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What to look for on a resume to help you hire the perfect candidate

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Hiring the right person for the job is one of the toughest decisions you can take in business. It’s particularly difficult right at the start when you are inundated with hundreds of resumes. How do you sift through all of those applicants without accidentally discarding one who could be the perfect fit for your company?

On average, it takes just six seconds to decide on an applicant based on their resume. If you want to be that quick and efficient, then here are our seven top tips on what to look for on a resume to help you hire the perfect candidate.

Presentation and spelling and grammar

If a candidate can’t be bothered to check their spelling on a resume for a job, you can discard them straight away. A resume can also be an insight into the candidate’s grammar too, which for some roles will need to be at least satisfactory. For example – if you are in graphic design, you wouldn’t want to employ someone who struggles with ordinary written language skills.


What qualifications do they have, and are they relevant? Look for related degrees, skills and an education that you know from experience are a good fit for the role.

Relevant experience

A lot of candidates will send off one resume for multiple jobs without thinking about whether it tailors with the advertisement. If a candidate has taken the time to list relevant experiences and linked them into how they can help your business, then you are onto a potential winner.

Measurable accomplishments

Look for actual evidence of what the candidate has achieved in previous roles. “Helped to grow the business” could mean they bought in 15 new customers in a year, five of whom were family members or it could mean doing a Steve Jobs and increasing revenue by $209 billion. You want measurable accomplishments to judge a prospective employee on.

Employment gaps

Are there any significant gaps in their employment and if so, why? There could be an innocent explanation like six months spent volunteering for a charity, in which case fantastic. Or they might have been in prison. Always be sure to find out why that gap exists.

Consistency between a resume and LinkedIn

Does their resume tally with their LinkedIn profile? There are over 467 million LinkedIn members so chances are your candidate is going to have a profile on the social media site. Any discrepancies between the two will highlight that they aren’t entirely truthful, either to you through their resume or to the wider world through the internet. Whichever the answer, be wary of someone who is bending the truth.

Professional references

Have they included references and if so, are they professional? If the prospective employee is willing to have you call the managing director of a business you know to be reputable for a reference, chances are they are going to be a trustworthy candidate. If they’ve included a high school teacher despite leaving school 20 years ago, that is far less likely.