The 10 or 20 seconds it takes to read a resume seems to always generate a lot of controversy.
Candidates comment on how disrespectful it is, how one can’t possibly read a resume in that time and some get angry at recruiters when we talk about this. I hope this article will help everyone understand how we do this. I realize that some still may not like it and will still be angry, but at least you can understand how it works.
First, let me say I’ve been a recruiter for 30 years. I’m sure I have reviewed over 500,000 resumes. I can’t prove this but I’m reasonably confident that this is the case, as this is only an average of about 46 a day. I know many days I have reviewed hundreds of resumes and most in less than 20 seconds. I would say the average is probably around 5 to 7 seconds.
So for the record when you hear or read about, “reading a resume in 20 seconds,” that isn’t completely true. It is more than likely, “reviewed the resume in 20 seconds.”
Here is my process for getting through 100′s of resumes in a short period of time. Others may have different ways and I welcome your comments.
I set up a hierarchy of certain “must haves” or you’re out, so at first I’m really just box checking. Generally, 80% of the time these are my knock out blows. There are exceptions to each of these, but I’m dealing with the 80/20 rule. These are not cumulative times. This is box checking, if I see any one of these as I scan your resume you will be excluded.
1. Location. If the client is in Los Angeles, CA and you aren’t – goodbye. Few if any clients want to relocate anyone in this economy, and I believe most shouldn’t have to. Especially in a huge metropolitan area like Los Angeles. If they do have to consider relocation the position has to require some very unique experience that few jobs do. I can do this in about 1 second.
2. Industry. If my client is in banking and your background is primarily manufacturing – goodbye. These two often are so different that the client isn’t open to considering such different industries. This works both ways, if you have a manufacturing background I’m not going to consider someone with banking. 2-3 seconds to determine this.
3. Function. If I’m doing a sales search and your background isn’t sales – goodbye. Generally companies are paying recruiters to find them a perfect fit. We never do find a perfect fit, but we have to be very close. They don’t need a recruiter to find them someone in a completely different function. 2 seconds to figure this one out.
4. Level. If I’m doing a VP level search and your title is “manager” and you have never been a VP – goodbye. There are exceptions to this, but again it is the 80/20 rule. Again, clients pay me to find them the perfect fit. It is generally way too big of a jump from manager level to VP level, all other things being equal. It works the other way too. If I’m looking for a manager and you are a VP – goodbye. I know you are qualified to do a manager level role, but it is clear you have grown past. Most clients and recruiters aren’t willing to take the chance that when a VP level position comes along that you won’t be gone. Less than 5 seconds to figure out.
Steps 5-9 and the complete ImpactHiringSolutions article