At it's most basic level, your resume presents employers with a simple yes or no decision: Should they call you in for an interview, or not? Is your resume worthy of the next round, or do you lack lack the credentials and skills you need to compete with the other contenders in the applicant pool?
But more often than not, reading your resume will spawn plenty of more complicated—and possibly deal-breaking—questions about your candidacy. Here are the twelve most common questions that may arise as a hiring manager reviews your resume:
1. "Can you explain your resume gap?"
Stay positive and don't apologize. Whatever you did during this period, you did it for a reason. Stand behind your reasons.
2. "Can you clarify a resume claim that seems exaggerated?"
If you really did exaggerate or overstate a claim, don't dig a deeper hole for yourself. Come clean and explain what you actually did, resolved, or accomplished.
3. "Can you clarify a claim that seems unclear?"
Did you complete this remarkable accomplishment by yourself or with a team? Did you complete it within a few days or a few years?
4. "Can you accept a salary at the lowest end of your expectations?"
Answer honestly but don't sell yourself short.
5. "Do you have a reliable form of transportation to get to our office everyday?"
Before you say yes, think about the cost of transportation and determine how badly you want this job.
6. "Can you move or accept a job that appears to be outside of your commuting distance?"
No need to sugarcoat your answer—if you're not interested in moving or commuting long hours, speak up.
7. "Do you or do you not hold a crucial certification that isn't addressed in your resume?"
An impatient hiring manager might not even contact you to find out. If the job ad specifically asks for a certification, your resume and/or cover letter should mention it clearly.
8. "Can you accept the position and commit to the job for at least X number of years?"
Hiring managers generally want someone who can fit in long-term. You might not have an answer until you learn more about the company, but know that employers often want permanent solutions.
9. "Are you comfortable with the most ethically/morally questionable aspect of the job?"
Prepare to hear this aspect described in indirect terms. Read between the lines.
10. "Are you willing to travel all the time?"
This may be offered as a percentage of your total time on the job, as in 30 percent or 80 percent.
11. "Can you provide more detail about your educational credentials, such as a GPA?"
For simple space-saving reasons, you might have left some info off your resume. If the employer wants to know more about your background, be prepared to offer it—and back it up.
12. "Have you or have you not had any experience with a specific task, role, software system, or skill set that you'll need on a regular basis if you step into this position?"
Your resume and cover letter should be tailored so hiring managers don't even need to ask this question. But if not, you certainly need to be able to answer it quickly in a phone or in-person interview.
A Strong Resume Can Get You Over the First Hurdle
As you prepare to answer initial screening questions like these, keep in mind that a strong, clear, relevant, and well-formatted resume can help managers reach a decision (and help you find a job!) by answering most of these questions upfront. Visit LiveCareer and use the site's Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder to make the hiring process easier on both sides of the table.