One tactic that has become increasingly valuable is the video interview. With today’s technology capabilities, you can spin up a video or web conference in minutes with a candidate who’s two time zones away. That gives you a very fast, easy and low-cost way to validate whether a resume is accurate.

For more insights and strategies on recruiting and leading your people in today’s digital business landscape, read “Servant Leadership: The Key to Getting the Most Out of a Technology-Driven Workplace.”