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Eye-Tracking Study: How Recruiters View Resumes

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Job recruiters spend only six seconds on average reviewing an individual candidate's resume to determine whether the person is a potential fit for an open position, according to a recent study by TheLadders.

That compares with 4-5 minutes per resume on average that recruiters have self-reported in the past.

The report was based on data from an eye-tracking study of 30 professional recruiters who were monitored over a 10-week period as they they performed online tasks, including resume and candidate profile reviews.

Below, key findings from the study.

What Recruiters Look For


The recruiters studied spent almost 80% of their resume review time on the following elements:

  • Candidate's name
  • Current title/company
  • Previous title/company
  • Previous position start and end dates
  • Current position start and end dates
  • Education

Beyond those six, recruiters did little more than scan for keywords to match the open position.

Because "fit/no-fit" decisions were based mostly on those six pieces of data, an individual resume’s detail and explanatory copy had little impact on the initial decision-making.

How They View Resumes and Online Profiles

Recruiters tend to follow a consistent visual path when reviewing both resumes and online profiles, the study found. Accordingly, an organized layout is crucial.

On a scale of 1 to 7, recruiters gave professionally re-written resumes an average rating of 6.2 for usability, compared with a 3.9 rating before the re-write.

On LinkedIn profiles, recruiters spent an average of 19% of their total time per candidate looking at the profile picture.

About the research: The report was based on data from an eye tracking study of 30 professional recruiters who were monitored over a 10-week period.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and the co-founder of Inbound ContentWorks, a marketing agency that specializes in content creation for businesses and brands. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His past experience includes working for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Evangelia Tsirikos Wed Jun 4, 2014 via web

    It's quite interesting when you can go trough a checklist of things recruiters are skimming resumes for and how titles, layout and wording itself can make such a strong impact. The battle of getting noticed among other candidates starts off on such simple points and sometimes that's exactly what it takes so you can get recruited without even really fighting for it!

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