Spotting Red Flags in Engineering Resumes


Being able to quickly and reliably eliminate candidates from an applicant pool is an important recruiting skill that doesn’t get its due credit. But if you can read a resume and know – off the bat – the candidate is not right for the job, it saves you time, money, and creates a more reliable list of interviewees. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to spot the details you should be most concerned about, especially given the protracted, technical, jargon-heavy nature of most engineering resumes. Keep your eye out for these red flags:

Lack of Focus

If you read a resume and it’s not abundantly clear which position the candidate is applying for, it should give you pause. That likely means the candidate is sending out the same resume over and over without customizing it for each position. This tactic implies they are willing to take any offer, regardless of whether they have the qualifications for it, and will approach their responsibilities without any real enthusiasm.

Typos and Misspellings

Engineering is a precise discipline, and the field of engineering is one that is prestigious and lucrative. It is simply unacceptable for anyone who is serious about getting an engineering job to let dumb mistakes like typos go overlooked. They not only call the candidate’s professional capabilities into question, they also raise concerns about how seriously the candidate is taking their job search.

Gaps in Employment

The best engineering talent has no problem finding a job, and companies usually bend over backwards to retain them. Plus, engineers get better the more projects they work on. That is why a gap in employment should raise a red flag. It might not be an immediate cause for disqualification, particularly considering the state of the economy in recent years, but it is an issue that needs to be explored further in the interview.


The path from an entry-level engineering position to an executive/management position is fairly easy to identify. If a candidate is applying for a position for which they are clearly not qualified, it’s probably not worth your time trying to figure out why they consider themselves an under-appreciated engineering superstar. Rather than suggesting ambition, it suggests they are struggling to find a position they have a realistic chance of being hired for.

Even if you know all the red flags to look for, you can still easily find yourself interviewing people you have no intention of hiring. That’s why it’s so helpful to work with a recruiter. They have both a careful vetting process and professional experience with each candidate, giving them the most accurate portrait of a candidate’s actual on-the-job ability. If you want to shrink your candidate pool down to the best and only the best, work with Bayside Solutions.