Reasons for Immediate Disqualification

Yes. Yes. No. No. Maybe. Maybe. Yes. Yes. Yes. So, which ones make it to the next round?

Would you like to know the number one reason why candidates get disqualified in the screening process? Oh you think you know it all right? You have a 100% batting average. Send out 1 resume, you get 1 call, 1 offer and a corner office right? Wrong. It never works that way for anyone. So I had a friend who was having a really hard time getting an interview. Keep in mind this was years and years ago. So I took a look at the resume and it was just awful. I smiled and said there was definitely some room for improvement, and we could probably consolidate the 4 pages into 1. So why did my friend get disqualified? Well believe it or not, he was cut in the first round due to a couple of big mistakes. 1 page should sell you nicely. 2 pages and you are some kind of nerd. Dude, I have been working since the 80’s and “I” have 1 page. So can you. He was trying to get a job by listing every single piece of information about himself. He changed tense. He wrote in first person and third person, in the same sentence. He spelled manager as manger. Boom. Next. I redid his resume and amazingly he actually got an interview. He later relayed that his original 4 page resume was attached to the new one in the HR manager’s office. He was ashamed and confessed to the HR manager he got professional help on his resume. He got an interview an eventually got an offer. His honestly is what won them over.



Everyone lies. Don’t do it on your resume or cover letter. If/when you get caught you WILL get terminated. In my profession I have been so lucky to get to do ALL the HR legwork in hiring candidates. Yes, that means background and educational credential checks. I can’t begin to tell you how easy it is to find out information on someone when you have a resume in hand. Lying about your degree is probably up there as far as lies, other than titles, and falsification of duties/responsibilities. If you are a general manager and had to do all kinds of shitty jobs, you don’t list each of those titles as jobs. HR managers know what a general manager does. Remember, it is HR that writes all those job descriptions, does the performance evaluation and promotes from within the company. They know a lot of stuff. We know that bigger titles sometimes mean smaller salaries. We know that non-profit employees get screwed. Don’t give false salaries that you cannot back up. I had an employer who wanted proof that I made my prior salary. I showed him my W-2 form and he shut up.


When you leave a company there are a few things that HR CAN and will tell the new employer. The call will goes something like this: “Hey, this is Aaron over in HR at store 1111___, doing an employment check on ______.” (If it is internal from one store to another, it might go like this). RESPONSE: “Dates of employment are ___ to ____. Starting title and salary was $____ final salary and ending title was $_____, no performance issues, no attendance issues, is rehirable.” Very standard phone call, and I can say that is exactly how I answered those calls for prior employees. If I didn’t have all the information, I might say “I can’t disclose that information but I can verify what you have is correct or invalid. What dates and titles do you have?” Of course, I could always get classified information out of the other HR person, after all we played on the same team. So I might say something like, “Say, _____ is a final top 3 and we really like him. Is there anything you might say off the record so we don’t make a bad hiring decision? I’d hate to be negligent in my questioning and saved us a mistake.” Surprise, sometimes that person you are taking to might be a best friend of that candidate, and we know they will say anything for a BFF. Like accidentally saying that person has a _____ problem. Oops. Yes, it happens. Bottom line, don’t lie. You have plenty of awesome, marketable, sellable mad skills. Start by using them as you create your achievement statements.


On a side note: If you are participating in this job search series, please stop sending out ANY resumes and cover letters until the new one has been created. You only have so many target jobs you can impress and you want to do it with your best foot forward. You have this weekend to finish parts 1 & 2. You will need to define your dream job, as you should be tailoring your skills to the job you want and have the skills THEY want.

I am human and make mistakes. Your resume should not have a single mistake. An extra space, a period or comma missing will be your doom. And on a positive note, I was out in public yesterday, mask free! It was so liberating to laugh and smile in public once again.