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Look Past Traditional Red Flags

By March 26, 2014 No Comments

red flagsIt’s always been the case that certain aspects of a candidate’s resume give off warning signs.  Stretches of time unaccounted for, seemingly sparse skill sets, a work history that appears to be all over the map – these situations have often been the kiss of death for job seekers.

But maybe they shouldn’t be.  According to a recent Kelly Services survey, as many as 61 percent of employers are struggling to hire staff so far this year.  This could point to a talent shortage, but it’s just as likely that companies are on a “purple squirrel hunt” – which is to say that they have unrealistic expectations for their ideal candidate.  And rather than securing a perfectly capable recruit to then teach and develop, they’ve shot themselves in the proverbial foot and not hired anyone at all.

A number of factors have rendered job seekers unattractive in the past, not the least of which is current unemployment.  Yet with 25 million unemployed or underemployed workers in the U.S., there is quite the (immediately available) talent pool to draw from.  It may, then, be time to set aside outdated notions about resume red flags to look at what these candidates have to offer.

Unemployment in itself shouldn’t be a disqualifier, since candidates should be assessed based on their capabilities.  It could be time to table these traditional red flags, as well:

  • Being overqualified
  • Little to no industry experience
  • Job hopping
  • A lack of the desired skills

For a host of reasons, these undesirables can be overlooked.  If the candidate appears overqualified, he may intentionally be pursuing positions with less responsibility than he’s previously had.  Little or no experience in the field, or with the appropriate tools or methodologies, is no indicator that the candidate can’t be taught – or that he won’t learn very quickly.  It used to be common for employees to spend decades with a single company; not so anymore.  As a result of market instability, shorter tenures are becoming the norm.

It’s time companies broaden their horizons.  Great talent often goes untapped unnecessarily.