Red Flags The HR Manager Will Look Out For During The Hiring Process

What Are The Red Flags The HR Manager Will Look Out For During The Hiring Process


The hiring process can be a critical experience for all parties involved, as each pays particular attention to their best interests. The HR manager is tasked with ensuring the best candidate gets the job, this is why the HR manager will look out for loopholes in the candidate\’s profile. Meanwhile, the job applicant may be looking for an elevation in role/compensation.

In the process, some candidates may feel the need to oversell their experience/accomplishments in order to get the job they want. Here, a seasoned HR manager will know to look for red flags – through the candidate’s words, body language, actions, or even using a background check – in order to confirm the authenticity of the candidate.


Here are 3 major red flags that hiring managers may look for during the entire hiring process.

1.     Inconsistencies in the resume

Every job candidate attempts to put their best foot forward with every job application. Hence, HR managers know to expect some amount of exaggeration in the resume. However, watch out for the red flags that indicate there is more than meets the eye. This can include:

  • Blatant disregard for grammar/ spelling

Unless the hiring position is for a language tutor or even a writing-based role, these may be considered a minor aberration. On the other hand, they may also be indicative of the candidate’s lackadaisical attitude. If you receive a poor-quality resume from candidates, then what work quality can you expect of them? This will become clearer during subsequent stages of the hiring process.

  • Frequent jumps in jobs/careers, possibly with unexplained gaps

Stability and consistency are important traits considered by HR managers. Hence, the ideal candidate will be able to provide a justifiable explanation for any perceived lack, in an enclosed covering letter.

  • Contrived wording in the resume

This can happen if the candidate blindly “copies” from another source, or gets it off a resume mill. Some candidates may also replicate a large portion of the job description in the resume, which may again indicate a lack of authenticity.

2.     Inconsistencies in the interview

Face-to-face meetings present a big opportunity for HR managers looking for red flags. This can include:

  • Shifty body language, such as constant twitching, inability to meet eye contact, appearing late or unfocused for the interview, wearing inappropriate clothing for the interview, etc.
  • Inability to back claims/accomplishments listed in the resume, with real-life examples or facts.
  • Inability to provide references to verify professional history.

3.      Inconsistencies from background checks

Despite the first 2 opportunities for spotting red flags, dubious candidates may still get away with lying, like hiding a potentially dangerous criminal past. These can be fished out by a formal background check. Red flags that are typically detected during this phase include:

  • Inconsistencies in personal details, including false/non-existent degrees or professional experience listed in the resume.
  • Criminal history/records.
  • Fraud detected in credit history.

But of course, US laws mandate that an employer gains specific consent from candidates, before screening them through a background check.

4.      A candidate is considered “unemployable” due to a red flag. What happens next?

First, the hiring manager notifies the candidate, in line with FCRA guidelines, using the pre-adverse action process. The candidate is allowed to respond to the notification. They may refuse it altogether, or provide updated information that changes the context.

Finally, the hiring manager may choose to hire/reject the candidate. Either way, the response is best managed as per FCRA guidelines in order to minimize risk.


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