In a perfect world, you could interview an IT candidate and the person would be forthcoming and say, Ive had trouble working for my past two managers, I rarely meet deadlines and only want to work at your company until a better job comes along. Youd know immediately that you shouldnt hire the individual. However, the reality is that it usually requires careful evaluation to uncover the warning signs.
As you screen resumes and meet with applicants, watch for the following yellow and red flags, indicating caution and stop, respectively:
Yellow: The individual has short tenures at jobs listed on the resume.
This may suggest the person is a job hopper; someone whos always looking for the next big opportunity and has no commitment to a particular employer or job. While you want to take note of the brief time at different companies, dont rule out applicants too quickly. Making a phone call may provide you with reasons for short tenures beyond the candidates control, such as layoffs or employers going out of business. Its worth double checking so you dont eliminate an otherwise qualified contender.
Yellow: The applicant uses vague wording in his or her resume.
Watch for phrases such as familiar with and participated in. Ambiguous language often is used to disguise minimal experience or knowledge in a particular area. Someone who is familiar with
Yellow: The individual has difficulty elaborating on key points.
You ask for a description of how the person used a particular technology on the job and get a brief answer in return. When you press for further details, you receive minimal information. In these situations, the candidate may be hiding something like a lack of significant experience with that technology, or, they may just be nervous. Look for a pattern in how the applicant responds. If the person seems like a promising contender, you might ask references for their insights into any responses that caused you concern.
Red: The resume is full of typos and mis-spellings.
This should be a deal-breaker. If people take a couldn't care less attitude with a resume, imagine what they would be like on the job. No CIO would want an employee writing code or managing a network who lacks attention to detail.
Red: The candidate shares more about personal interests than professional ones.
If the applicant includes a personal interests section on the resume that has more detail than the work history portion, this can be a strong indicator that career isnt a top priority. The same is true during interviews. You want employees who are well rounded, but you shouldnt conclude the meeting knowing more about a candidates love of world travel than you do about his or her professional goals.