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5 Things Recruiters Need to Know About Reviewing Candidate Work History

Updated: Jun 28, 2018

Managers often make hiring decisions without consideration of a candidates work history, so recruiters should ensure that the candidate is the right hire by completing a work history review.


“The most important thing that we need to do as part of the red flag identification process is to ask drill down questions.”

There are 5 things that we should consider when reviewing work history, reasons candidates left previous employers, variances in resume and application dates, poor tenure in previous positions, gaps in employment, and significant changes in industry or field.



1. Reason for Leaving

  • Similar Reasons for leaving each previous employer

  • Negative or Vague reasons for leaving each employer

  • Example: No Opportunity for growth after short tenure, new management, poor work environment

2. Variances in Resume & Application Dates

  • Pay close attention to the dates listed on the resume and in the application.

  • Confirm the dates during the interview to make sure that they match

3. Poor Tenure

  • Identify any positions that the candidate was in for less then 1 year.

  • Remember past behaviors can predict future behaviors.

  • Example: 3 months at a Call Center, 4 months at Fast Food, 6 months at Restaurant (Excluding situations that are outside of the candidates control: such as business closures, layoffs, etc)

4. Gaps in employment

  • Ask drill down questions to acquire a clearer understanding of the candidates story.

5. Significant Industry changes

  • Build a strong understanding of the reason behind the transition.

  • Share a realistic preview of what day to day life is like in the position you are recruiting for and ask them how their skills are applicable.


The most important thing that we need to do as part of the red flag identification process is to ask drill down questions. When we use drill down questions we are able to easily determine how to balance the red flag with the positive components to make an educated hiring decision.


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