Human resources professionals face daily pressure to hire the right personnel, quickly and efficiently. They're also tasked with ensuring the new hires are qualified, meet job requirements, fit the personality profile and are adaptable enough to grow with the organization. After a while, a hiring manager may feel that they can see right through exaggerated resumes or lies during an interview. A background check will also offer more information to determine a worthy candidate. So, what happens when human resources notices something amiss with their candidate?
When HR notices red flags during the hiring process, what happens next?
Red Flags on a Resume
Applicants know that they're supposed to look perfect on a resume. Some will even attempt little white lies or embellishments just to get their foot in the door. If a human resources manager is looking closely, they may be able to identify red flags about these applicants:
- Spelling, grammar errors or "cut and paste" mistakes - While this may not necessarily stop an applicant from continuing in the hiring process, it could be a hard stop on a job that requires writing skills.
- Employment gaps - The applicant may have a great explanation for gaps in employment and should include a brief explanation in the cover letter.
- Career or Employment Shifts - The candidate may be guilty of changing jobs too often or starting over in a brand new career. These can be explained in a cover letter or during the interview.
- Lack of Resume Customization - If the applicant's resume isn't tailored for the job description, a hiring manager may wonder how much effort they will put into the job.
Red Flags during the Interview
Once a human resources professional meets a candidate, they'll get a better sense about who they are. Interview questions should be standardized so they are naturally non-discriminatory but also apply to the job description. Some red flags to note during the interview include:
- Unwillingness to explain gaps, shifts or inconsistencies in employment
- Lack of answers for missing information on their resume or application
- Lack of specific examples in their education, work history or factual support to what's listed in their resume
- Arriving late, unprepared or otherwise revealing little to no effort for the job interview
Gain Clarity Through Background Checks
At this point, the hiring manager may have already determined which candidates should continue through the hiring process. These red flags may take the applicant out of consideration or HR may choose to gain more clarity by obtaining background checks. Background checks can determine if the candidate is lying about employment, education or if there are criminal reasons for the the gaps in employment.
After HR obtains consent to run the background check, and then sees information that definitely precludes the candidate from being hired, they will then need to follow the pre-adverse action process for notifying the applicant. If the candidate has a criminal history, they may still be given a fair chance at being hired.
Adverse action procedures are specified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and allow the applicant time to dispute false or misleading information found on their background check. Before hiring managers can remove applicants from the running, the applicant should be able to give more information or dispute inaccurate information that may lead to a negative hiring decision. If the information is correct, the hiring manager will then send an adverse action notice telling the applicant that they are no longer being considered for the job.
An astute HR professional will notice red flags and remove an applicant from consideration. Background checks can help verify information on the remaining candidates. HR must still follow the correct procedures to ensure FCRA compliance and manage risk within the hiring process.