How To Explain Bumps On Your Resume

Recently, one of our candidates was selected for a management position. Everything was set in motion – references were checked, drug and background screenings were completed, and the offer was accepted. And then there was a phone call. The HR Director was concerned. As she compiled the new hire paperwork, she reviewed this gentleman’s background one more time only to realize there were some not-so-obvious inconsistencies on his resume that told a very different story from his background check. It was a Thursday afternoon, and the new manager was scheduled to begin his first day that following Monday.



Panicked, the HR Director immediately arranged a conference call with the gentleman to get some swift answers. After being unemployed for the past year, the candidate was excited to start his new role, and felt blindsided by the sudden interrogation just four days before it became official. Despite his nerves, he willingly accepted the call to clear the air. The HR director was pleased that the candidate took responsibility and maintained a positive attitude throughout the meeting. By the end of their conversation, the employer’s fears were alleviated and the candidate’s new position was safe. Unfortunately, this type of situation isn’t uncommon in the employment world – you could be next.



Check your background. Find out what your records say about you before getting in the hot seat. By understanding what employers will inevitably see, you’ll be better prepared to explain it in a way that makes sense and deal with the fallback. See our past blog: How To Check Your Background Before An Interview.

Be upfront about your past. If you made a mistake in your 20s, you should be the one to tell the hiring manager, rather than have them find out in the results of your background check. Accept responsibility for your actions and ensure the employer that you’ve learned from it and it won’t happen again. After all, you’re human.

Maintain professional composure. While it’s always better if you’re the bearer of bad news, if they beat you to the punch, try to remain calm. Understand that the hiring manager isn’t an enemy making an attack on your character, but a potential business partner who is looking to build an honest relationship.

Understand where they’re coming from. Keep in mind, not only is your past being questioned, but how you handle it as well. Employers often operate based on the understanding that “your past behaviors dictate your future responses.” Many candidates, when confronted with a tough question, take it personally and respond with a defensive tone. It’s your job to break free from that stereotype and present an evolved, mature version of your past self.

Employers are taking precautionary measures to be certain that they invest wisely in their human capital. If they see a potential threat – someone who could damage their company culture or morale – employers will revoke a person’s candidacy, no matter what stage of the hiring process he’s in.

More From Jean Filipiak & Career Reform on: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Are you looking for interview skills that’ll take you to the offer stage, despite any inconsistencies in your past? We’re hosting a FREE webinar – Become A Job Search King on Tuesday, July 22 at 12 p.m. ET. Join us during your lunch hour and learn the intent behind each question an employer asks and how to tackle them effectively.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed