How Long Do Recruiters Spend Reviewing a Resume?

Calendar Icon
April 17, 2024
Edited by
Camille Trent
Clock Icon
min read

3 key takeaways

  • On average, recruiters spend seven to nine seconds on initial resume screens.
  • Recruiters and hiring managers spend longer (closer to 20 minutes) on vetted resumes.
  • You can use ATS-friendly resume templates and formatting guidance in Teal’s AI Resume Builder to help your resume stand out in seconds.

You may spend hours on your resume but the reality is you have a lot less time than you think to make an impression on a recruiter. On average, how long do recruiters spend reviewing a resume? As a recruiter myself, I can tell you it varies significantly for different companies and roles.

Here's what you need to know:

How long do recruiters spend reviewing a resume?

According to a range of surveys, and even studies using eye tracking devices, recruiters spend an average of just seven to nine seconds reviewing a resume.

Of course, how long recruiters spend varies widely. For roles with clear cut, technical requirements, recruiters may spend more time scanning to identify those specific qualifications; for a more senior role, we’re scanning for specific job titles that show progression in the field.

Why do recruiters spend only a few seconds reviewing a resume?

The average corporate job posting receives 250 applications! But for well known companies or remote roles, that number trends higher. Onsite or niche roles on the other hand, see fewer applicants. And recruiters are typically working on five to ten roles at a time, sometimes more.

Many of those applicants don’t meet the minimum qualifications for the role, so it doesn’t make sense for a recruiter (or busy hiring manager) to read through every resume. Given the large volume, they will quickly scan for a few seconds to vet and prioritize candidates worth a second read through.

Of course this depends on the role. For a role that has just 20 applicants or many job openings, a recruiter will probably deep dive into each resume given their limited applicant pool, and hiring managers will recognize they need to consider candidates who may not meet all of the requirements. But for a competitive role, most recruiters will screen resumes. So your resume needs to catch their attention in that initial screen.

How to make your resume stand out in seconds

What does a recruiter focus on in those first seven seconds? 

They are going to focus on the following factors:

  • What industry you’ve worked in
  • What companies you’ve worked for
  • What job titles you’ve had

This is going to help them understand how closely your experience aligns to the role they are working to fill.

Job seekers can improve job interview callback rates by tailoring each resume to the specific job. It’s not about having a perfect resume or spending hours crafting your resume, it’s about making sure your resume stands out to a recruiter or hiring manager who has just a few seconds to review resumes.

Tips to help your resume pass the initial screen

1. Adjust your job title

Align your job title to the job family you’re applying for, within reason.

Example: An Operations Manager who is also the HR manager may want to use a title like “Operations and HR Manager” or “Operations Manager (HR, Finance, and Ops”).

2. Focus on relevance

Showcase your most relevant accomplishments and skills near the top of their resume, following a reverse chronological format.

Remember: longer resumes or more bullet points don’t necessarily strengthen your resume or leave a more positive impression!

3. Add keywords

Include essential job-related keywords in the job description or job ad that align with your skills and experience in your bullet points.

Teal's AI Resume Builder helps you include essential job-related keywords from the job description in your resume
Teal's AI Resume Builder helps you include all job-related keywords from the job posting in your resume

4. Add relevant details

Include a line about previous employers with information like size, industry, product or service, and major initiatives for that year.

5. Make it scannable

Make your resume easier to scan by:

  • Using an “F” format, the most common reading pattern
  • Avoiding multiple columns (single column templates are easier to scan)
  • Ensuring there’s enough white space, etc.
Recruiter resume review read pattern
Format your resume for F-patten or E-pattern reading to make it more scannable

For more tips on creating an effective resume, check out our guide on how to make a resume.

The importance of a resume format in landing interviews

A well-organized resume will make it easier for the recruiter to see the most important information quickly. To improve hierarchy for easy scanning and readability avoid the following resume formatting faux pas: 

  • Not enough headings or bolded text for each section
  • Graphics
  • Crowded text (white space is your friend)

Teal's AI-powered Resume Builder ensures your resume is not only legible with ATS-friendly resume templates, but also structured in a way that draws attention to your most impactful accomplishments.

Learn more about the best resume format to land an interview in this detailed guide.

Get started with ATS-friendly resumes with Teal.

Help recruiters help you with an optimized resume format

As someone who works in recruiting, I would love to spend time getting to know every applicant—but that’s generally not the most strategic approach.

As an applicant, you can use this information to your advantage by structuring your resume content in a way that will catch the recruiter’s attention in the first seven seconds to give them a reason to keep reading. 

Teal's AI-powered Resume Builder and its built-in resume guidance and templates feature are designed to maximize your resume's impact, ensuring you make those crucial seconds count.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do recruiters collect resumes? 

This will vary based on the company, position, and applicant pool. Some companies leave positions open until an offer is made and others may close it once they believe they have enough applicants to make a hire—for some positions, this could be just a few days. Some companies using rolling deadlines while others set deadlines of seven or 30 days. Never assume a company will still be accepting applications for a role tomorrow because they posted the role recently. If you’re interested in an in-demand position at a large company, apply as soon as you’re able.

Do recruiters look at resumes for longer than seven seconds? 

Yes, the 7.4-seconds recruiters and hiring managers spend is for the initial screen of every resume submitted, so the recruiter can determine which to continue reading. If they see strong alignment in that initial review, they will spend more time with your resume.

What do hiring managers look for in resumes?

Hiring managers know the job they are hiring for better than recruiters, and they are feeling the pain of that job opening. While recruiters may spend just a few seconds on a resume review, those that get passed along to hiring managers will be read thoroughly. Some hiring managers spend 20 or more minutes researching a job seeker before an interview. That means they are digging into your bullet points and ensuring you have the essential skills for the role, and that your experiences align to the challenges they are trying to solve. 

Bonnie Dilber

Bonnie Dilber is a former educator and currently manages the business recruiting team for Zapier. She also loves to share advice that helps make navigating the job search a bit easier for job seekers.

We help you find
the career dream.