Candidates’ Resumes – What’s True and What’s Not

Reviewing a resume to find the perfect candidate can take countless hours.  I recall, when I first began my career in recruiting, funneling through a 5-page resume, thinking “WOW, what a great resume full of information.” I was amazed at how skilled and perfect one person could apparently be.

Eventually, I realized that sometimes people like to add too much information on areas they never or hardly ever worked on. Slowly but surely, I learned the art of being able to read through a resume and ask the right questions to identify what is truly important and hence qualify the candidate.

Common areas which candidate misinform about are skill sets, employment history, education, and salary. Identifying what is actual is easier than you think.

The description says it all – Make sure the candidate lists what skillset they realistically used within the body content of each role on their resume.  It is extremely important for the candidate when writing a resume, to define their skills when listing their accomplishments and role within the function of their job at their prior or current employment.  Ultimately, if selected for an interview with a prospective employer, the candidate will have to be able to speak knowledgeably about the information, which they have placed on their resume.  It is better to ask the candidate the right questions from the beginning and have it represented honestly on their resume, instead of having the hiring manager client disappointed during the interview process.

Screen the social profile – When reading through a resume, it is useful to cross check the candidate’s employment history and education qualifications alongside their social profile.

LinkedIn is a very useful tool.  I have come across some candidate’s prior consulting jobs and found these companies to be the candidate’s own LLC, a company without any other employees or other clients that they’ve worked with.  You can also verify their university affiliations and how well connected they are with their college alumni.

Do the initial research – Before getting in a conversation with a candidate, it is wise to do an initial research about their functional skills, industry, tools, college, and location. This will help you to ask the right set of questions during screening and avoid being confused by the candidate.

Ask the right questions – The key investigative tip in reading and identifying a truthful candidate is to speak with them about their resume.  Have them sell you on why they are a fit and how they have used their skills.  Go over each role on the resume.  Make sure the resume not only sells the candidate but, is a great match for the new role.  The resume is the first introduction to the hiring manager client so it needs to be perfect. There are many times I will call a candidate who looks good on paper yet they cannot speak intelligently about what they actually do. You should ask questions related to on Job application of the skills they mentioned.

  • Getting to know what a typical day at work looks like
  • Their college life and key takeaways, in case you have screened someone before from the same institution that information can come in handy to ask questions or validate what they mention
  • If you are calling for a specific role you are trying to fill, ask them to tell you how they are a fit for that role
  • Employment gaps if any
  • Location they live in and will they commute

Direct questions might offend the candidate, frame the questions in a way that they have to divulge the information required. Keep a friendly tone and connect with them initially.

The markets being so competitive and employer’s being more demanding, candidates are taking desperate measures and at times embellishing their skillset and as a result, they are not being completely truthful on their resume.

By putting the effort into being careful and diligent from the very beginning, you will know when you have the right candidate.  Resume should be the honest representation of the candidate. So it mission critical that you be an expert in this initial step of recruitment and know what is true and what is not.

Just recruitment won’t work, get the right candidates by doing these

The more I think of a recruiter’s job the more I know it is more than just identifying, sourcing and submitting resumes. As a conduit between the candidate, client, and company, a successful recruiter needs to sharpen a few skills and remember the many balls they need to juggle. In this war of getting the right talent, using a traditional approach is no longer a solution.

Roles an ace recruiter plays  


Data analysis is our new best friend and recruiters need to leverage it to make informed business decisions. Benefit by putting to work a measurement model to enable benchmarking of performance against standard metrics. A top recruiter reviews the data available to them, learns from it, compares & analyzes results over time, and makes data-driven decisions to improve their performance.

Brand ambassador

Because a recruiter leads the initial interaction with the candidate, it’s imperative they deliver a strong first impression of the company. Recruiters must constantly be selling and marketing. It’s their job to communicate exactly why the company is the best option for the candidate. Their verbal ad or written communication must provide the required perception of the company to the candidate.


As quoted by Thomas Edison, “There’s a way to do it better find it”. In our business arena where the same candidate is normally approached by a number of recruiters, embracing contemporary and innovative hiring methods will help you to stand out. Statuary warning – just don’t go overboard!

Subject matter expert

It’s vital for a recruiter to have the background or develop subject-matter expertise in the field they recruit for. This empowers them to have a better understanding of the role, organization expectation, candidate’s profile, easier connect and effective pre-screening. A constant sharpened expertise of a recruiter acts as a catalyst for an effective hiring strategy.

Quality assurance rep

Recruiters build trust with their clients with every candidate presented. The more perfect the candidates, the less work for the client. Once recruiters start to compromise on quality or take short cuts, they lose credibility. It’s imperative that recruiters proactively build candidate pipelines for their clients and are consistent in the quality of candidates they present.


Recruiters need to be able to flex their approach and be agile in their selection, assessment, and screening processes. Maintaining a rich talent pipeline is really important; one that offers a range of potential candidates across relevant skill sets, job levels, and geographies so roles can be filled quickly without compromising quality or cultural fit.

It is easier said than done, with time, dedication, and training one can create an ace recruitment skills and team. My experience and observation tell me these and I am sure many of you could have encountered more, share in your comments below any other.

113 thoughts on “Candidates’ Resumes – What’s True and What’s Not

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