It’s a well known fact in the recruiting and HR world that hiring managers/HR reps/recruiters spend an average 15 seconds deciding if you make it to the interview pile … or if your resume gets discarded.
Keep in mind this is an average … recruiters/HR reps spend more time on those candidates that make the cut, but less time on those who are discarded (about 5-8 seconds).
Also keep in mind … the first review of your resume is almost always on screen, even if you send your resume on paper. US employers are subject to random labor audits, and one of the ways they show compliance with hiring laws is by digitizing all resumes (even the ones delivered on paper) – they demonstrate that all resumes are run through an ATS and selected using objective criteria.
If your resume makes it through the ATS screen, it goes through a human pre-screening by HR reps, recruiters, or (in really small companies) an admin. This is where you get your 15 seconds of fame … or discard.
During these 15 seconds, your reader decides more than just if you get the interview or the scrap pile. Almost as important, they also form critical first impressions that can lead to feeling that you’re a superior candidate … or that you’re too old (ageism), that your sills have gone soft (bias against job loss), that you’re overqualified, that you’re a commodity that looks just like everyone else.
Here’s 6 tips to give yourself a better chance of landing the interview by passing your 15 second screen test.
- Your reader can’t read your whole resume in 15 seconds: In 15 seconds, your reader is just quickly scanning.
- Your reader only sees the top 1/2 of your first page (at most) in 15 seconds: Look at your own resume … how much of your best stuff is on the bottom half of your first page, or on page 2? One of reason some candidates don’t get interviews is because your best stuff is too far down your resume.
- Goal – Get your reader to press Page Down: If your reader scrolls down your resume, they’re spending more than 15 seconds on your resume, increasing the chances you’ll get the interview.
- Effective use of Resume Real Estate is critical: Where you place information on your resume is critical to getting it seen during a 15 second scan.
- Decision is largely based on the reader’s first impression: In order to get the reader to stay (and avoid being thrown in the scrap heap), you have to grab the reader by the shirt collar, making a crystal clear, immediately internalized impression that you are a superior candidate. Most resumes I see give a confusing first impression, and that the candidate is merely qualified … which isn’t good enough today.
- Your reader can only scan one document in 15 seconds: Which document do you think most scan – The cover letter or the resume? Which document do you customize the most, which has your best information, which document brands you most clearly, and which one are you loading with keywords?
Recruiters and Employers – How what do you notice in your 15 second resume scan? What causes you to stay and spend more time than 15 seconds on a resume?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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