Recruiters claim to spend five minutes reviewing each resume they receive, but they actually only average six seconds per resume, according to MightyRecruiter (full infographic below). That's a 5000 percent discrepancy.
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Clearly, recruiters want to be perceived as being thorough when reviewing resumes. However, many recruiters don't have enough time to be as thorough as they'd like to be with each resume.
Time Spent vs. Information Learned
But how efficient can a recruiter be? Because good recruiters create good systems to increase the volume of resumes they receive, they are often looking for reasons to eliminate an applicant so that they can move on to evaluating the next talented candidate. A recruiter simply doesn't have time to consume an applicant's entire professional story.
Warren Myers, a seasoned automation professional, succinctly explains on Quora how resume evaluation can move from three seconds to fifteen seconds to actually reading the entire document:
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Resume Red Flags Have Little to Do With Qualifications
What causes a resume to be flagged as "unqualified"? According to MightyRecruiter, the top six resume red flags for recruiters are:
Quirky and unprofessional email addresses
Short tenures and no career progression
Poor content and organization
Inconsistencies within a candidate's online presence
Intangibles (e.g., voice, personality) that suggest a candidate won't be a good cultural fit.
For a resume to pass the first round of screening, it must present professionally. In particular, that means eliminating grammatical mistakes and unprofessional email addresses, fixing poor content and organization, and making sure the document is consistent with your online presence.
Time Is a Recruiter's Most Valuable Asset
While I don't condone recruiters recommending applicants based on traits unrelated to the job, I do understand that a recruiter's ability to move quickly from a long list of applicants to a short list of quality candidates will determine a lot of their professional success.
Techniques that can efficiently red-flag applicants are as important as techniques that can efficiently fast-track applicants. If recruiters use resumes as the primary collateral for evaluating candidates, then recruiters must learn to evaluate resumes as efficiently as possible. It's an ongoing battle between meeting a company's qualifications and giving each applicant a fair evaluation, all within the limited time of a recruiter's day.
Would be great to hear from you: How can resume evaluation become more efficient?
David Smooke is CEO and partner at the digital storytelling firm ArtMap Inc. and its media arm, AMI Publications. You can read more of his recruitment content on 42Hire. Find him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.