What Recruiters Look At During The 6 Seconds They Spend On Your Resume Although we may never know why we didn't get chosen for a job interview, a recent study is shedding some light on recruiters' decision-making behavior. According to TheLadders research, recruiters spend an average of "six seconds before they make the initial 'fit or no fit' decision" on candidates. The study used a scientific technique called “eye tracking” on 30 professional recruiters and examined their eye movements during a 10-week period to "record and analyze where and how long someone focuses when digesting a piece of information or completing a task." In the short time that they spend with your resume, the study showed recruiters will look at your name, current title and company, current position start and end dates, previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education. The two resumes below include a heat map of recruiters' eye movements. The one on the right was looked at more thoroughly than the one of the left because of its clear and concise format: With such critical time constraints, you should make it easier for recruiters to find pertinent information by creating a resume with a clear visual hierarchy and don't include distracting visuals since "such visual elements reduced recruiters’ analytical capability and hampered decision-making" and kept them from "locating the most relevant information, like skills and experience." The main difference between the left and right CVs, even if having the same content, is that the right one has the right form--breaking down the information into segments using block breaks which allows for easier scanning. The left one has a flowing format, which if I were given a 7-second take on each of the CVs I'd definitely feel as if the first one was endless. The 7-seconds should be considered here--recruiters usually take more time and care in looking at CVs EXCEPT in cases of volume hires where time 'efficiency' plays more weight. @Time Woods: In my experience, you have a better chance with Executive Search Recruiters since they're least likely barraged with a ton of CVs, given that the process is more on targeted selection rather than a hit-and-miss approach of traditional recruiting which uses job ads that anyone can respond to. So it means that more time CAN be devoted in browsing via CVs. And if I were a hiring manager, I'd go with smaller recruiting firms that can give more focus on my requirements. Plus, smaller firms means that they have lesser clients, hence broader talent pool to work with. Otherwise, I wouldn't want to work with a firm that poaches from their clients as well, as they most definitely can do it to me. This exercise is an AID at making your CV more appealing and informative when given a quick look. In today's competitive job market and rising unemployment, I believe that ANY advantage makes a huge difference hence I find the exercise rather interesting and valuable.
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