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10 Resume Red Flags That Could Mean a Candidate is Lying

Posted May 6th, 2020

Often, a candidate resume is your first introduction into what a job seeker has to offer. The issue is, things aren’t always how they appear. Some job seekers exaggerate what they bring to the table; others outright lie.

Maintaining a skeptical eye is critical. If you want to improve your hiring outcomes, here are ten resume red flags that could indicate a problem.

1. Job Title Doesn’t Align with Experience or Role

Fudging a job title is surprisingly common. If a candidate lists a title that doesn’t make sense based on their experience level or duties, that could indicate they aren’t being entirely honest.

2. Only Listing Years in Employment History

While not technically a lie, candidates may only list the years (instead of the month and year) they were with an employer as a means of disguising employment gaps.

3. Resume Doesn’t Match LinkedIn Profile

If a candidate’s resume and LinkedIn (or other social media professional profile) don’t match, one of them isn’t accurate. While you can’t say for certain that the resume is the false one, the discrepancy alone is a red flag.

4. Two Resume Copies Don’t Match

Many candidates apply to the same company multiple times. If you have a previous resume from the candidate and there is a major difference between it and the new version, that isn’t a great sign.

5. Cut and Paste from Job Description

It’s normal for candidates to use the same words and phrases in their resume. However, if entire portions of the description of the job you’re trying to fill appear on the application, that points to either one of two things. First, it could be laziness. Second, it could be a trick to get past the screening software. In the latter scenario, there’s a decent chance the job seeker isn’t being accurate about what they bring to the table.

6. Everything is Incredibly Vague

Many candidates will avoid adding details if they aren’t being completely honest. They may forgo quantifying the information to make an accomplishment seem grander than it is, for example. It’s more of a lie by omission, but it’s disingenuous, nonetheless.

7. Ambiguous Phrasing

Phrases like “involved in” or “familiar with” are ambiguous. They leave a lot of questions about how much a candidate knows or did and could be used to make them appear qualified when they aren’t.

8. A Slew of Superlatives

Usually, skilled professionals won’t use superlatives like “best.” If you see a candidate describe their capabilities in that manner, treat that as a red flag.

9. Trendy Buzzwords

While not all buzzwords are meaningless, many of them are fluff. If a resume is punctuated with nearly every trendy buzzword, proceed with caution.

10. References That Aren’t Recent

If the candidate includes references, but all of them are from jobs from long ago, that could indicate that the candidate isn’t being upfront about their recent experience.

Contact Our Recruiters Today

If you’d like to learn more about how to spot resume red flags, the team at Bayside Solutions can help. Contact us today and see how our candidate screening expertise can benefit you.

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