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What recruiters look at during the 6 seconds they spend on your CV

The average recruiter is swamped with CVs – so they only get seconds to view each one. Here’s what they take in.

ALTHOUGH WE MAY never know why we didn’t get chosen for a job interview, a recent study is shedding some light on recruiters’ decision-making behaviour.

According to research by TheLadders, recruiters spend an average of ”six seconds before they make the initial ‘fit-or-no-fit’ decision” on candidates.

The study used a scientific technique called “eye tracking” on 30 professional recruiters and examined their eye movements during a 10-week period to “record and analyse where and how long someone focuses when digesting a piece of information or completing a task.”

In the short time that they spend with your resume, the study showed recruiters will look at:

  • your name
  • current title and company
  • current position start and end dates
  • previous title and company
  • previous position start and end dates
  • your education

The two resumes below include a heat map of recruiters’ eye movements. The one on the right was looked at more thoroughly than the one of the left because of its clear and concise format:

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With such critical time constraints, you should make it easier for recruiters to find pertinent information by creating a resume with a clear visual hierarchy and don’t include distracting visuals.

As the study said, distracting visuals “reduced recruiters’ analytical capability and hampered decision-making” and kept them from “locating the most relevant information, like skills and experience.”

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