Much of this information is excerpted from ADP Screening &
Selection Services, Inc.- the company we use to do our criminal and driving
The checklist below will help you keep in mind what to look
for when reviewing resumes and employment applications. This list will highlight
areas that might be a good reason to outright reject the applicant or might
indicate that you need to get more information either during reference checking
or during an interview with the applicant.
Appearance and organization of resume – Watch for
resumes that make little or no reference to prior employers and length of
employment, sloppy resumes, and resumes without cover letters. A preferred
resume contains the applicant’s employment in reverse chronological order.
Cover letter – All resumes should be accompanied by a
cover letter. It should introduce the applicant, state the position for which he
or she is applying, and mention some highlights of his or her background
relative to the position for which the resume was submitted.
Spelling & Grammar – Check for errors in spelling and
grammar because this shows sloppiness, carelessness, and an inattention to
detail. If someone knows they aren’t great spellers or knowledgeable about
proper grammar, they should enlist a friend or family member to review the
resume for spelling and grammar.
Experience – Does the resume show the experience that
fits the company’s needs? An applicant with previous experience with the same or
similar job duties will need less training than an applicant without experience.
Education – Does the applicant have too much
education for the position? Will they be looking for a better job very soon?
When education is a requirement, make sure you check the applicant’s level of
education. Words to watch out for are "studied" or "took courses" or "attended"
because these words might signal that they did not graduate.
Transferable Skills – If an applicant lacks
experience in the specific job they applied for, they might have skills that
would transfer between jobs. For instance, if they were in customer service at a
store, they could easily be a great guest service (front desk) attendant.
Abilities that can’t be trained – In some positions,
no amount of training can replace a natural ability or quality such as people
skills. However, be careful not to use these types of ability as your sole basis
Gaps in employment – Employment gaps are not always
bad, they could be a result of a layoff or family issues but they could also
signal a prison term or a job that the applicant doesn’t want you to ask about.
Get the gaps filled in during a phone or in-person interview.
Jobs held for less than 2 years – It might be common
in some lines of work to hold jobs for less than two years but a pattern of many
jobs lasting less than two years might also signal a record or poor performance,
instability, or unreliability.
Frequent changes in career paths – Has the applicant
changed career paths often? This also can indicate instability and an inability
to make decisions and stick with them.
Descriptions of positions – Did the applicant list
duties rather than responsibilities? Be aware of the difference between what the
applicant actually did versus what they were supposed to do.
Organizational vs. Personal Accomplishments – It is
important to find out how the applicant contributed to the accomplishments of
Progression UP or ACROSS the career ladder – It might
indicate a problem employee if they have many jobs within one organization but
the moves don’t indicate advancement.
Career stepping stones – Is the applicant interested
in this position or is it a stepping stone to another position?