Over at AAM today, there's a delightful post aggregating the 30 best responses to a recent call for "the strangest things you've ever seen on a resume." There are some exceptionally good nuggets, my favorite being the young woman with a "Bachelorette Degree."
So, first, I urge you to pop over and enjoy that post, it's great.
But I'm going to do what I do best: be a curmudgeon about the things that hiring managers consider to be dealbreakers. Now, there are a lot of folks on that list that I would totally not interview or hire (who links to erotica they wrote on their resume? Who applies as a couple to a job?!), but there are several on here that I think should have gotten a ring from the hiring manager.
Throughout, I'll be mentioning things like "... if otherwise they'd have gotten an interview." That's important. I'm not saying that any of these things are indications, themselves, that the candidate is well qualified or whatever, but that if this was the only reason you didn't call them, I think you played yourself.
#2, The One Who Met Lenny Kravitz: Was including a full-page pic of him and the eponymous rock star a great idea? No, it was not. But if he were otherwise well-qualified, he should have gotten a call. It's pretty easy, as a manager, to set up the expectation that you don't send pictures of yourself with famous musicians to clients or customers. Unless you know them really well. It's a goof, and it made them laugh, this is not evidence of a complete inability to follow professional norms. It's evidence that he's a funny guy with (imo) decent taste in music.
#5, The One Who Used Hearts: Funny? Yes. Maybe slightly weird? Yes. You could do worse to have this person on your team tho. Really, rejecting someone because they didn't fill in the bubble quite as you would have expected seems harsh. They're just girly. It's fine.
#6, The One Who Speaks Pirate: This person did get an interview, and an offer, which made me happy. But OP is worried that they reinforced his decision, which is an easy thing to fix. Just make it clear in the offer email: "As a side note, I get that you're trying to be funny with the Pirate thing, but it almost cost you the interview. You're being hired in spite of it, not because of it." Problem solved.
#10, The One Who Mooches From Grandpa: TBH, I'm pretty forgiving of people who upload the wrong doc by accident. It happens (I've done it), and most of the time, if it happens on the job, it's fine. Sure, reject him if this is one of those 100% attention to detail jobs, where uploading the wrong doc might have devastating consequences. Otherwise, just email him and flag that he attached the wrong one, and let him send his real application so you can actually see what his qualifications are.
#15 (multiple): Emojis are borderline. I would not reject someone wholly because they used one smiley face, but I don't necessarily begrudge you if you do. Karate section is also borderline; if they're new to the workforce and just don't have much experience, they were probably just trying to beef up their thin resume with what they thought showed focus and dedication, and maybe leadership. Of course, it might still not be up to snuff to get the job, but i would evaluate it charitably in that light.
#17, The World's Best Grandson: OP made the right call. This is a hilarious guy and I would 100% want him working in my call center. He'd probably single-handedly bring up morale.
#20, The Guy With The Defined Beard: OP made the wrong call. Is it a slightly strange thing to include? Sure. But it's not wild, it's not inappropriate. OP should have interviewed him, with an eye toward catching other weird flags. This shouldn't have been a disqualifying thing for a qualified applicant!
#21, The Mom Who Loves Her Loves: Ooof, this one is borderline, but if they were otherwise qualified, I would probably give them the interview. It ultimately comes down to "this person hasn't read yet that it's bad to list being a home maker as a job" which isn't egregious to me. They probably were just trying to scrape together a resume. I suspect that, if they put that "job" on there, they probably weren't well-qualified otherwise, but on the off-chance they were, I'd give a call.
#22, The Not Bisexual: Another suuuuuper borderline one for me. The bar would be high, but I could conceive of giving this person an interview, even though they did one of my basically-dealbreakers (talking about sex stuff on your application), just because I thought it was a funny goof. Idk. I won't defend myself here.
#25, The Budget Maker: This one strikes me as someone who is really unfamiliar with norms around hiring, who has been given absolutely no guidance on it in their life. They probably thought they were supposed to be able to back up the number they gave, and it's hard for me to make too much fun of that. It's rough. It would be a kindness to reply "Thanks for this! Just fyi for the future, you just need to give a number or range for salary requirements; you don't have to justify yourself to me with anything other than the market value for your skills." But it is admittedly hard to imagine that this person is otherwise well-qualified.
#27, The Headshot and Eye Doctor Invoicer: The headshot is borderline (it seems like it's becoming more popular to use pics on your resume, and I know of well-qualified people that do, so I tend to be fine with it), but the invoice is obviously just a mistake on the applicant's part. See #10 above.
#28, The Wedding Resume-er: This is another style over substance thing. It's all very weird and a bit much, but none of it says anything either way about whether she has the skills or attributes needed for the job. The reply card thing (which I think is the "joke" being referenced?) seems fine; those are three reasonable approaches to any applicant. It's all very cutesy but does not rise to being, itself, a dealbreaker.
#29, The Super Cool Action Hero: I would definitely interview this person; they are obviously cool. And also, see #27.
So, I don't know what it says about me that when AAM posts 30 of the most ridiculous things people have seen on resumes, I consider a full 13 of them, almost half, to be not-deal-breakers, but here we are, and I stand by all of it.