Four Things Recruiters Don’t Want to See in a Resume

by guest author, Emma Carter

Recruiters who review countless resumes can identify various red flags in these documents. However, if you can’t determine which are the bad ones, you may end up hiring the wrong candidate.  

You need to determine which resume errors to ignore and which will make you look for another candidate.

If you see these red flags in a resume, move on to the next one.     

Weak formatting

Bad formatting can be a significant sign of a candidate’s unsuitability for the position, especially if it involves written communications with clients. Examples of weak formatting include tiny fonts or too many bullet points. Resume sections such as “Objective” or “Reference” are also obsolete. You shouldn’t also see the following sections anymore:

  • Hobbies
  • Old or unrelated work experience
  • Political or religious association 

Many job seekers fail to consider the flow of their Resume content. The information should be presented in chronological order. The candidate should also highlight the sections that make them a suitable fit for the job they’re applying for. 

You can overlook grammatical errors if the candidate is more than qualified in other areas, such as technical skills and required experience. You can also hire them if they show great potential for the position. 

Generic or undecipherable

Many candidates use the same resume regardless of the position they are applying for. You can consider this a form of spamming since they haven’t read your job description. It’s also risky to hire a candidate with questionable qualities and skills.

The candidate may wish to impress you by using unusual vocabulary or big words. However, this may indicate that they are using fancy words to hide their lack of confidence. 

The resume’s content must appear clean and focused. If it’s undecipherable, proceed to the next one.

Fortunately, you can guide the candidates to the kind of resume you want. According to local SEO for recruitment websites best practices when posting a job listing, ask all the questions that you want the candidate to answer. When posting the job listing, you need to ensure that the right people can easily find them.

Overconfidence or lack of interest

An overconfident candidate can be a big red flag for recruiters. For instance, saying that they will be a great addition to the team is a bit presumptuous. That’s for the employer to decide. 

How do you gauge a candidate’s interest in the position? You can verify this by providing them with a short questionnaire. Their answers will clearly show their interest in the job.     

 Overuse of clichés

You can’t accurately gauge a candidate’s particular qualifications and qualities by their use of clichés, such as “I’m hardworking.” If the role requires specific skills or relevant experience, the candidate should include it in the resume. 

Now, you’re impressed with the candidate’s abilities and skills. However, you noticed that the person has had several jobs over a span of a few months. What’s the reason for the frequent changes? Was it resignation or termination? Either answer may indicate that they won’t stay long in the company. If you’re looking for a long-term employee, this kind of candidate won’t do.   

The role of local SEO in your recruitment effort

As a recruiter, you need to create a job listing that will entice the highest number of qualified candidates. Local Search Engine Optimization can help your job posting stand out from the rest. Make a personalized offer to your target candidates. According to Forbes, people, particularly millennials, are even willing to settle for lower salaries for their dream job.  

Make sure you write a persuasive message to attract the right people to the position. You should also ask the right questions. For instance, you can ask about their motivation for applying for the job. 

Since you’re reaching out to various types of candidates, it’s better to segregate them based on various categories, such as:

  • Specialization
  • Skills and experience
  • Interest

Remember, the requirements you require from a secretary are not similar to sales staff. You also need to create and provide different messages to the jobseekers in every phase of your recruitment process.


You can reasonably gauge a candidate’s abilities and attitude based on the resume they submit. It’s a reflection of their personality and attitude to your job offer. A well-presented and organized resume is an indication that the candidate is serious about working for your organization. However, if the job seeker submits a generic resume or one filled with obvious errors, they are likely the wrong person for the job. 

Your job posting’s content can also boost your chances of attracting your target candidates. The job description should be clear and concise. Make sure to indicate plainly the experience and skills you require from the candidate.       

Need more job search advice?

Join Our DiscussionDoes your linkedin profile need a makeover

For more insights and a community of like-minded professionals join our LinkedIn group Resume Help and Advice for Professionals and Executives


Leave a Comment