What Recruiters Look At During The 6 Seconds They Spend On Your ResumePosted by Minh Nguyen on Apr 12, 2012 in Featured Articles, Human Resource Management, Jobs | 0 comments
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 spend spent almost 80% of their resume review time on the following data points:
- 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:
Beyond these six data points, recruiters did little more than scan for keywords to match the open position, which amounted to a very cursory “pattern matching” activity. Because decisions were based mostly on the six pieces of data listed above, an individual resume’s detail and explanatory copy became filler and had little to no impact on the initial decision making. In fact, the study’s eye tracking technology shows that recruiters spent about 6 seconds on their initial “fit/no fit” decision.
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.”