CV red flags

If your job posting and networking efforts are successful, you’ll soon have your hands full reviewing CVs. Because they often provide your first glimpse of a potential employee, it’s important to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Whether you sift through the stack of CVs yourself or delegate the first round, a set of guidelines will help you streamline the process. If your job description pinpoints the combination of skills, attributes and credentials a particular position requires, you can use it as a baseline for evaluating the CVs you receive.

Here are some tips for finding what you really need to know from a candidate’s CV.

Look for advancement

An applicant’s work history should show a steady progression into areas of greater responsibility, but don’t go by job titles alone. Look at what the individual did in each role and how important it was to the employer.

Take note of any typos or misspellings

Two qualities you want in any potential new employee are accuracy and attention to detail.

Consider the wording

Vague or ambiguous language can disguise a lack of skills or expertise. For instance, someone may be “familiar with” Microsoft Excel after attending a seminar but may have no on-the-job experience with the software program.

Follow up with phone calls

Even after carefully reviewing CVs, you still may be uncertain about which applicants to invite for in-person interviews. An effective solution is to conduct short screening calls. You’ll help narrow the field and save time by scheduling fewer face-to-face interviews.

When to think twice

If a CV contains any of the following, you’re probably better off putting them to one side: unexplained gaps in employment; excessive job-hopping; typos, misspellings and grammatical errors; overly ambiguous phrasing (for example, “familiar with”, “involved in”); and lack of professional advancement or growth.

But don’t jump to conclusions

Be aware of potential red flags, but avoid ruling out applicants based on unconfirmed assumptions. Someone with a short tenure at a company, for example, may have been made redundant due to budgetary issues. Engaging in a brief phone conversation with an otherwise promising job candidate can help allay concerns.

Need assistance with your hiring? Contact your local Robert Half office today.

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