Can You Impress A Recruiter In 6 Seconds?

How To Get A Job At The Startup Of Your Dreams


A recent study by the ladders concluded recruiters take about six seconds to make their initial “fit/no fit” decision about potential recruits. If you have turned in your resume by now you are probably telling your self that is not enough time to go over your exemplary resume. Followed by questioning how it is possible for anyone to learn anything about a candidate in six seconds.


The answers are very cold and brutal especially if the job is highly sought after. Understanding recruiters and what they look for can give you a small advantage but at the end of the day you have to have the goods.

The Study

The study used gaze tracking technology to show how much time recruiters spent on the review of their resumes and the data points they looked at. Almost 80% percent of the time was spent on:


  • Your name
  • Title in the company
  • Prior title and company
  • Prior position including starting and ending dates
  • Present position including starting and ending dates
  • Education

A recruiter looks at keywords related to the position using a mechanical “pattern matching” movement for resumes with the six pieces of information they spent 80% of their time on. The rest of the information on the resume is irrelevant at this point because if you don’t pass the initial decision making process which took only six seconds you will be part of the “no fit” decision.

What Is A Recruiter?

The recruiter is hired by the employer to find the best candidates for their company. Their primary objective is to short list the large number of applicants for their client with the most suitable candidates. These candidates have to meet the initial requirement of the job brief the employer needs. A successful placement by the recruiter means he or she will be hired again and that is one of the reason they are so demanding.

What Does The Recruiter Want?

The recruiter wants to know you are smart, you can learn easily and you will be able to perform the job in question. Evidence is vey important for a recruiter. The working landscape is very different and your experience should show you have adapted to change because businesses and industries are changing at a fast rate. This means your experience of 24 1/2 years as shift supervisor at Acme Widgets might not have any value for the recruiter. If the experience is more than five years the recruiter may well think those skills will be obsolete and irrelevant.



Embellishing is a very diplomatic way of saying lying. If you are going to embellish your resume make sure you have administrative access to Google, Facebook, schools you attended, companies you worked for and other sites with information about your past so you can delete the information. One study found more than a third of resumes have embellishment about their education and these days you will be found out much faster than in the past so an attempt is futile.


According to the study the best way to get a recruiters attention is by using a professional resume writer. Some of the qualities they want in the resume are:


  • An organized layout
  • Strong visual hierarchy
  • Easy to read profiles for your online resumes
  • No distracting visuals


While these recommendations may help your resume get noticed you also have to realize recruiters are human beings and there is a lot of room for subjective interpretation. The best you can do is apply for jobs with your qualifications and apply some these suggestions.

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