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Resume Red Flags: 4 Things Hiring Managers Say Are Automatic Concerns After an Interview

An impressive resume is crucial for getting interviews, and it continues to play a big role even after an interview is over. Recruiters will often look back through a candidate’s resume to see how their listed skills and experiences compare with their interview answers. This is why pro resume writing services in Denver CO encourage job-hunters to always ensure that their resumes are detailed and up to date.

Unfortunately, many people make mistakes when it comes to resumes and interviews. They might list something on a resume that they then struggle to explain during the interview, for example. This sort of thing can instantly make hiring managers concerned or wary. In this guide, we’ll look at four things to watch out for when writing your resume and attending interviews.

man sitting on a bar stool with a red flag above his head with the words "Job interview red flags"

Resume Skills Don’t Match the Interview

The first and perhaps most common issue that concerns recruiters is when a candidate’s interview impression doesn’t match the one provided by their resume. In other words, the resume produced a certain set of expectations that the candidate then failed to meet in person. This can be especially worrying for recruiters, as it brings the rest of the resume into doubt.

For example, you might cite communication as one of your key skills. But then, during the interview, you might struggle to express yourself. Similarly, you could list punctuality and reliability as key characteristics on your resume, but then turn up to the interview late. Or you describe yourself as organized and attentive but make mistakes and forget simple things during the interview.

Of course, nerves may play a part in this. Many people aren’t 100% themselves in interview settings, as they feel anxious or are so eager to impress the recruiter. However, nervousness can’t excuse everything. It’s important to ensure that your resume paints an accurate picture of who you are so recruiters don’t feel disappointed when the interview occurs.

Unexplained Employment Gaps

It’s perfectly normal to have gaps in your employment history. In fact, close to 70% of Americans have a gap of some kind. There are lots of possible reasons for this. You might have had to spend more time away from work than expected while searching for the right job. Or you might have taken time to travel, gain skills, or care for a relative.

Most recruiters won’t be put off by any of that. However, they will be concerned if a candidate has gaps on their resume and then fails to explain them during the interview. Similarly, if the candidate gives a confusing explanation for a gap, hiring managers might draw their own conclusions.

This is why it’s recommended to have answers ready to explain any gaps in your working past. Assume that the recruiter is going to bring up the subject, and make sure you’ve got a thorough and positive explanation. Or, better yet, address gaps in advance on your cover letter, explaining what you were doing and why you weren’t working.

photo of a resume with a bunch of red flags being placed on the resume

Lack of Examples and Anecdotes

Another red flag for recruiters is when a candidate can’t back up certain points of their resume with examples. For example, let’s say that you list leadership as one of your key skills. In an interview, a recruiter might see that and ask you “Tell me about a time when you had to lead a team.” If you can’t share an example, they might assume that you’re not a strong leader at all.

It’s quite common for candidates to stack their resumes with skills, aiming to impress recruiters and look like well-rounded workers. But, when asked for more details, they struggle to provide anything of substance. This often reflects badly on the candidate. Recruiters might assume that you’re not being totally honest about your skills if you don’t have any examples of them in action.

Remember, if you list a skill on your resume, then recruiters are likely to ask about it. It’s therefore important to have genuine examples that you can refer to back up every skill or claim on your resume. Conversely, if you don’t have any good examples for a skill, then don’t list it. That way, there’s no risk of you being caught out.

words "Common nonverbal mistakes made at a job interview" with man in suite holding briefcase

Answers That Don’t Add Up

Recruiters are also sure to be suspicious if you give an interview answer that contradicts something in your resume. For example, if you write about a project that you successfully managed, but then seem unable to provide any details about it. Or if your account of a previous role doesn’t match the duties and description you provided on your resume.

If your answers don’t match what you’ve written on your resume, that gives a bad impression. It suggests that you possibly haven’t reviewed or updated your resume in a while. Alternatively, recruiters may deduce that you’ve lied on your resume to impress them. Either way, it doesn’t look good, and it could eliminate your chances of employment.

Again, this is why honesty is always the best policy when writing resumes. You should only list the skills, qualifications, and experiences that you truly have. Additionally, make sure to review and update your resume regularly. You should know every word of it before you step into an interview, so you’re ready to answer any questions that might come up.

Avoid Making These Mistakes in Your Job Search

Skills you can’t back up. Gaps you can’t explain. A lack of stories to support your claims. Confusing or contradictory answers. Hiring managers won’t be impressed if you make any of these mistakes during your interview. That’s why it’s vital to ensure that your resume is accurate, up-to-date, and thorough, possibly with the aid of a professional CV writing service.

With a detailed and honest document, there’s far less chance of you encountering any confusing interview questions or disappointing recruiters. So, before your next job application, take the time to read through your resume and make any necessary changes. Ensure that all the info you provide is true, and make sure you’re ready to explain it all with examples.

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