How to Interpret Resume Gaps

Since March of last year, hundreds of thousands of people have been laid off. This means that there will be bigger professional gaps in resumes. How can you quantify time that is not specified on a resume? How do you know what someone did for potentially the last 11 months?

The most important thing when reading resumes is to not discount any person with a sizeable gap or is currently unemployed. Having a gap during a worldwide crisis should not be the reason you don’t hire a person.


Here’s how you ask the questions that will help you identify a person’s core values even if they have a resume gap.


  • How have you been able to creatively spend time with family?
  • What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself since being in quarantine?
  • What skills have you needed to adapt to online schooling for your children?
  • What’s one way you’ve been able to improve your home (physically or metaphysically)?
  • What has been your biggest challenge staying home, and how did you overcome it?


  • Have you picked up any new hobbies in quarantine?
  • Have you been able to take your hobbies to the next level?
  • What new interests have you discovered?
  • Explain how your learning of a new hobby could tie into learning a new position.
  • How have you been challenged by learning a hobby over the last 11 months?
  • How has finding a new hobby affected the type of career you are looking for?
  • What are the top three skills you need in order to do your hobby successfully?

Side Gig

  • What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about running a business?
  • How do you market yourself to clients?
  • What’s a valuable piece of advice you would give yourself when you first started?
  • How have you been managing your time?
  • If you were to hire someone to work for you, what kind of person would you look for?
  • What are your future plans with the side gig?


  • Have you attended any classes or webinars over the last 11 months?
  • What was your favorite class about?
  • In what ways have you been able to use your new education?
  • How will your new skills affect how you will work in this position?
  • What skill would you say you have mastered over the quarantine period?
  • How have you used your skills in a day to day basis?
  • When if comes to learning a new skill, what are your strengths?
  • What was one of the hardest challenges you faced when learning something new?
  • What is the most valuable lesson or skill you have had to learn in quarantine?

A professional gap does not mean someone has not had any accomplishments. In fact, this is a great opportunity to get to know your candidates on a deeper level. A gap could have been a great season of growth and learning for a candidate. You want someone who has used the time effectively.

Effectively just means that they used the time and the cards they were dealt to the best of their abilities. A parent who had to stay home and teach children how to go to remote school has effectively used their time to learn and teach. An artist who took time to learn a new medium means that they used their time to expand their comfort zones.

It’s all in the way we as hiring managers are able to communicate and interpret the skills a person has gained during a break.