Being a hiring manager is no easy task. One poor decision and you can end up with a bad hire that impacts the whole company, from the morale to productivity and other key areas. It’s why you need to be so careful when you are reviewing resumes.

Yet, you also have to be efficient too. When you’re receiving hundreds of resumes for one position, you can’t spend 10 minutes carefully reading through each one. Instead, you need to scan them fast and get to the next one.

So how can you find the candidates you should interview, when you need to move quickly? Here are some tips to help you in the process.

Create a checklist.

Before you look at the first resume that winds up in your inbox, create a checklist of what you’re looking for. This includes essentials that a candidate must have, such as a college degree. This way, if a candidate doesn’t meet this key criteria, you can quickly eliminate them and move on to the next candidate.

Look for red flags.

There are certain red flags that are common on resumes and can help you discern whether a candidate is a potential hiring mistake. These can include:

  • Large gaps in employment. A month or two isn’t a big deal. However, if a candidate has large, unexplainable gaps or even several smaller ones, you’ll want to approach them with caution. There could be a reasonable explanation, which they hopefully addressed in their cover letter. If they didn’t, though, it’s time to move onto another candidate.
  • A lot of job hopping. Another red flag that you don’t want to miss involves too many jobs. If it’s clear that a candidate only stayed with a number of jobs for a short period of time, it’s an indication they have a hard time committing. Just make sure these weren’t temporary or contract roles before putting the candidate in the “no” pile.
  • Typos and mistakes. One typo isn’t cause for cutting a candidate. However, if there are several, along with mistakes with grammar, the names of companies and other areas, this shows a lack of attention to detail. They will bring this weakness with them if they come to work for you.
  • Too much information. When a candidate goes into detail about their family, their political or religious affiliation, or other unnecessary personal information, then you can cut them from the list.
  • A stagnant career. If a candidate has a lot of good experience, except no upward trajectory, then it could be an indication they lack drive.

Check for specific information.

If a candidate uses words that are vague and generic – such as “familiar with” or “participated in” – or they don’t offer up specific examples of their career history and accomplishments, it could be a sign of poor past performance. Instead, look for resumes that are tailored around your unique position, as well as ones that highlight a candidate’s key strengths. The more relevant a resume is to your position, the more likely you should call that candidate for an interview.

Be wary of jargon and buzzwords.

The candidate who says they’re a “data-driven IT ninja” isn’t a serious one to consider. In general, avoid candidates with resumes filled with industry jargon and buzzwords. They’re often relying on them because they don’t have the skills, experience or track record to back up their claims.

Be flexible.

If a candidate offers a unique background, but doesn’t necessarily meet all the qualifications, you can still be flexible with how you approach decision making. Remember, you’re not hiring based on a resume, you want to get the full picture before you make a decision.

So, if a particular candidate doesn’t follow the traditional career path, but piques your interest, then conduct a phone screen or bring them in for an interview. You might find out they’re a great fit for reasons you didn’t even realize. 

Reading through resumes can be a big task. However, when you follow these tips, you can find the resumes that are the start of something great.

Need help with your own resume?

If you’re thinking making a career switch to another company and want help, our team is here for you. We offer resume writing services, along with cover letter writing, LinkedIn profile writing, and so much more. We can even help you with interview prep and career counseling, all so you can polish your professional image, so you put your best foot forward. Simply call 832.930.7378 or contact us online to get started.