When hiring for a new position, it is imperative to be on the lookout for red flags that can appear in a candidate’s application. Identifying these early can save you time while hiring by avoiding those who might be a bad fit for the position.
Here, I discuss the red flags I’ve noted that have been associated with a poorly qualified job applicant.
Spelling and grammar
A résumé that demonstrates any deficiency in this area should be avoided. Optometric practices spend a significant amount of time communicating daily to their patients, often in text or email. If a candidate cannot use correct spelling and/or grammar in the résumé, it is almost guaranteed they will not do so in your office correspondence.
Short tenure at previous jobs
Most practices are looking for an employee who will stay long-term. A résumé that shows short spans of time in previous positions (which I define as less than a year) can be a red flag for a job hopper who will likely leave your office quickly as well. In some circumstances, short employment timeframes can be explained in an interview, but if it seems like a pattern, it most likely is one.
Staff in an optometric practice must take pride in their jobs for everyone to succeed. When a résumé has outdated information, such as old contact info (phone number, address, email), no current job history, or job details that have not been updated (like stating “present” on a job where they no longer work), it sends a message that the applicant does not care. If he or she cannot take the time to invest in their own résumé, how will they invest in your practice?
“Too good to be true” claims
When it comes to résumés, the adage “If it seems too good to be true, it usually is,” almost always rings true. A candidate who has fluffed their résumé will typically give themselves too much credit or claim to know more than what makes sense for their listed position.
For example, I recently reviewed a résumé that showed the applicant worked as an “optometric technician,” the specific position for which I was looking. However, when describing her job duties, she provided vague phrases, such as “thoroughly exam patients” as opposed to offering specifics on using related technology. This indicated this section may have been exaggerated.
A thorough résumé should account for the entire employment timeline of a potential hire and should not demonstrate any unexplained time gaps. Missing information on a résumé may be easily explained if the candidate was using that time productively (such as raising a family, caring for a loved one, or in school). However, it can also be a way for an applicant to avoid disclosing concerning patterns such as job hopping. If you encounter missing information but still wish to pursue a candidate, make sure to inquire about that period during the interview.
First impressions matter
Résumés are the first step in deciding whether a candidate could be a good fit for your office. While they do provide beneficial insight into a potential employee’s qualifications and background, the most useful information can often stem from picking up on the above red flags. When a lack of attention to detail is noticed or questions about an applicant’s dependability or honesty arise, I recommend eliminating those résumés immediately. Doing so will help avoid hiring a problematic employee in the future. OM