Question of the day: How much time do you actually invest in reviewing a resume?

From today's RBC Daily:

Last week there was a lot of discussion in recruiting circles focused on the Ladders study about recruiters spending just “6 seconds on their initial ‘fit/no fit’ decision” when reading a resume. So it begs the question - is that a true value of time? Let's all be honest here, we are all recruiters talking amongst ourselves -  Question of the day: How much time do you actually invest in reviewing a resume?

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Six seconds is not nearly enough time - if the candidate took the time to submit their resume - I feel I have a 'duty' to review it thoroughly - that can take up to a half hour with notes.  However, if you submit a poorly formatted resume or one with glaring typos - you clearly are not investing your time in your career search...so you get the 6 seconds - if that at all.

5-15 seconds on intial pass thru - look for obvious mis-match to the job or gross grammatical/spelling errors or a lot of job hopping in non-temp jobs; then about 1-5 minutes on a second pass thru and then sometimes another 5 minutes on a 3rd pass thru for the details.  I review about 100-200 resumes a week - there is NO way I can spend more than 10 minutes on each, or else I'd be spending ALL of my time just reviewing resumes!

I was surprised when I read that six second review and I disagree.  Perhaps because I am newer to the recruiting industry I tend to spend about 30 seconds to one minute on my first review, looking for relevant work experience, spelling/grammatical errors and to see if the candidate has moved around alot.  If they have what I'm looking for then I'll spend a couple more minutes on a deeper review.  

The study findings are a misnomer.  It is true that Recruiters, Hiring Managers, HR Professionals alike; when receiving boatloads of resumes, reading each and every one in tedious detail is not only impractical but frankly, impossible.

So what does happen?  Invariably, recognition that companies are more likely to hire candidates that come from within their industry, preferably serving in the same or very similar role, with a specific tenure (entry level, middle, senior) becomes apparent and a reality in competitive markets.

So what really happens during the 6 second read?  I call it the 5.7 second glean (from a Wall Street Journal Study done years ago when they clocked the read at 5.7 seconds (seems we’re all getting slower, perhaps to meet the slower job market of late)) where one’s eyes naturally SKIP (yes, I said SKIP) the top of the resume completely, and look to the company a candidate currently serves.  If the candidate is currently working in the industry or better yet, comes from a competitor, quick scan to the title and years of experience tells the reader immediately, if of the pile before them, this resume is worth reading in depth.  If not a match, quick scan down to previous employers, titles and yrs of experience reveals if the candidate is even in the same “Ball Park”.  If not, it’s a pass.  This can be done in 6 seconds, and a pile can be reviewed (each and every one) in a reasonable amount of time with uncanny precision. 

Recruiters, Hiring Managers, HR Professionals can “sort” in 6 seconds, but we all know, when we find a “winner” (or even someone “pretty close”), we spend far more time “distilling” facts on our own, followed by additional time invested candidate before us, going step by step through their resume with them, for deeper understanding.

This reality may be looked at as a flaw, and I admit in some small cases, good candidates may be missed and occasionally, hires are made outside the hiring companies industry, title and years of experience match, but in my experience, the former is rare and the latter has more to do with nepotism and less to do with hiring top talent that will hit the ground running, and companies do not need Recruiters, Hiring Managers or HR Professionals for that.

I agree with Nick.  The 6 second label is more appropriately applied to the sorting process as opposed to real review.  When the first 6 seconds uncovers a nugget worth exploring in more detail, I then take a few more minutes to review more thoroughly, typically followed by picking up the phone....

Thanks for the learning Nick.  That makes much more sense.

My pleasure Carly-Anne, and thank you Stephanie for concurring.

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