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Danger signs that could turn hiring managers off candidates

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

The biggest “red flags” that will swing a hiring manager’s opinion were revealed in recent research. Understanding what is driving recruitment decisions can help candidates prepare accordingly.

The biggest turn-off for recruiters was signs of job hopping, with 29 per cent agreeing that is a concern when screening candidates, according to research from Robert Half. Following that were unrealistic salary requests, which 27 per cent agreed was a red flag, and not holding required qualifications at 26 per cent.

“Today’s Australian business landscape requires savvy hiring decisions. In this era of scrutinised cost management, every employment choice is a critical investment,” explained Robert Half director Nicole Gorton.


“Employers are strategically seeking top-notch talent, recognising that their selections must add tangible value. In this meticulous selection process, red flags in a candidate’s suitability are detectable. Spotting those warning signals in a candidate’s profile is a skill that discerning employers continue to refine.”

The other issues of concern, according to employers, were:

  • Requesting to work from home most of the time (23 per cent).
  • Listing vague job descriptions (22 per cent).
  • Inconsistencies with LinkedIn or other online profiles (20 per cent).
  • Résumé incorrectly formatted or too long (19 per cent).
  • Unexplained employment gaps (19 per cent).
  • Including irrelevant buzzwords (16 per cent).
  • Not tailoring the job application material to the role (16 per cent).

Understanding what trends are influencing hiring managers is an important asset for a jobseeker. Candidates can leverage these themes to help craft the perfect approach to applying for a position.

On the other end of the spectrum are the “green flags”, which Robert Half said employers are looking for in a candidate. The top three were:

1. Do your market research

Robert Half said: “Enter a salary negotiation as informed as possible ... Pay particular attention to the ‘hottest jobs’ and ‘in-demand skills’ … as candidates who hold these skills are more likely to enter salary negotiation.”

2. Consider the bigger picture

“Before deciding to move jobs purely for more money, think about how your current role could help your career progression and skills development. Are you learning new and transferrable skills that can be used in the future? Are you learning leadership skills and how to empathetically manage a team? Understand how your current responsibilities could be helping you long term and see if this is something you would like to build on,” commented Robert Half.

3. Ensure your job search materials are accurate

“The résumé provided to a potential employer needs to accurately represent you and your skill set. Make sure spelling, dates of employment and responsibilities are precisely documented on your résumé and your LinkedIn profile. This gives hiring managers a clear-cut overview of your experience, which is used to assess your suitability for the role you applied for,” Robert Half concluded.



The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.

Danger signs that could turn hiring managers off candidates
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Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.

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