Recruiters look at a résumé for an average 6.25 seconds

Published in Wed. Wall Street Journal:
Bad news for anyone who has spent considerable time polishing a CV: Recruiters look at a résumé for an average 6.25 seconds before deciding if the candidate is a potential fit, according to job-search site TheLadders.
Recruiters primarily look for six key pieces of information in the following order: name, current title and company, previous title and company, start and end date of previous position, start date of current position and education.
For the study, TheLadders asked 30 recruiters to review the résumés of five people, first a version written by the individual and then a version rewritten by a résumé expert. The recruiters also looked at two different versions of the online professional profiles of three people.
The firm used eye-tracking technology—infrared lights that lock onto the pupil, combined with cameras that measure pupil dilation— to trace exactly where recruiters' eyes landed as they reviewed the résumés.
Because so little time is spent on each résumé, recruiters prefer clean and uncluttered formats, said Alex Douzet, operating chief and co-founder of TheLadders. "The résumé should be a very standard design and easy on the eyes for navigating through the sections. In the end, less is more," he said.
The same held true for online professional profiles such as those on LinkedIn and TheLadders. Recruiters looked at these for approximately six seconds per profile.
Mr. Douzet added that the study pertained only to recruiters' first interaction with a résumé or profile. If a candidate makes it into the "potential fit" pile, the résumés receive more attention.
—Lauren Weber