Do you have 5 minutes? - For me?

Not long ago I wrote my first blog post on my observations and experiences as a job seeker throughout my career “My Time as a Job Seeker”, in the piece I mentioned just briefly the agony and frustration we go through to create and even update our resume.  No! Let me rephrase that, the agony and frustration we go through to deliver the perfect calling card to land “that” job. But I guess the real question is what does it take to get to first base if the resume is your only entry ticket? How do you satisfy the ATS key word search or the first round of the recruiter’s selection process?

Well it turns out that SHRM just completed a survey on what is needed to get a foot in the door. A survey they released during this year’s SHRM Talent Management Conference in Nashville, TN last week. The PR headline was not surprising but still rather sad when you think of the time, effort and money spend on that infamous resume. The only real calling card any jobseeker has if a referral or an impeccable industry reputation isn’t in the cards.

Less Than Five Minutes Spent on a Single Resume, SHRM Survey Says

New SHRM survey provides insight into how HR looks at resumes and cover letters

and how organizations conduct interviews


“Less than five minutes—that is how much time a résumé is reviewed before it is decided whether a job candidate proceeds to the next step in the hiring process, according to a new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Résumés, Cover Letters and Interviews Survey released today.”


As you can imagine, there is no right or wrong, it all depends… and maybe that is fine too, but I still stand by this:

Drop that educational requirement from your job description and ATS filter for job openings expecting 10+ years of experience in the field or related field.

Please do turn on that automated “thank you for applying” – it feels good to hear back from you all - yes, even from the robots. It’s the least you can do after we spend 30-60 minutes to apply to your job posting preceded by an hour or so of getting the cover letter tweaked just so we appeal to your company’s needs.

And may I add be nice to all applicants, qualified or not, if there is anything we know for sure how you treat the applicants is directly reflected in your social employer brand!  Think Candidate Experience.  

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Comment by Matt Charney on May 5, 2014 at 8:40am

@Anna - the surprising finding here is that this is considered news. Unfortunately, I'm going to guess that the 5 minutes is a hyperbole by a long shot - in my experience, it's a lot like riding a bull...if you hang on for 8 seconds, your resume is likely world class. Thanks for the post and calling out one of the principal challenges in recruiting - and, consequently, one that needs a resolution before we can truly solve the candidate experience conundrum.

Keep the good stuff coming!

Comment by Anna Brekka on May 5, 2014 at 10:58am

Thank you Matt

Comment by Keith Halperin on May 5, 2014 at 12:17pm

Thanks Anna. As I've mentioned many times in many locations- most companies don't care about CE- they don't have to. Nobody (particularly at the top) gets rewarded for having good CE, or punished for having bad CE, and until that happens, we shouldn't expect any significant changes.

Comment by Anna Brekka on May 5, 2014 at 12:25pm

We shall see - companies like Pepsi Co and NPR believes there is a correlation between CE and ROI and if my sources are right there is a proposal in the works to see if there is a measurable link between good CE and being/becoming a Great Place To Work. 

Comment by Tiffany Branch on May 5, 2014 at 3:08pm

Many companies shout about the CE but rarely do they actually practice or measure it. It's more HR jargon the HR community comes out with every few years. Kind of like "Talent Management, "Seat at the table," "employee engagement," etc. It will be something new in another 2 years. 

Comment by Keith Halperin on May 6, 2014 at 1:34pm

Thanks, Anna. Though that seems indirect, it could be a good start.

Let me put it this way: how many Staffing Heads of major companies (while performing adequately in other aspects) have been fired for overseeing/failing to fix the poor CE for the majority of ordinary, non-"connected" applicants? Conversely, how many of them have received large bonuses for fixing poor CE?



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