Things I learned from a Recruiter
Back in 2014 I worked briefly for a company at which I got to know the company’s recruiter. For three weeks, he taught me how he worked to find the best candidates.
1. It's true--recruiters scan a resume really fast. On first pass he gives a résumé at most 10 seconds. Why? Simply because he has so many to process and so much to do with the ones he chooses to investigate. 2. The first thing he looks at is your address. Why? Because he makes a quick determination if your commute would be doable. He doesn’t want to investigate someone who could quit after only a few weeks because of a tough commute. 3. He skips your personal summary on the first pass. Why? Because you all say the same thing---"I am awesome!" 4. He scans down your work history, quickly noting the dates--do they align? He looks for key words, asking himself--- Is this a possible candidate for further investigation or is something off? 5. If in those ten seconds he likes what he sees, he puts your resume aside and repeats the process until he gets a small pile of résumés he thinks are worth investigating further. 6. Time for the second scan which could last as long as thirty seconds. Now he looks for the skills and progression of responsibilities. What is the story told by the résumé? Does it make sense or is the person aimless? 7. Then he finally looks at your personal summary. Does the summary match the rest of the story? 8. At any point should he be interested enough, he'll switch to LinkedIn and investigate your profile. Does it match the résumé story? By the way---the profile picture is really important! He claimed he can tell things about you from the type of poor photo used. 9. After building a pile of résumés, he'll call candidates to arrange the phone screen. What does he want to hear during the phone screen from the candidate? He wants passion, he wants someone who is motivated, and he wants someone who [says he] wants to work at the company. He also wants that person to have already investigated the company. 10. He wants a candidate who knows and admits what he wants, and that desire must match the position. He commonly asks what the applicant is looking for. If it is a Sales position, the best answer is "I want to make money", not anything at all like "I want to learn the culture and grow with the company." 11. He doesn't want wish-washy. If asked in an interview whether you are interested in position A or position B, choose A or choose B! Don’t try for both. Don’t talk about the opportunity. Choose one and then state why you are the best person for that job. You could then switch to how you could do the other one also. Be decisive, not desperate. 12. He wants confidence; he doesn't want desperation. He even mentioned how when he subtly asked me during the phone screen why I didn't have a job yet, I replied that I hadn't found the right fit yet. He said he had no idea if it was true, but it was a good answer that showed confidence. BTW, I hate the direct question "Why don't you have a job yet?"]. I want to point out how my (former) colleague asked it in an indirect way. I hope these tips will be helpful to you. Now go check your résumé, and then prepare for your next phone screen!