Six Seconds on the Clock—What Recruiters Look for in a Resume

A hiring firm looking to fill a Payroll Manager position has a lot of resumes, and not a lot of time. So what do you look for as a hiring company? What do you need to highlight as a candidate? As a recruiter, Willory helps reduce the time spent on reviewing resumes. We have a process where we can, in very short order, review a candidate’s resume before deciding whether or not they are the right fit for the opening and for the company itself.

On average, recruiters look at a resume for about six seconds. Although this seems like an extremely minimal amount of time to effectively match a candidate, there is methodology and processes that align with this 6 second rule.

So what are recruiters looking for during your 6 seconds? Your name, your current title/company, and duration at your current employer, as well as, your previous title/company/start and end dates and finally, education are the most looked at sections of a resume.

So how do you grab the recruiter’s attention so they put your resume on the ‘to interview’ pile? Have short and concise information that can be read at a glance. Use clear headings and an easy-to-follow format. Use a slightly larger font (and perhaps bold face) to denote categories such as “education” and “prior experience.” Italics can help separate positions from companies. If this information is easy to find, you have a better chance of moving on to the next step in the process.

One final piece of advice, don’t use visuals. Clip art may look attractive, your professional photo in the upper left corner might make you think you are a step ahead of the rest… but it’s distracting for the reader—they’re too busy focusing on the pictures to look at the information that’s selling you as an employee. Don’t put flash over substance.


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