Do Recruiters Get It Right in the Hiring Process?

More organizations today are using recruiters to help in the hiring process; these individuals seem to be the norm within an organization. There are obvious benefits: they are dedicated solely to that function and they have the ear of hiring managers so they know what type of skills, education and experience are needed.


But, do you know that they spend approximately 7 seconds looking at a resume and making a determination (can be up to 20 seconds for a ‘deeper’ review) to move forward with that candidate or put them on the discard pile? How do you stand out when they barely glance at your greatness? I’ve had many debates with recruiters I know on this – how can you possibly know if someone is a good candidate to bring them in for an interview and more consideration? What information can you take in within that short period of time. The main answer I get is “I just know.”

Do recruiters get it right when sourcing and recommending candidates? The way to know is through metrics: actual hiring and retention numbers. Recruiters are judged on the quality of a candidate in regards to job fit, as well as their success in the job. Will 20 seconds do it?

I think the clearer they are on the needs of the hiring manager, as well as the organization’s overall end-goals, the better they will be when reviewing a resume and sourcing the candidate. This will help when they interview a candidate to see if their answers align with those needs. This entails having a good relationship, and deeper discussions, with the hiring manager as to their needs and seeing how to help them be successful. The process becomes more comfortable and easier from then on.

I think also taking a bit more time to go over the 7-second rule will go a long way to uncovering those skills and experience they’re looking for. Digging deep in conversation and those pre-interviews will go a long way to finding the ideal candidate – it’s not always about the skills but about the person and their cultural ‘fit’ within the department they will be working. You can’t determine that in 7 seconds.

That being said, this is why it is critical for job candidates to be as clear and succinct on their resume so they will stand out in a short period of time; an article on listed considerations from a recruiters viewpoint and what they look for:

  • industry experience
  • role/function
  • title/level
  • how recent job experience is
  • education
  • job-hopping
  • formatting (i.e. grammar, errors, presentation)
  • chronological format

There were two that I disagree with from the article: location (wanting the candidate to be near the job), and using a chronological format (viewing that the candidate is hiding something). I personally like the hybrid model – both functional and chronological, as I think the functional can really present your skills and experience in a better way, aka more narrative. It’s so hard to know which is right, as reviews will vary from recruiter to recruiter.

But a candidate can make it easy on the recruiter by ensuring the resume is as close to the job description as possible, uses key words, and focuses on the outcomes you’ve made in previous job positions, as this is really what they are looking for (and want). And a recruiter can make their job easier by taking a bit more time in their sourcing and asking deeper questions so they can find a successful candidate. Sounds like a win-win on both sides.

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