How Long Does a Recruiter Look at Your Resume?


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How Many Seconds Does a Recruiter Look at Your Resume?

From fewer than five seconds to a minute max, here are nine answers to the questions, “How many seconds does a recruiter look at your resume, and why?”

  • 4-5 Seconds
  • 2 Seconds to 10 Minutes
  • 5 to 7 Seconds
  • Only a Few Seconds
  • 10 Seconds
  • 6 to 20 Seconds
  • 7 Seconds
  • 6 Seconds to 1 Minute
  • 60 Seconds Max

4-5 Seconds

It’s no secret that recruiters are hard-pressed to filter through resumes in order to find the ideal candidate. In fact, it is commonly believed that they spend a maximum of 4-5 seconds deciding whether your resume is worth further scrutiny or not. This doesn’t necessarily mean 4-5 seconds to read your entire resume; they may simply be glancing at it and noting keywords associated with the position requested.

Recruiters understand how competitive the job market is, so they must make quick decisions regarding who makes it through their initial screening process. With such limited time being allotted for each resume, you only have one chance to make a good first impression and stand out from other applicants.

Knowing this can help craft a well-thought-out document that highlights your skills and abilities accordingly, and puts you in an advantageous position for further consideration.

Jim Campbell, Owner, Camp Media

2 Seconds to 10 Minutes

I would say, as a recruiter, it’s more of a sliding scale anywhere from two to three seconds to five or ten minutes, based on several variables and the recruiter’s approach.

I know that some recruiters (especially in high KPI-driven firms) will just blaze a trail through resumes and calls, and if they see one thing (usually a keyword) they make a decision on which call/nope pile your resume goes into.

Speed to market is the name of their game; they go until they find the one that is close enough to meet their standards and matches the JD and responds quickly.

Some of us take a much more sniper-like approach. If we see the right potential or something in a candidate’s work history that is indicative of a top candidate with a poorly written resume, aka the movable middle, we ask probing open-ended questions about any experience they may have with the keywords in question.

Then, we have them provide some written updates to address what they otherwise didn’t think to add to their resume. It’s time-consuming and tedious, but it works.

Matthew Jones, Senior IT Recruiter, VIP Tech Consultants

5 to 7 Seconds

You only get one chance for a first impression. The same goes for your resume. On average, 5-7 seconds is all that a candidate gets when I am first reviewing resumes, no matter what position level they apply for. The reason? I may have 100+ applicants to review, and if I can not ascertain the must-haves quickly, I know that I’m going to need to spend far too much time evaluating your fit.

Name, contact information, if you’re a recent graduate or early in your career, I want to see the degree. If you’re a more experienced hire, I want to see a quick outline of easy-to-read companies, titles, and dates of employment. The reason should be easy to read with limited “fluff.” If these things are done and the initial skills are a fit, I’ll be moving you to a phone call. If not, it’s time to revise your resume.

Megan Blanco, Internship Coordinator, Career Coach, and Adjunct Faculty, University of Central Florida

Only a Few Seconds

Most studies tracking this question have concluded that recruiters only spend a few seconds on a resume before deciding if it’s worth a deeper dive or not. And let’s face it, for most resumes the recruiter stops reviewing the resume at that point.

This can seem counterintuitive in a job market where there are 10.5 million unfilled positions, about 40 percent more than before the pandemic. Shouldn’t the recruiters be extra cautious not to miss any available talent? Maybe, but recruiters already feel that they are spending a ton of time on unqualified candidates.

A recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business shows that of the small businesses hiring, 93 percent reported no to few qualified applicants. These businesses were still getting applicants, but very few of these applicants were qualified.

Atta Tarki, Founder and Author, ECA Partners

10 Seconds

On average, recruiters spend 10 seconds or less reviewing your resume. This is because they are often presented with large volumes of resumes and must quickly determine which candidates are the best fit for a job opening.

To maximize their time, recruiters review each resume quickly to identify key skills, experience, qualifications, and accomplishments that match the job requirements. They may also look for keywords and phrases to further evaluate the applicant’s fit for a position.

Therefore, it is important to ensure your resume is well-written, clear, concise, and contains the relevant information that recruiters are looking for. It will help ensure that you stand out from other applicants and give recruiters a reason to spend more time reviewing your resume.

Mariusz Michalowski, Community and Career Expert, Spacelift

6 to 20 Seconds

According to various studies (and a recruiter myself), a recruiter or hiring manager typically spends an average of 6 to 20 seconds reviewing a resume, mostly due to the high volume of resumes received for each open position.

During this brief time, recruiters are looking for specific information, such as relevant experience, education, and skills, that match the requirements for the open role. As a recruiter, you become very skilled at reviewing resumes quickly.

Kristina Ramos, Reverse Recruiter, Find My Profession

7 Seconds

I’ve been in the recruiting field for over 20 years, and one thing that has never changed is the amount of time it takes a recruiter to look at your resume. Recruiters look at your resume, more specifically the top quarter of your resume, and in seven seconds they make the decision to read your resume or put you in the recycle bin for unqualified candidates.

Recruiters are reviewing numerous applicants for multiple positions, so they scan rapidly to determine who they will reach out to for interviews for a specific job opening.

One metric often used is the time it takes to fill a position. This is why their time is limited in reviewing resumes; they scan resumes quickly in an effort to fill their positions in a timely manner. You’d be surprised at how many applicants have none of the skills necessary for the job opening.

Renee Frey, President, TalentQ, Inc

6 Seconds to 1 Minute

Typically, recruiters spend between six seconds and one minute glancing over the details provided on your resume. This is because they are faced with an overwhelming workload filled with countless resumes to review, which means that time is of the essence.

Taking a close and detailed look at each resume would not be practical, as it would take far too long to go through all the applications. Despite the limited time, hiring professionals are experts at quickly picking up signals about you that could point towards whether or not you are suitable for a position.

At such high volumes, recruiters have to depend on quicker scanning techniques.

Jose Gomez, CTO and Founder, Evinex

60 Seconds Max

I trained my recruiters to time how quickly they looked at resumes, and I told them that if they couldn’t determine if a candidate was a fit in 20-30 seconds, they should move on.

60 seconds was the absolute maximum, but as they ramped up, they knew to move on well before then. The goal was to maximize how many resumes they could get through in an hour, in order to plan out their week.

Jake Casey, Interview Coach, Jake, from Recruiting

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